Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection #49
“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.”
Hebrews 1:1-2 (NIV)
On the top of Mount Carmel, with an astounding view of the Jezreel Valley, is the home of the Carmelites, a Roman Catholic religious order. More importantly, it is the traditional site of the battle between Elijah and the prophets of Baal.
The story is recorded in 1 Kings 18:16-39. It must have been quite a memorable experience. King Ahab had led the people of Israel away from the Lord and had introduced Baal worship into Israel. Elijah, the prophet of God, had had enough, and in verse 19 he instructs Ahab to summon people from all over Israel, along with 400 prophets of Baal. When everyone has gathered, Elijah gives a clear call in verse 21: “‘How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.’” The response from the people was … silence.
God was going to teach His people an important lesson and the irony is that while the people remained silent, the lesson was that their God would speak. Two bulls are slaughtered and put on two altars. The prophets would then cry out for fire to descend, burning up the sacrifice. The prophets of Baal went first. They danced, they screamed, they cut themselves. This went on for hours, and the response was … silence. 1 Kings 18:29 says “there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.”
Then it was Elijah’s turn. He had to get the people to rebuild the altar of the Lord – it has been so long since it had been used it had fallen into disrepair. Then the second bull was placed on the altar and the altar covered with water – three times. Elijah prayed – no dancing, no screaming, no cutting. He just prayed “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” (v36-37)
Immediately the fire fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and licked up the water in the trench. The One true God had spoken. And when He did, so did the people. They immediately cried out “The LORD – he is God! The LORD – he is God!’”
God still speaks. Not now through fire from heaven, but through His Word, the Bible, and through His Son, the Lord Jesus. The author of Hebrews puts it this way in Hebrews 1:1: “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.”
As you deal with all that is happening in your world, in these challenging pandemic times, take time to hear God speak into your life. As He does, you too will experience His power and grace.
I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.