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The Solitary Stand

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Bonita

Authored by Jewel Roque

My son is practicing his reading. Every evening he pulls The Beginner’s Bible out and reads a couple of stories to me—like parents often do with their children, only for us it’s the other way around.

One evening he read me the story of Elijah. As he read the part about the prophet on Mount Carmel, it hit me: This is an awesome story! And Elijah was one amazing guy.

Okay, there are a lot of amazing characters and stories that are pretty awesome in their own way, but certain stories do stand out as exceptional, and Elijah’s stand on Carmel was one of those. Here’s the background.

There had been a severe drought in the land for three years, which started at Elijah’s word. He said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”1

That is exactly what happened, and Ahab was pretty upset. His wife, Jezebel, was too. In fact, she began systematically killing every prophet of God that she could find.

Then God told Elijah, “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.”2 Being the prophet of God that he was, Elijah obeyed. And this is where the story gets cool: Elijah’s actions defy both faith and reason, but God meets him where he stands, literally.

Here are four reasons I love this story:

1. Elijah stood alone, yet he stood.

Elijah met Ahab and told him, “Summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”3

I think Ahab showed a smidgen of wisdom here, because he knew that he was at Elijah’s mercy, and ultimately the mercy of God. His nation was facing a drought and a famine brought by the hand of God, and only at Elijah’s word would this dire situation be over. So instead of killing Elijah straight off, he did what he asked.

There, on the top of Mount Carmel, Elijah stood, and he stood alone. On the other side, 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah stood against him. The people who were watching remained undecided, wavering.

“How long will you waver between two opinions?” Elijah asked. “If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”4

The people remained silent, and Elijah knew that he was alone. But one with God is a majority, so he did not give up or give in. He knew he stood on the right side, even if he was the only one.

2. Elijah kept his sense of humor.

Elijah challenged the 450 prophets of Baal to a competition, “My God against yours,” so to speak. Each side had an altar, with a bull on top, ready to be sacrificed to their respective god. The challenge? Let the gods be the one to ignite the flames, and the god that did would be the true God.

The 450 prophets danced and cried out to Baal all morning until they were blue in the face. At about noon, Elijah must have been getting tired, and amused. He began to taunt the false prophets, saying, “Shout louder! Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.”5

Elijah didn’t huddle over at his altar, waiting quietly and meekly for his turn. He knew who the true God was, and he wasn’t afraid to proclaim it, or to laugh in the faces of those who led the people astray through their false worship.

3. Elijah went all out.

Finally, it was time for the evening sacrifice, and Baal still hadn’t answered. It was Elijah’s turn.

He didn’t dance. He didn’t cut himself like the prophets of Baal had. But he did do something pretty outrageous.

He poured water over the sacrifice—not just a ceremonial sprinkling; it was totally drenched. He had 12 huge jugs of water poured on the sacrifice until it ran down into the trench that he had dug around the altar.

He had made a completely “impossible” situation even more impossible, if that could be, well, possible.

4. Elijah had complete confidence in God.

Elijah knew that God wouldn’t let him down, and He didn’t!

And I just love the way God came through for him. He didn’t send just a little fire, a pleasant campfire-kindling where you could warm your hands and roast marshmallows. Nope, it says that not only was the sacrifice burned, the wood beneath the sacrifice was also burned. And it didn’t stop there. The stones were consumed with the fire. The soil beneath the stones was consumed. The water was vaporized in an instant. A temperature of 536°F (280°C) is the auto-ignition temperature of gasoline; imagine the temperature that is needed to burn stones!

This act of God was more like a scene from a sci-fi movie than a picturesque Bible narrative.

Elijah stood, alone, with God, and God pulled an awesome stunt.

Finally, the people found their voice. They fell on their faces and they cried out, “The LORD—he is God!”6

Yes, He is. He is a God who loves such daring acts of audacious faith. I know that God is a spirit and all, but I can picture Him up in heaven on that day, looking down at Elijah and saying to all the angels, “Check this guy out! That’s my boy! Get the vaporizer ready. We’re going to make this day a day to remember!”

Not every act of faith will be as outstanding. But if we stand, even if we think we’re alone, we have an omnipotent God on our side who will never fail to come through for us. He might not pull an altar-consuming stunt like He did with Elijah.

But with God, you really never know.

Oh, and afterward, He sent the rain.


Footnotes
1 1 Kings 17:1 NIV
2 1 Kings 18:1 NIV
3 1 Kings 18:19 NIV
4 1 Kings 18:21 NIV
5 1 Kings 18:27 NIV
6 1 Kings 18:39 NIV

Read by Stephen Larriva. Music by sindustry(CC). Copyright© 2013 by The Family International


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