Call to the Altar
on the Mountain

Lesson Five

1 Kings 18:19 Elijah spoke to Ahab and said, bring all the people of Israel and all of the prophets of Baal (450) and all the prophets of Asherah (400) to Mount Carmel.

Baal was the son of El, the father of all the Gods. Asherah (A-she-ra) was the goddess mate of Baal, they were very violent and evil, Baal was considered Lord of the Sun and thus the God of fire, Ashera was goddess of fertility. 

Notice the boldness of Elijah, telling the King his crimes, and telling him what to do. He didn't even tell Ahab what he planned to do at Mount Carmel. On this mountain by the sea, outside the land of Samaria, there was to be a public demonstration of the power of God, in full view of all. 1 Kings 18:19-25

1 Kings 18:19-20 "Now therefore, send and gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebelís table." 

So Ahab summoned all the people and the prophets to Mount Carmel. Why Did Ahab comply? It could have been that Ahab was now desperate and would do anything that would possibly bring rain. Or, it could be as I prefer to think, that Proverbs 21:1 came into action, which says, that the kings heart is in the hand of the Lord and He turns it which ever way He will. I think that the Lord was working on both ends of the situation. Many times in the word we find that it says the Lord stirred up the spirit of a certain king to do this or that. He moved him to do one thing, or withheld him from doing another. I believe that it was God who inclined the wicked king to obey Elijah, the one he hated. He also moved the prophets of evil and the apostate Israel to comply with Elijah's request. 

It is awesome to think that this great event came to pass because of the total obedience of one man to the Word of God. Wow! Just think what could happen if we, the people of God would fully obey the word of God.

Now, Elijah talked to the people of Israel. 1 Kings 18:21 "How long are you going to halt and limp between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him! But if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word."

Elijah must have said in his sermon, listen you foolish Israelites, Yahweh and Baal are not guests which are to be entertained, they are masters to be served and obeyed. Why do you keep leaning back and forth between the two? Don't you know that no servant can obey two masters? It can't be done, you will love one and hate the other, you will hold to one and despise the other. (Luke 16:13) a house divided against itself will fall. (Matthew 12:25)

And the people answered not a word.

Talk about current issues, Elijah hit the nail right on the head, for then and now. How about you? Are you trying to ride the fence? Do you want just enough Christianity to make it into heaven, but not enough to make it evident to the world that you belong to Jesus? A And the people answered him not a word. There were, no doubt, people who still thought of themselves as the people of God. Later on we find out there were seven thousand who had not actually bowed their knees to Baal. But they were apparently so afraid of public opinion that they were trying to be secret agents for God. Even Elijah did not know that they existed.

God has not called us to be secret agents. He has called us to be priest, prophets and kings, the habitation of God on the earth. We are to be lights set on a hill, lifting up the Lord, so all men will be drawn to Him. The double minded man or woman (one who is of two opinions) is unstable in all their ways. Hesitating, full of doubt, unreliable and uncertain about everything he or she thinks, feels and decides. How long will you halt between two opinions? There was no if in the mind of Elijah. He said, As the Lord lives, before whom I stand.

1 Kings 18:22 Then Elijah said to the people, "I only remain a prophet of the Lord, but Baal prophets are four hundred and fifty men."

Picture the scene, itís very hot and dry up on the mountain. There are throngs of curious people in the clearing. The four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal are there. Up the mountain comes the King in his carriage followed by all the people of the court. And on the other side of the clearing stands one man. Elijah.

Elijah said to the people, only I remain as a prophet of the Lord. NOW HEAR THIS!! To say, A Every body is doing it, does not mean it is right. The numbers here were definitely in favor of devil worship.

1 Kings 18:22-25 Then Elijah said to the people, "I alone am left a prophet of the LORD; but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD; and the God who answers by fire, He is God." So all the people answered and said, "It is well spoken." Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it."  

Notice the Emphasis on fire. The prophets of Baal were accustomed to placing tinder under the altar, then while they were leaping wildly about the altar, one of them would ignite the tinder. So Elijah kept saying put no fire under.

Fire played an important part in the worship of Baal and in the past, Jehovah had answered or given a sign by fire, so Elijah appealed to the reason of the people. Some of them had surely heard the stories of Moses and the burning bush, and how God had at night given the children of Israel the pillar of fire for a light. Some of them surely knew that when the covenant was made at Mount Sinai smoke covered the mountain because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Surely some of them knew that fire was the token of His acceptance of the sacrifices on the altar.

These things were spoken of in the Torah, 

Leviticus 9:6-8 and 24 Then Moses said, "This is the thing which the LORD commanded you to do, and the glory of the LORD will appear to you. And Moses said to Aaron, "Go to the altar, offer your sin offering and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and for the people. Offer the offering of the people, and make atonement for them, as the LORD commanded." Aaron therefore went to the altar and killed the calf of the sin offering, which was for himself, and fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.

The people had sinned, the law broken, justice must be satisfied, either on those who were guilty or on an innocent substitute. The fire from heaven was an indication of God's acceptance of the substitute. It was evident proof that sin had been dealt with, atoned for, and put away.

Elijahí s proposed test was a three fold test. It centered around a slain and innocent sacrifice, it shows the power of calling on the name of the Lord, and was to declare who the true God was, by the decent of fire.

Those same three points are a valid test of our beliefs today. When our hearts are centered on Jesus, the slain and innocent substitute and on God the Father, the prayer answering one. Then the fire of the Holy Spirit will descend on us. It is the Holy Spirit who inflames, enlightens, and cleanses the believer today.

The Holy Spirit, third member of the Godhead, was sent to earth on the day of Pentecost to dwell in man and "there was the sound of a rushing mighty wind and there appeared to them tongues as of fire." Acts 2:3

THE GOD THAT ANSWERS BY FIRE, LET HIM BE GOD.

Have you been faltering between two opinions? Joshua said, choose this day, who you will serve. Let God be accounted as the true God in your life. Let Him be followed, served and worshiped.

Elijah was a person like you and I, but He acted with a supernatural courage because he was a doer of the Word.

Are you a doer of the Word? Do you want to be? You must know what the Word says, before you can be a doer of the Word. It is only through spending time in the Word and communing with Him that you can know Him.

Make a clear cut decision today to serve Him fully, quit trying to hang on to worldly attitudes and habits and to be an all out servant of the living God.

When Elijah walked into the clearing that day, there was no doubt who he served. He made it known that he stood in the presence of the living God, and that he fully obeyed Him.

We need to do the same. It should be obvious, by our thoughts, our words, and our deeds that we belong to the living God.

AMP Titus 2:14 "Jesus gave Himself on our behalf that He might redeem us (purchase our freedom) from all iniquity and purify for Himself a people (to be peculiarly His own, people who are) eager and enthusiastic about (living a life that is good and filled with) beneficial deeds."

Next: Lesson Six