Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Good News: Death Through LifeBible Portion – 1st Kings 18: 21-39
Bible Key Verse Text
“And Elijah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.’ And the people did not answer him a word” (1st Kings 18:21).
In the Old Testament, sacrifice serves as a multi-purpose mechanism to achieve the plans set forth by God. The sacrifice presented in 1st Kings 18 serves not only as a foreshadowing to the ultimate sacrifice in Christ Jesus, but also, it opens the reader to the illuminatory impact of sacrifice as a whole.
Elijah, a mighty prophet of God, came into the fray during a time period where God’s people were susceptible to falling for the schemes of the enemy. The worship of the false god, Baal, was highly prevalent at the time. This is a callback to the time of the Exodus narrative where the Israelites erected an idolic golden calf and worshipped it in the desert. As we can all recollect, this greatly displeased the Lord. Disobedience was written on the hearts of God’s people, as is oftentimes the case today. God’s people were not in tune with Him. However, He was completely in tune with them. By extension of His intimate knowledge of creation, He knew what would return the hearts of man to their Creator.
“Choose this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). Joshua’s words to the Israelites are echoed in the words of Elijah in 1st Kings 18:21. This entire scene is set up in quite the dramatic fashion. It is a showdown between the God of the Bible and the false god Baal. When we peruse the pages of Scripture, we typically have the benefit of hindsight. We know how most of the stories will ultimately play out. God quickly dispelled the unbelief of His people as well as the Gentiles by raining down fire on the altar set up by Elijah. The fire consumed the bull on the altar, and it consumed the hearts of man. Everyone who saw this fire fell on their faces and acknowledged the LORD as God. In other words, every knee bowed and every tongue confessed. Elijah quickly dispatched the false prophets thereafter.
As we read and meditate, we are invited to choose a side. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob or a cheap, false god imitation. Our lives can feel far from victorious at many points. Elijah ran in fear for his life after the scene with the burnt sacrifice. By no means are we promised an easy life in this world. However, we are promised victory through the sacrifice God availed to us in His Son, Christ Jesus. He can turn any tide or battle in His favor. When we earnestly choose Christ as the master we serve, we experience a life like no other.
Prayer – Lord consume our hearts with the unquenchable fire of the Holy Spirit. Light us to be a light unto the nations. A city on a hill. Reveal to us and all mankind who you are. Just as you revealed yourself to Moses in the burning bush. Just as you revealed yourself when Elijah called down fire. Your sacrifice on the cross provides the light by which we can return to you in this lifetime and enjoy your presence in eternity. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
God provides the means by which we can live sacrificial lives bearing the imprint of the cross of Christ.
Epiphany MTC, New York