“A Pyrotechnic Display Of God’s Power”

February 10, 2017

Sunset in snow 2/9/17
Sunset 2/9/17

“A Pyrotechnic Display Of God’s Power”

Message summary: Today we examine the ultimate pyrotechnic display of God’s mighty power.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“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. 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 18:36-39).

This week we have been considering the prophet Elijah. Monday we examined his simple confession of faith, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve” and the previous three days we have considered a single verse “Elijah went before the people and said, ‘How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him’. But the people said nothing.”

Today let us give attention to the text that follows Elijah’s powerful charge. This story is one of the great miracles of the Bible and it is filled with suspense. It’s essentially a contest between Elijah and the prophets of the false god Baal.

Elijah was out numbered but that didn’t deter him. All through history the majority has often been on the wrong side.

  • A majority gathered around the golden calf when Moses was on the mountain in direct defiance of God’s command.
  • A majority bowed before Nebuchadnezzar’s image.
  • A majority cried out “Crucify Him!” at the trial of Jesus.

Elijah sets the terms of the contest: “Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God” (1 Kings 18:23,24). The people, who remained silent in yesterday’s text spoke up at this point in agreement with Elijah, “What you say is good” (v.24).

Elijah was confident and let the prophets of Baal go first. He was confident that the false gods would not deliver. He taunted and ridiculed them, rising to a state of great boldness. He gave them all day for their god to deliver but nothing happened. They hooted and hollered and even cut themselves till they bled. “But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention” (1 Kings 18:29).

Elijah on Mount CarmelNow it was Elijah’s turn. So that he could provide overwhelming evidence that the one true God had sent a miracle from heaven, he had them pour water over the sacrifice three times. (In case you’ve never been camping water is not conducive to flammability!) No evidence of any show at all but just a simple prayer:
“Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that You are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at Your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that You, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again”

That’s all! No hootin’ and hollerin’, no begging or cutting.

“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. 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 18:36-39).

This was the ultimate pyrotechnic display of God’s mighty power. Bible teacher David Guzik writes, “When the fire of God fell, its work was beyond expectation. It would have been enough if merely the cut-up pieces of bull on the altar were ignited, but God wanted more than simple vindication – He wanted to glorify Himself among the people.”

A devotional on the Ligonier Ministries website sums up our lesson today. “Ultimately, God only demands one thing—our full commitment to Him. We were made for our Creator, and He will not share us with another. He will not have us as His if we try to divide our ultimate allegiance between Him and anything else. In Elijah’s day, many in Israel tried to serve God and someone else on the side. We are ever tempted to do the same. Let us remember the One for whom we were made that we might realize that we can be satisfied in Him alone.”*

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, once again we declare our allegiance to You, for it is Yours’ alone. Like the prophet Elijah, we want people to know that You are the one true God and all that You do, You do in love for us and for our eternal future. We depend on You alone to save us. Only You can help us, protecting us like a shield. It is in You that our hearts rejoice, for we are trusting in Your holy name. May Your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in You alone. Amen.

See Psalm 33:20-22

Roxie in snow 2/9/17
Ester’s dog Mollie absolutely loves the snow and was thrilled to walk out on the deck and leave her tracks in the white stuff. Yesterday afternoon proved to be very windy blowing snow all over the place but she refused to come in, repeatedly throwing her rings up in the air and catching them. She would love for our older dog Roxie to join her, and tries to persuade her, but Roxie will have nothing to do with the cold wet stuff! I’m just like her – instead we’ll enjoy the beauty of the snow from inside the house.

Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“God and God Alone”   Video  Steve Green

“You Are God Alone”  Video  Phillips, Craig, & Dean

* “Elijah and the Prophets of Baal” Study on Ligonier Ministries website

“Elijah’s Victory at Carmel” notes from David Guzik’s Enduring Word commentary

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