Whom Will You Follow?

KEY VERSE: “Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” —I Kings 18:21


IN THE THIRD year of the drought in Samaria, the word of the Lord came to Elijah the prophet instructing him to go to King Ahab with the promise, “I will send rain upon the earth,” putting an end to the bitter suffering and anguish brought on by severe famine.—I Kings 18:1

Ahab, because of his weakness of faith in the true and living God, said to Elijah, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” And Elijah answered, “I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim. Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto Mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table. So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto Mount Carmel.” Then the words of the Key Verse were spoken.—I Kings 18:17-21

Elijah, full of zeal for the Lord, and full of indignation against Israel’s idolatry, and being divinely guided, had a plan prepared by which to demonstrate to Israel which was the true God and which the false one. In the presence of the people he made a proposition to the priests of Baal for a contest to prove the question, that they could hardly refuse. The four hundred and fifty priests were to build an altar and make a sacrifice to their god, while Elijah would build an altar and offer a sacrifice to Jehovah. The god who would answer by sending fire would serve as evidence as being the true God.

The priests of Baal prepared their altar and their bull lock for sacrifice. As Elijah instructed, they cut the bullock in pieces, laid it on wood and put no fire under it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning even until noontime, saying, “O Baal, hear us!” But there was no voice, nor any that answered. They leaped upon the altar, and at noonday, Elijah mocked them saying, “Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.” (vss. 25-27) Midday passed and they kept this up until near sunset.

Then Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, and built an altar in the name of the Lord, and made a trench about it. “He put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. And he said, Do it the second time. … And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time. And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.”—vss. 31-35

“It came to pass at the time of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God. … Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God. And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.”—vss. 36-40

Elijah remained on the mountain to pray seven more times. The sky grew dark, the wind blew, and heavy rain began to fall. A lesson for the Lord’s people today is that we ought to pray and not to faint. Let us not grow weary in looking for the blessings of the Lord, but instead, to pray faithfully.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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