“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.”
1 Kings 18:21 NIV
One of the greatest stories in the Old Testament of God’s intervention took place on Mount Carmel when Elijah openly threw down the challenge to 450 idol-worshiping prophets of Baal. He did so by asking the question, “Which one is the true God?” This was not a test for the timid. Elijah wanted the people to see a unique, concrete demonstration of God’s intervention and power.
The worshipers of Baal prepared the bullock, placed it on the altar, and called on the name of Baal from morning until past midday. They even jumped around the altar, cut themselves with knives, and cried loudly to heaven. No response. Then it came time for Elijah’s test. He prepared an altar with twelve stones, one for each of the tribes of Israel. After the wood and the meat were in place, he asked for four barrels of water to be poured over the sacrifice to prove the power of the Almighty. Then Elijah told the helpers to douse the sacrifice a second and third time with four more barrels of water each time. There was so much water that it ran all around the altar and filled the trench that encircled it
Elijah then looked up to Heaven and offered one of the most powerful prayers ever recorded: “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. 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 18:36-37 NIV).
God’s servant had a specific request and God gave a specific answer: “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 NIV).
Elijah was called to a life of holy dissatisfaction with the idol worship that ran rampant throughout the land. Today a statue near Mount Carmel in Israel commemorates the victorious and divine intervention over the false prophets, and the Old Testament account has emboldened centuries of believers to become courageous agents of miraculous living through trust in God!