Introduction: Elijah tested Israel. They lived as the world lived, believing in their own god(s) instead of trusting the God. Gee, this seemed to happen a lot. Times have not changed...so what will it take? Read below about the test. (Baal was a worldly god, adaptable to any circumstance. The word means "lord.")
1Kings 18:20-39 - So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word.
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. ” So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us!” But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made.
And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.
Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.” Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, “Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.” Then he said, “Do it a second time,” and they did it a second time; and he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water.
And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “ Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”
Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!”
What I wanted to write was what will it take for people to know this great God of ours. How will they understand that He created us for a purpose, one of relationship...to seek, believe, trust and obey Him...because, to quote a phrase, (the) Father knows best? What will it take for people to realize what He has done for them? What will it take for people like those above to confess “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” Baals today are as adaptable as then...anything we put before God. "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." (Matthew 6:24)
There may be many who feel like Elijah, "I am alone in a world of unbelievers." I know that's not true, but there is a minority (believers) and a majority (unbelievers). Narrow road, wide road. What will it take to grow the number of believers?
God has probably done numerous things in each of our lives that have been His attempt to get us to notice Him. The heavens declare the glory of God. But some don't see it. And it's not just about believing He created these things that we might know there is a God. It's about relationship. That's what He wants for us. Relationship with Him. We have relationships with people in our earthly lives. The greatest relationship, which brings those earthly relationships greater meaning, comes from knowing Him and the power of His glory in our lives. But we need to seek it.
Jesus came to bring us life. Those who put their total faith and trust in Jesus will have that life. Heaven is assured to those who believe. Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me...that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. (John 14:6, 5:23). I will pose the same question as Elijah, How long will you falter? Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God.
John 5:24 - “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life."