What had started the showdown with all those false prophets? God’s instruction to Elijah: “In the third year of the drought, the Lord said to Elijah, ‘Go and present yourself to King Ahab. Tell him that I will soon send rain!’” (I Kings 18:1, NLT).
And that was when Elijah, in obedience to the Lord, challenged the 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah. While the false prophets spent an entire day making frantic, useless attempts to obtain a response from their nonexistent gods, Elijah placed his offering on the Lord’s altar, lifted a brief prayer and saw the Lord answer.
“Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, ‘The Lord – He is God! Yes, the Lord is God!’” (I Kings 18:38-39). The people repented and assisted in the roundup of all the false prophets who were then taken to the Kishon Valley where Elijah killed them all.
“Then Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go get something to eat and drink, for I hear a mighty rainstorm coming!’
So Ahab went to eat and drink. But Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and bowed low to the ground and prayed with his face between his knees.
Then he said to his servant, ‘Go and look out toward the sea.’
The servant went and looked, then returned to Elijah and said, ‘I didn’t see anything.’
Seven times Elijah told him to go and look. Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, ‘I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.’
Then Elijah shouted, ‘Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!’’
And soon the sky was black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm, and Ahab left quickly for Jezreel. Then the Lord gave special strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his belt and ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to the entrance of Jezreel” (I Kings 18:41-45).
Elijah’s obedience to God’s instruction allowed God to send the desperately needed rain. The Lord can’t reward disobedience; to do so would be to go against everything He is. Elijah’s faithfulness opened the door for God to display His mighty power. Your faithfulness can open that same door in your life.
“When faith replaces doubt, when selfless service eliminates selfish striving, the power of God brings to pass His purposes.” (Thomas S. Monson)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates