Summary: As Elijah faces the prophets of Baal, we will look at what it takes to be a real man in a society that has neutered manhood.
Title: Man Enough to Stand Alone
Text: 1 Kings 18:16-24
Series: The Prince of Prophets, Elijah
A woman getting onto a ski lift was given instructions that the moment the lift’s chair touched her backside she was to sit down and lift her feet from off the ground. Instead when the chair came against her she sat down but was nervous about the height of the lift. Her hesitation caused her to keep her feet firmly planted on the platform. (pause) She wanted to see the magnificent view from the top of the lift, but also wanted to be firmly attached to the ground. With her feet on the platform, the seat began to wind back and then like a slingshot hurled her off the platform causing severe injury to her legs and back. Indecision is a dangerous thing. Straddling between two positions can be hazardous to your health.
I warned you last week that this message would be for men. I want to talk to you about being willing to stand alone. There are two examples that I want to focus on; one is Elijah, whose life we are studying. The other is Jesus. No one was more of a man; no one was more willing to stand alone than Jesus was.
First let me summarize this phenomenal story of Elijah and his confrontation with the prophets of Baal.
The first we see of Elijah is in 1 Kings 18. He is told by God to go and announce that there will not be rain on the land until he says so. Baal worship had become common and Baal was thought to be the god of rain, so what better way to put that to rest than to stop all rain.
Elijah makes his announcement and then leaves. After a couple of years, the wicked King, Ahab sends another prophet Obadiah, a good prophet, in one direction while he goes another. Obadiah runs into Elijah. Elijah tells Obadiah to go tell Ahab that Elijah is here. Listen to this passage which shows how strongly Ahab was looking for Elijah:
1 Kings 18:9-46
"What have I done wrong," asked Obadiah, "that you are handing your servant over to Ahab to be put to death?  As surely as the LORD your God lives, there is not a nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to look for you. And whenever a nation or kingdom claimed you were not there, he made them swear they could not find you.  But now you tell me to go to my master and say, ’Elijah is here.’  I don’t know where the Spirit of the LORD may carry you when I leave you. If I go and tell Ahab and he doesn’t find you, he will kill me.
Obadiah did not want to take the chance on giving Ahab this good news, only to find that God had called Elijah away. I think he assumed that Ahab would kill Elijah, so God might call him away to save Elijah’s life.
But Elijah convinces him that he will be there when he comes back. This is what Ahab says:
I Kings 18:17
When he saw Elijah, he said to him, "Is that you, you troubler of Israel?"
Elijah debates that point briefly but then sets up a challenge to prove who is the true God. This is what happens:
1 Kings 18:19
Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table."