Summary: A sermon on the story of Elijah and the Prophets of Baal.
READING: 1 Kings 18:17-40 (Text v39.)
Ever wondered why it is that a church can be small and struggling (and remain that way) - insignificant in the community - and not even looking like changing for many years to come; and then ALL OF A SUDDEN, through a series of events - a speaker comes with a word from the Lord, or a new pastor takes over (or an old one takes to prayer) - THINGS BEGIN TO MOVE. That little church just explodes with life and becomes an unstoppable force.
OR have you ever thought why it is that a person can be brought up in a Christian home for many years, attend church regularly, even see the miraculous, and yet remain untouched by the Word of God and the power of the gospel; and then, in ONE BRIEF MOMENT, they are changed - someone who has been praying for years finally wins through - their lives are infilled with God’s power and immediately they’re not only saved but set on fire and become a contagious reviver of other hearts.
When you read the Bible, do you consider why it is that the children of Israel spent long periods of time in difficult circumstances, and then all of a sudden God intervened and raised up a man to deliver them. Like, for instance, when they spent 400 YEARS in bondage in Egypt - timid, broken-spirited slaves - and then along came Moses and then NOTHING could prevent their miraculous escape under God’s hand.
These are encouraging things for us to observe aren’t they? Whatever your situation today - though we long for a mighty outpouring of God’s Spirit upon our church but it seems slow in coming - though you have loved ones whom you long to see saved; but you’ve prayed for so long for little results - though you personally have desired for years to see God move in your workplace, but nothing ever seems to happen:-
PRESS INTO GOD!! For the time is coming when God will declare that the day is His to show His glory - TO BEAR HIS ARM - and nothing can stand against Him IN THAT DAY - “The DAY of the LORD’S POWER”.
This evening we are going to see this truth from the passage of Scripture that we’ve read. We’re going to see the “DAY of the LORD’S POWER” when all those who look on are made to behold and to declare (v39) “the Lord, He is God - the Lord, He is God”.
An amazing account of an amazing day in Israel’s history; a history marred by many failures and disappointments.
The Lord had been so faithful to Israel in bringing her out of Egypt and into the promised land - but continually she turned her back on Him.
The Israelites had the power, in God, to completely conquer Canaan and to become a standard of righteousness to influence the nations around about.
BUT INSTEAD, they continually wanted to be accepted by their neighbours - they wanted to “be as other nations”. God said, “YOU’RE NOT LIKE other nations - you’re a peculiar people unto me”. BUT STILL they insisted on following the ways of other nations.
They constantly drifted to worshipping idols and foreign gods. OH, YES, they worshipped the ONE TRUE GOD who’d led them out of captivity - along with the many ba-al gods and Ashorahs of Canaan; they adopted the mentality of their heathen neighbours.
So here they were - the Israelites - no longer in slavery to Egyptian master, but still very much in bondage to worshipping false gods who could not do anything for them.
This went on for some time - till it was the “status quo”. BUT THEN, ALL OF A SUDDEN, God raised up a man: ELIJAH.
You know the story, we read it earlier; the prophet Elijah challenged all of the prophets of these false gods to a SHOW-DOWN ON MT. CARMEL.
YOU SEE: it may have been acceptable by the other pagan’s standards to worship many gods, but Jehovah had declared to the Israelites that He was the only TRUE God, and as such He was jealous for the affections of His people’s hearts - He would not (AND WILL NOT) share His glory with another!
So, guided by the Lord, Elijah puts out the challenge . . . (READ v21-24).
The challenge is accepted - the false prophets go FIRST.
The first thing I want to draw your attention to from this passage is:
1. THE ARROGANCE OF MAN’S EFFORT.
Look at the odds stacked against Elijah (naturally speaking):
i) The prophets of Ba-al had first shot.
Think about that. If so much as a matchstick-head worth of fire had been seen falling on the altar in answer to their chanting and prayers, Elijah wouldn’t have even got a look in.