S (Scripture): 1 Kings 16:29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa’s reign over Judah, Omri’s son Ahab became king over Israel. Ahab son of Omri ruled over Israel for twenty-two years in Samaria. 16:30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the sight of the Lord than all who were before him.
18:21 Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long are you going to be paralyzed by indecision? If the Lord is the true God, then follow him, but if Baal is, follow him!”
18:22 Elijah said to them: “I am the only prophet of the Lord who is left, but there are 450 prophets of Baal. 18:23 Let them bring us two bulls. Let them choose one of the bulls for themselves, cut it up into pieces, and place it on the wood. But they must not set it on fire. I will do the same to the other bull and place it on the wood. But I will not set it on fire. 18:24 Then you will invoke the name of your god, and I will invoke the name of the Lord. The god who responds with fire will demonstrate that he is the true God.”
18:29 Throughout the afternoon Baal’s prophets were in an ecstatic frenzy, but there was no sound, no answer, and no response.
(Then Elijah had water poured on his altar – filling even the trench that was dug around his altar.)
18:36 When it was time for the evening offering, Elijah the prophet approached the altar and prayed: “O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 18:37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are the true God and that you are winning back their allegiance.” 18:38 Then fire from the Lord fell from the sky. It consumed the offering, the wood, the stones, and the dirt, and licked up the water in the trench.
O (Observation): Wow! What a powerful display. What a fantastic display of God’s authority and power. Baal’s prophets see no action from their god. I love how Elijah says to Ba’al’s prophets: Hey! He might be out of town or asleep…scream louder!
Ok, maybe that’s mean…but I think the point is well made. Even as God’s people go off track (see 1 Kings 16:29-30 above), God doesn’t abandon God’s people. And when God proves who is the true Lord of all, people start to listen again. God draws people back to Himself.
A (Application): As a pastor, I’ve seen some pretty amazing healing stories. I’ve been with a family, in which the father had stomach cancer. What was the solution, after multiple chemo treatments and surgeries didn’t prevent the cancer from coming back? Remove the stomach completely! They did. He lived, with a special diet, of course. But what an amazing act.
I remember as an intern, the power of healing of a man…he was the first person I provided pastoral care to who had a hip replacement. As he came to the altar to receive Holy Communion for the first time since his surgery, I thought of stories of healing and acts of power from God…similar to this story of God reigning fire down on the altar.
We cry out: “Sin, world, devil, while you can destroy mind and body, you cannot completely destroy who we are. We are God’s children. We are yours, Lord. Protect us. Heal us. And if not in this life, then when your Son comes in all His glory!”
P (Prayer): Lord, you bring your power and might when and where you see fit. Bring your power, now, through us, that we might be agents of your authority and power to make a difference in this world. Amen.