It is not easy for people to stay by a belief they have unless they see evidence. This, of course, is a good thing. It should only be by evidence that a thing is believed. God has given us His Word for just such a purpose. Paul wrote in Romans 10:17 that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” We obtain our faith by God’s Word and by those things we see in His creation. (Rom. 1:20) Yet, even with all the evidence the Israelites were privileged to see, they still were not loyal to God. However, throughout scripture we read of men who are stern and consistent in their beliefs and remain faithful, no matter the situation. Elijah is one of those men. The Bible relates to us a series of events, peaking with a grand showing of God’s power and Elijah’s faith. Ahab was one of the Kings of Israel who gave no heed to God’s laws or commands. (I Kgs. 16:33; 18:18) He and Elijah meet in order for rain to replenish the earth again. It had been many years since rain had fallen because Elijah prophesied such. (I Kgs 17:1)
As Elijah and Ahab meet, Ahab blamed him for all the bad things which had happened to Israel, calling him a “troubler of Israel”. However, Elijah knew the truth that Ahab has not been faithful to God, but had turned to Baal away from Jehovah. Now, Elijah expresses in bold fashion his faith in God, and challenged the prophets of Baal and Asherah to a challenge. Each was to make an altar and call on their gods to answer their call by fire, to consume the sacrifices. (18:23,24) Of course, all who revere God know what happened. It is as famous a story as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace or Daniel and the lion’s den. The prophets of Baal and Asherah called and called on their gods, but no answer was heard. In fact they screamed and yelled for many hours. They cut themselves with swords and lances, but still nothing.
Then, Elijah called out to God, to let all know that “You are God in Israel.” God, of course, consumed the altar, the water around the altar, and the sacrifice; all was consumed in a matter of seconds. Immediately after, the people all fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, He is God; the Lord He is God.” You may ask, “How long did this loyalty last?” Good question. How long would you think? You are right if you answered not very long. Throughout the books of First and Second Kings, we see disobedience and lack of loyalty to God, regardless of His abundant blessings toward them.
What about you and me….today? How faithful are we? Do we make excuses or do we stand confident and assured through God’s Word. Elijah stood confident and assured. He knew it was the power of God that kept the rain from the earth. His faith in God (by God speaking to him) assured him to believe that God would be faithful. And – God – was !!
What has God done since? He has sent His Son (John 3:16). His Son gave Himself on a cruel cross for you and me (Roman 5:8). He raised His Son from the dead, so that you and I could also be raised after immersion into water to walk in newness of life (Romans 1:4; 6:4). He, through faithful men, wrote the Bible for us to read, learn, and pattern our lives after (Psa. 119:105; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; 2 Pet 1:3,20,21). He enabled each person on the earth the opportunity to be added to the church through baptism (Acts 2:38,47). As well, He established the church of His Son, the church which Christ said He would build (Matt. 16:18). We have His Word with which we are commanded to fight false doctrine and given the knowledge, strength and wisdom to do so (Eph. 6:10f). This and much more is what Christ and His Father has given to us. We have every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus as baptized believers (Eph. 1:4). Does this cause us to seek people in order to teach them concerning salvation through the blood of Christ? It should! Do we serve the Lord, or the god of this world? How long will we hesitate between two opinions? Brethren, let us stand for Truth, hate ever wicked way…….and be strong in the Lord, and in His mighty power as did Elijah His prophet. By Andy Burns