Summary: Before the fire fell, Elijah rebuilt the broken down altar of God. It's time to experience the supernatural.
THE FIRE AND THE ALTAR
"30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. 31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.” 32 Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, “Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.” 34 Then he said, “Do it a second time,” and they did it a second time; and he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. 35 So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water.
36 And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. 37 Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” 1 Kings 18:30-39.
During the reign of King Ahab, the children of Israel had drifted from God, worshiping Baal and Asherah instead. The leaders and the people had violated the terms of their covenants and agreement with God. Ahab with the support of his manipulative wife, Jezebel, destroyed the altar of the Living God and built altars and high places unto Baal and Asherah.
The situation was so bad that God sent Elijah to go tell Ahab, “…there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word” 1 Kings 17:1b. And, the rain ceased for three and half years. All of Israel began to suffer. But neither Ahab nor the people turned back to God from their evil ways. At the end of the three and a half years, God sent Elijah to Ahab again, that the rain was about to come. But before the heaven could open, Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, where a dramatic showdown took place, and where God would answer Elijah’s prayers in a way that convinced the Israelites to turn their hearts back to God.
FACTS ABOUT FIRE IN THE BIBLE.
Fire symbolises the presence, glory and power of God. He revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush. "And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed." Exodus 3:2.
In the wilderness, God led the people by a pillar of fire, "And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night." Exodus 13:21.
As Solomon dedicated the Temple in Jerusalem, fire fell from heaven and the glory of God filled the whole place. "Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house." 2 Chronicles 7:1.
When Daniel saw a vision of God’s throne, he saw a fiery flame and a river of fire coming forth. "I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. (10) A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened." Daniel 7:9-10.
John the Baptist testified of Jesus, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:" Matthew 3:11.