Summary: We will see through this fight that Elijah teaches us how to stand in difficult times.
THE COSMIC CONFLICT ON CARMEL
HOW TO STAND UP IN DIFFICULT TIMES
1st Kings 18
A few years ago I was in Las Vegas for a national Baptist convention. I just happen to be there when one of the biggest fights of our decade was taking place. It was a bout that featured Sugar Ray Leonard against Thomas Hearns. The talk on the street the fight was called the war. You could hear people talking about the bout all over the city. I am sure knowing Las Vegas as I do that there was plenty of money resting on the fight. The tickets were out of my price range even if I cared to watch it. The tickets sold for around $500 a ticket. I don’t even remember who won the fight but you could tell when it was finished. People were very loud walking down the streets.
But I want to take you to a featured bout this morning that makes the war look like an elementary school scuffle. The tickets won’t cost you anything. Even though this battle took place around 3000 years ago it won’t let you down. As we see this match, we will get close to one of the fighters, Elijah. We will see through this fight that Elijah teaches us how to stand in difficult times.
I am not sure you have noticed it yet but life is full of struggles and hard times. We can’t dodge them nor run away from them, they are just there. I don’t know about you but sometimes I don’t handle difficulties very well. At times I make the right choices and other times I don’t. So I am always glad when we have a professional like Elijah to teach us through God’s word how to stand up in difficult times.
What I want to do is to tell you the story and then give you some principles that will help you stand up as a Christian. In verse 16 we are told that Elijah went to meet Ahab. Then we find that Ahab met Elijah. To please his wife Ahab built altars all over the city for the worship of Baal. Ahab was king of the country, but who ran the country? Jezebel. Might that sound familiar to anybody? Anyway, Jezebel did not like the priest of the Lord and she had many of them killed. So Elijah said because you have kicked out the true God and worship Baal, it will not rain for 3 and 1/2 years. Ahab and Jezebel said yea, you better get on the way hillbilly. So Elijah just takes off and guess what? It did not rain for the time that Elijah said it would. They don’t see Elijah for the next 3 and 1/2 years. By that time the city and country was declared a national disaster area. Livestock dying, streams drying up and all that goes along with a drought.
Then after the 3 and 1/2 years are up we find that Elijah came back into town. The Bible says that Ahab saw Elijah. You just want to underline that word saw. Let me tell you when Ahab saw Elijah it reminded him of all the times he messed up. He messed up by just discarding the worship of God and replaced it with worship of Baal. Baal worship was the sun god, the fire god. He messed up by marrying a lady by the name of Jezebel. When he married Jezebel she was really into the Baal worship. So Ahab said is that you Elijah you trouble maker. Elijah said it is me and you are the trouble maker. Isn’t that just like a person when he is confronted with his sins that he blames someone else. When Ahab saw Elijah it reminded Ahab of his sins and he points the finger at Elijah. Elijah said all right, it is time we settle this thing once and for all. You have all the people of the city to come to mount Carmel. Bring your Baal prophets, all 450 of them and we are going to settle a matter.
Now the first principle is this. If you standup for God it leads to conflict. STANDING LEADS TO CONFLICT. When you stand for the Lord it will lead to some conflict. I will have conflict, and you will have conflict. If you never experience conflict standing for God there is something wrong. There are always those Ahab’s and Jezebel’s who will throw stones at you. There are always those who will stab you in the back. It is because you are standing for God. The first principle is standing leads to conflict.
Let me just give you the second principle right here. STANDING SENDS A MESSAGE. Standing up for God sends a message because people are watching you, they are watching me. They want to see if our stuff is real. Is that truly a man of God. Is that truly a woman of God? Elijah was sending a message to the people in the city. Listen to the message of God’s man Elijah. He said how long will you waver between two opinions. Remember he is talking to God’s chosen. This is the Jewish people Elijah is talking. Listen, even though Elijah ask that question some 3000 years ago, it is still a good question for God’s people today. How long will you waver between two opinions? If God is God then serve Him. If Baal, the god of pleasure be god then serve him. Let me tell you, you are sending the wrong message when its God on Sunday and the devil rest of the week. There are those sending bad messages when talk to you on Sunday and about you on Monday. Let me tell you that is making a mockery of God. There are sideline people watching to see the dust settle to really chose sides. This is what happened on Mount Carmel. When God proved He was God the people say I knew it all the time. I was for you Elijah all the way. Before that, the Bible says they said nothing. When Elijah ask am I the only one for God, the people said nothing. The second principle is standing sends a message.