1 Corinthians 10.6-7,11
“Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were … Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.”
OK, after that two week interlude, let’s return to the life of Elijah. As you will recall, it was on Mt Carmel that Elijah humiliated and defeated the prophets of Baal. King Ahab watched in dismay as the prayers and pleading of the prophets of Baal went unanswered, while the prayer of Elijah was answered immediately by God with fire from heaven.
Elijah’s contest with the false prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel is one of those rare moments in history when God steps out of the unseen realm and makes His character and power known in a dramatically evident way. Although not the norm, this miraculous event stands as a powerful revelation of who God is.
Elijah’s battle with the prophets of Baal is not simply a story; it is an account. God records this event in scripture for our instruction. Here are key lessons from Elijah’s battle with the prophets of Baal.
1) Beware of counterfeit gods. Beware of idolatry of any kind.
Idolatry is when you give high reverence to something other than God. It is when you worship a counterfeit. We live in a time of many counterfeit gods that seek to seduce and deceive. Money can be an idol. So can your job, your family, and even your ministry. But the Lord’s command is clear and strong: “You shall have no other gods before me.”
The danger with idolatry is that first we make our idols, and then our idols make us. We reverence the idol and identify with it. We have an image of what it is, and then we pursue and seek to become like that image. Is that not a clear description of idolatry? It is the ultimate betrayal of the God who created us in His image.
“Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.” (Psalm 115.4-8)
“What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a metal image, a teacher of lies?” (Habakkuk 2.18)
2) You must decide.
The Lord is a jealous God, demanding our whole affection. He will not accept divided allegiance. You are either for the Lord or against Him. He will permit no compromise. You must decide who you serve. You must declare yourself.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6.24)
“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3.15-16)
3) You must stand strong and fight.
The reality of spiritual warfare must be fully embraced. We are involved in a very serious battle between the truth of God and the deception and lies of the evil one. It is a reality: If you want to live a significant life for the kingdom of God, every step of the journey will be contested. If you want to live a life of purpose and significance, you will have to fight for it.
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Cor 16.13)
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6.10-11)
Ephesians 6 also tells us to pray at all times in the Spirit, keep alert, and be diligent in prayer. “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5.16)
For the times in which we live, may we be faithful spiritual warriors like Elijah.
The Lord is calling. Coram Deo.