What in the World is Going On? (Week 23)
We have all heard the story of Elijah and his confrontation with the prophets of Ba’al. It is a dramatic showdown where the prophets of Ba’al attempt to bring down fire from heaven to consume their sacrifice but cannot. Elijah then drenches his altar with water before calling down fire out of heaven that consumes the sacrifice and all of the water around it.
Elijah did not do this to show the prophets their error. Instead, he did it for the people of Israel. That is why he had told Ahab to gather all the people to witness what he had planned. Once they gathered, Elijah turned to them and said: “How long will you waiver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Ba’al is God, follow Him” (1 Kings 18:21).
This period of history is hard to follow with two different kingdoms and a long list of kings for each. It is also difficult to understand how God’s people continually broke their covenant with Him and worshiped false gods—so much so that the reader is left wondering: What in the world is going on?
Ba’al worship was so prevalent inside the kingdom of Israel that most Israelites participated in it. The showdown that Elijah orchestrated was meant to demonstrate to the people of Israel who the only true God was so they would turn from idolatry and rededicate themselves to Him. Elijah knew Ba’al was not a real god, but he had to demonstrate this to the people. They, in turn, fell on their faces and cried out, “The Lord he is God! The Lord, He is God!”
An interesting little note is that the meaning of the Hebrew name “Elijah” is just that: “The Lord is God!” Elijah had been born for that very moment in history.
You and I have been born into a particular moment as well. It’s a moment in which our world is turning its back on God and the truth of His Word and worshiping the gods of secularism, globalism, and moral relativism. God is calling us to be strong and to take courageous steps of faith to demonstrate His power to the people in our lives.
To learn more about the critical time in history to which Elijah was called, join me for this episode of the Out of Zion podcast, “What in the World is Going On?” Walk Thru the Bible with me each week by downloading our Bible reading plan, and get started reading right away!
Invite your friends and family to join us! I can’t wait to Walk Thru the Bible with you!
About this episode:
The story of the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah is more easily understood with this week’s overview of events and their political and geographical context. The actions of Elijah take on new meaning once we understand what the people believed about the god Ba’al he was confronting. We also learn his ministry is patterned after that of Moses which explains why the two later appear together with Jesus on the Mt. of Transfiguration. This episode complements the daily readings from our Walk Thru the Bible reading plan for July 5-11, covering 1 Kings 17-22; 2 Kings 1-8; Obadiah.