Summary: It is important to prove our faith in God
Okay, Prove IT!
Written by: Timothy Gardner January 2003
(Read "The Hiker" from Max Lucado’s book "A Gentle Thunder)
Many times in our lives, we see something that we would like to accomplish. Others might say we are crazy for wanting to accomplish those things, and this could be very discouraging. To some of us, these discouraging words may make us forget what we wanted to accomplish. While to others, this may become a challenge. This may be the opportune time to prove ourselves. How many here have ever been discouraged by friends in following God? How about your faith in God becomes questioned? Did you feel you had to prove your faith in God?
Like the hiker in the story, I just read to you, we get excited about our calling, but our fervor can soon diminish away in the storms of life. These storms can be a number of discouragements. Nevertheless, even if we are discouraged or questioned about our faith in God, we can overcome the temptation of giving up by the help from our God.
Sometimes we have to prove we have faith in God as Elijah did in I Kings 18:20-39 up on Mount Carmel. It is important to prove our faith in God. We can learn from three steps he took in proving his faith in God for Israel to believe. I call them the three P’s; prepare, pray, and present.
I. To prove your faith in God you must prepare spiritually.
“Be Prepared” is the motto of the Boys Scouts of America. This motto is a good one to follow in life. We can never pass a test unless we study and prepare for it. We can never eat a home cooked meal unless it is prepared. We cannot go on a real vacation unless we prepare in advance. Preparing plays a big role in our lives, especially in our spiritual lives. No matter what you are, preparing for you must have the right tools.
On my keychain, I have a multi-tool that has scissors, a knife, a screwdriver, bottle opener, etc. This multi-tool allows me to do small jobs like cutting some paper, or carving a pencil, or even opening a bottle. With this in my pocket, I have already prepared myself for small jobs such as these. However, if I fail to bring it with me, then I cannot perform these small jobs.
In I Kings 18:30-35 we find Elijah preparing his sacrifice to God. He had to have the right tools in place in order to prove his faith in God to the prophets of Baal. One of the tools used was an altar of the Lord that he repaired using 12 stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob. There is some history that this was possibly the altar Saul built after his defeat over Amalek found in 1 Sam 15:12, that was then tore down by the idolatrous Israelites, who demolished such altars erected in the name of the Lord everywhere, and built new ones for there idols (Gill 380). He also used other tools in preparing for this sacrifice.
However, the right tools are not the only aspect to preparing spiritually to prove our faith in God. You should know your enemies.
Knowing our enemies is a key factor in preparing ourselves spiritually. In I Kings 18:20 we see that Elijah has Ahab to summon the prophets of Baal to Mount Carmel where he later challenges his God against their god. Many of us do not know the reason Elijah chose Mount Carmel for the place of the “God” challenge. In order to figure out the implications of using Mt. Carmel we will have to find where it was and what it was used for.
Mt. Carmel is a mountain range, the northwestern continuation of the hills of Samaria. It rises to the height of 1,650 feet above sea level. There is a river called Kishon that flows at its foot. It falls steeply into the Mediterranean Sea (Illustrated Dictionary 219).
Mount Carmel was said to be the middle of Ahab’s kingdom so it would be convenient for all the tribes to travel to, so they too can see this challenge. It was some distance from Samaria, which was where Jezebel was. Elijah did not want her to hinder this challenge (Wesley 278). Elijah could also see when the rain was coming, as he did (Gill 378), because this was the highest point in the ridge (Jamieson 264). It was also believed to be the place where Baal would be the most powerful.
Gill states that when Elijah makes this challenge with the prophets of Baal they must have agreed to the proposal by their silence. Ben Gersom thinks they agreed to it because that, according to their belief, Baal was Mars, and in the sign of Aries, one of the fiery planets, and therefore if fancied he could send down fire on their sacrifice. But Abarbinel, is of opinion that it was the sun they worshipped, under the name of Baal, the great luminary which presides over the element of fire, and therefore had power to cause it to descend, and if not, they agreed to it, he thinks, for a couple of reasons. One was necessity. They could not refuse or they might have gotten stoned. They could have also thought they should offer their bulls together, so that, if fire descended, it would come upon them both, and then the dispute would be, whether Elijah’s God, or Baal, sent it; and so no proof could be made who was God, nor the matter in controversy decided (379).