Living and Reviving a Courageous Faith Like Elijah

I still can’t believe it. Three months ago a replica of the Temple of Ba’al/Palmyra’s Triumphal Arch, was built in front of New York City’s City Hall, very close to Ground Zero.  September 19th was the public unveiling.

The Institute of Digital Archeology, in partnership with Harvard University, orchestrated this movement. ISIS destroyed this temple in Syria in October 2015, and they wanted to rebuild it in the US as a symbol of defiance. Who is it really defying?

It is no wonder that Elijah’s bold faith on Mount Carmel has been on my heart recently. I pray for a modern-day revival as we experience modern-day paganism.

As we look to 1 Kings 18:16-39, Elijah had been a quiet prophet during Ahab’s (and crazy Jezebel) evil reign as King of Israel. Elijah had warned them that, according to the Lord God of Israel, there would be no rain or dew for several years (1 Kings 17:1). After three years God tells Elijah to present himself to Ahab, and God would send rain on the land.

Elijah met with Ahab, who asked to gather all the people from Israel onto Mount Carmel. Ahab brought 450 prophets of Baal .

“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.” –1 Kings 18:21NIV

Elijah then told them the was the only of the Lord’s prophets left, yet Baal had 450 prophets. He told them to get two bulls, choose one for themselves, cut it up, place it on the fire and not light the fire. He would do the same.

“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. Then all the people said, ‘What you say is good.’” –1 Kings 18:24

So those prophets called on the name of Baal for about six hours until noon. But there was no answer. They even danced around the altar they had made.

At noon Elijah started mocking them. “Shout louder! ‘he said. ‘Surely he is god. Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened. ” –1 Kings 18:27.

Isn’t this like a reality show? I think it’s funny. Haven’t we mocked others? Obviously they did it in the Bible also.

The people of Baal even started slashing themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom until they bled. (Ouch—so not appealing). Then they started frantically prophesying until time for their evening sacrifice.

“…But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention. Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come here to me.’ They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which was in ruins.” –1 Kings 18:29b-30.

Elijah took 12 stones, representing the 12 tribes of Israel, and built an altar in the name of the Lord. Then he did something even more courageous to show his faith.

He built a trench around the altar, arranged the wood, cut the bull into piece, and laid it on the wood. He asked the Baal prophets to fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood. He asked them to do it again, then a third time. The water soaked the altar and even filled the trench he had made.

Now remember it had not rained for three years! Water was a treasure. Elijah boldly wanted to prove that no fire would be coming from him, but ONLY from the Lord. With wood not being able to burn wet, it showed only a miracle would cause the fire.

Then Elijah stepped forward and humbly prayed to the Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel…

“’Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.’

“Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, ‘The Lord—He is God! The Lord—He is God!’” –1 Kings 18:38-39.

What leadership and faith lessons can we learn from Elijah?

What will it take for the US to cry out that the Lord is God?

  • The majority voice isn’t always the Truth. Elijah was one prophet. His lone voice spoke the words of Truth, that the Lord our God is the only true God and the only One God who responds and is worthy of our worship. May we have courage to speak Truth alone when other voices are loud.
  • Identify the problem as first step. Elijah asked how long they would waver between two opinions—Baal or God as Lord.
  • Boldly demonstrate your faith. Elijah did in two huge ways:
    1. He rebuilt the altar that was in ruins and dedicated it back to God. May we do the same for our nation, for our state, for our communities. It’s not too late.
    2. By Elijah asking the Baal people to pour precious water on the altar three times, he showed his belief in God’s miracles. Nothing is impossible with God. All we need is the faith of a mustard seed.
  • Cry out to God—Elijah humbly prayed aloud. When is the last time you prayed aloud? Let’s cry out to God today, every day.

God is the same yesterday in the days of Elijah, as He is today. Now, more than ever, with our country building temples of Ba’al in NY and symbolically in our homes, may we humbly follow Elijah’s example. I pray for the fire of God’s revival in our homes and on our nation as we fall prostrate and proclaim that Jesus is Lord.

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Reflect:

What may be a “Ba’al” in your life?

Renew:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin AND will heal their land.” –2 Chronicles 7:14

Resources:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/20/palmyra-arch-syria-new-york

http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/75760/despite-earlier-denials-arch-temple-baal-stand-nyc/#ZHv994SDsfxmZjdQ.97

http://digitalarchaeology.org.uk

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