Call to the Altar
on the Mountain
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
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
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
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
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
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