Elijah was one of the greatest prophets that has ever lived and he was truly a man of God – no literally – his name meant “The Lord is my God”. Throughout much of 1 Kings, Jeremiah tells us the tales of Elijah and his obedience to and faith in the Lord.
My favorite story is about the epic slugfest between Elijah and Queen Jezebel’s 450 prophets of Baal on the top of Mount Carmel. You have to read the entire story in 1 Kings 18:16-46. When you do, picture the scene remade by a modern filmmaker. Suffice to say, Elijah challenged these 450 false prophets to bring fire from the heavens to prove Baal even existed.
24 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 18:24a
So these pretenders danced around literally all day trying to get their false god to answer them. The comedy starts about noon when Elijah goes full OG (original gangsta) and decides to start taunting them.
27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.”
– 1 Kings 18:27
No matter what craziness these hysterical prophets did, Baal never did anything because he was obviously a man-made god. As Jeremiah wrote, “there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.”
Just before the evening sacrifice, Elijah repaired the alter to our God. He dug a trench around it and filled it up by pouring huge jugs of water all over the alter so that everything was soaked – not a dry spot existed. Elijah then called on God and said:
36b “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. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
– 1 Kings 18:36-27
The fire that came down from heaven was so hot that it burned up everything, “the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil” and it even consumed the water in the trench. All of the people who were around saw what happened and immediately fell to their knees and acknowledged and worshipped our Lord as their God.
Did you expect drama and comedy like this in the Bible? I know that I didn’t until I started reading it a lot more faithfully. This is just one of the stories with a current-day epic movie plot – there are many others. If we read these stories and set the scenes in our minds, they just come to life in fresh new ways. They are filled with drama, tragedy, suspense, horror, romance and yes, comedy. Oh yeah, and triumph, because the Lord obviously delivers for Elijah in a major way.
“But, how does this stories apply to me?” In one way, Elijah was honoring God by defeating the false prophets of Baal. But Elijah was also showing us that, even though you may be surrounded by people that don’t love and trust the Lord, you should remain faithful. God will come through for you – Maybe not in the way that He did for Elijah, but He will come through for your good just as Paul states in his letter to the Ephesians.
20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or imagine.
– Ephesians 3:20
Finally, I also believe that this story was written this way to remind us to remember that our lives our tough enough and we shouldn’t forget to smile once in awhile.