Calling Down Fire from Heaven
- Saturday, January 19, 2008
"Such praying men are always our national benefactors. Elijah was such. He had heard a voice, seen a vision, tasted a power, measured an enemy, and with God as partner, wrought a victory. The tears he shed, the soul agonies he endured, the groans he uttered, are all recorded in the book of the chronicles of the things of God…He knew the mind of God. Therefore, he - one man - strangled a nation and altered the course of nature. This ‘crag of a man’ stood as majestic and immovable as the mountains of Gilead, as he shut up the heavens with a word. By the key of faith, which fits every lock, Elijah locked heaven, pocketed the key, and made Ahab tremble. Though it is wonderful indeed when God lays hold of a man, earth can know one greater wonder - when a man lays hold of God."
Do you realize the power you have on your knees? Elijah did. He was a man set apart. He was God's man. God is looking to and fro on this earth for men and women who are totally sold out to Him. No personal agendas, no self-seeking plans, no alternate routes of escape - they are God's and God's alone. Are you one of these men or women? As you step into this New Year filled with challenges as well as blessings, can you say, "God, it's You and You alone; I’m Yours totally, and I will follow You with all my heart"?
Let’s look at an outstanding story from the life of Elijah. He was an ordinary man who experienced the greatness of the Almighty God. Imagine having the courage to call down fire from heaven! This is the confidence that the prophet Elijah had in his relationship with God. He lived with God and served Him with a single-minded devotion. He knew God’s call on his life and he set himself apart for that purpose.
Elijah’s Faith and Unwavering Trust in God - 1 Kings 18:16-40
Let’s look at this difficult situation. For 80 years the people of the Northern Kingdom of Israel would vacillate between following God and serving other Canaanite deities. This led up to a difficult 3-year drought in Israel, a sign of God’s great displeasure over the situation. Ahab was king at that time and had married an evil and powerful woman, Jezebel. She personally supported four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and four hundred prophets of Asherah. Elijah met face-to-face with Ahab and told him how he had abandoned the Lord’s commands and had followed the Baals. Then with amazing faith, Elijah invited Ahab to summon all the people of Israel to meet on Mt. Carmel. In the presence of the people he would personally challenge these evil prophets of Baal to a contest designed to reveal the true and living God.
So King Ahab assembled the people and the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. How would you feel in this situation? Would you be fearful and ready to run? Not Elijah! He faced the people of Israel and with great courage confronted them and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21). The people were absolutely speechless.
The Amazing Power Encounter
“Then Elijah said to them, ‘I am the only one of the Lord's prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. Get two bulls for us. Let them choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire - He is God.’ Then all the people said, ‘What you say is good’ (1 Kings 18:22-24).
The prophets of Baal proudly prepared their bull. All morning these prophets called upon their god. They danced! They called and shouted! They cut themselves with knives! But there was no answer. Elijah began to taunt them. Perhaps their god is deep in thought or busy or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping! They shouted louder, slashing themselves with swords and spears until they were bleeding. They continued with frantic prophesying until evening, but still there was no response. No one answered or paid attention.
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