Summary: Events in the Bible that took place on a mountain

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Mountain Moving Faith:

“Mt. Carmel”

1 Kings 18

I’ve never gotten to see a shuttle launch live, but I have got to see it on TV. They begin to countdown and as the countdown hits zero, smoke drifts from the pad and then the main engines and the solid rockets lifted the shuttle into the sky. It’s a sight to see and even just by watching it on TV you can see the power of the rockets as it lifts the shuttle into the sky. The explosion of energy required to lift the shuttle beyond the chains of gravity provides a contemporary picture of God’s power severing the chains of complacency that held the nation of Israel in bondage. Chapter eighteen of 1 Kings contains the story of Elijah’s bold stand against the 450 evil prophets of Baal who assembled to challenge his faith in the one true God. It is a story that has captured the attention of the saints of God for generations. Some love to cheer for the outnumbered underdog. Others are intrigued by the awesome display of God’s power as fire rains down from heaven.

Mount Carmel is described in Scripture as a symbol of beauty and fertility. The prophet Isaiah and King Solomon used Mount Carmel as an expression of divine blessing (Is. 35:2; SS. 7:5). The Hebrew word Karem El means God’s vineyard or fruit of God. The mountain is really a thirteen mile ridge along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea with the highest peak of only 1,742 feet. Its location by the sea, not its height, is of major significance for this battle with the prophets of Baal. “Here is where the effects of the drought would be least apparent and the power of Baal to nurture life would seem to be the strongest.”1 In the midst of a severe drought, Mount Carmel stood as the lone testimony promoting fertility worship. It was Baal’s “ace in the hole.” Mount Carmel provided the 450 evil prophets with a home field advantage, but the prophet of God was ready for the challenge.

This event is more than a Super Bowl contest between God and the false god, Baal. It is a challenge for God’s people to move off of the fence of complacency. Elijah is not fighting the prophets of Baal. He is fighting the lack of conviction from God’s people. Baal was the agricultural god. The context of this story reveals that the word of God came to Elijah saying, "It will not rain for three years." Through the lack of rain, God had already proven that Baal was powerless. The challenge on this mountain provides an illustration for a powerful message preached by Elijah. A contemporary political term that accurately describes the condition of Israel is “mug wump.” The term pictures a person seated with his coffee mug on one side of the fence and his wump on the other. Elijah’s message is simple and straightforward, “God is putting an end to mugwumps. No longer will you be allowed to put your mug on one side of the fence and your wump on the other in an attempt to worship two gods.”

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