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I Kings 18:20-45
We have just witnessed another anniversary of our country’s Declaration of Independence. By now, the speeches have ceased, the fireworks have been extinguished and the parades have all ended for this year’s occasion. The nation’s tasks that were unfinished before the festivities began still remain unfinished as was the case in Elijah’s day.
I. THE SPEECHES:
“So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. 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.”
I Kings 18:20-21.
“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. 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. 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.” I Kings 18:22-24.
II. THE FIREWORKS:
“Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that Thou, O Lord, art God, and that Thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces, and they said: ‘The Lord, He is God, the Lord, He is God.” I Kings 18:37-39.
III. THE PARADE:
“Then 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 slew them there.” I Kings 18:40.
Israel still needed deliverance from a great drought.
“Then Elijah said to Ahab: ‘Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain. So Ahab went up to eat and drink. But Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and kneeled down and put his face between his knees. And said to his servant, ‘Go up now, look toward the sea.’ So he went and looked and said, ‘There is nothing.’ And he said, ‘Go back’ seven times. And it came about at the seventh time, that he said, ‘Behold, a cloud as small as a man’s hand is coming up from the sea…so it came about in a little while, that the sky grew black with clouds and wind, and a heavy rain.” I Kings 18:41-45.
As ancient Israel had to do, our nation has to leave the festive celebrations behind and boldly and prayerfully seek to resolve the problems facing us.
Problems of intolerance, individual and corporate greed, discrimination of various kinds, violence, hatred...and the list goes on and on.
As we confront these problems and endeavor to solve them, we would be wise to follow Paul’s admonition: "Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love." I Corinthians 16:13.
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