Tuesday after the Eleventh Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Kings 18:20-40 (NKJV)
20 So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. 21 And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. 23 Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. 24 Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.” So all the people answered and said, “It is well spoken.”
25 Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.” 26 So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us!” But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made. 27 And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. 29 And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. 31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.” 32 Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, “Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.” 34 Then he said, “Do it a second time,” and they did it a second time; and he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. 35 So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water.
36 And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. 37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!” 40 And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there.
In our reading for today we see that the Lord will not be mocked. Hence the purpose for Elijah’s visit to King Ahab. Ahab did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him as King of Israel. He took as his wife Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; he served Baal and worshiped him; he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. Ahab also made a wooden image, provoking the Lord God of Israel to anger more than all the kings of Israel who were before him. Our God is a jealous God and will not allow His Honor to be given to another.
Verses 20-40 are among some the most powerful examples of God’s might as He demonstrated that He is the one and only true God, that He can even defy the laws of nature as water is consumed with fire. And again the people believed in the one true God.
In the midst of so many different false gods and their beliefs that are pulling for our attention, we need to daily return to the inspired, inerrant Word to be strengthened in our faith and witness. There we are reminded just what the Almighty Triune God is capable of doing to those who mock Him and His identity.
We Pray: Hallelujah! Let praises ring! Unto the Lamb of God we sing, in whom we are elected. He bought His church with His own blood, He cleansed her in that blessed flood, and as His Bride selected. Holy, holy is our union and communion. His befriending gives us joy and peace unending. Amen. (TLH 23:2)