Trust God Against Overwhelming Opposition
1 Kings 18:20-26, 36-39
Lifeway Explore the Book Lesson 05-11-03

20 So Ahab sent a message among all the sons ofIsrael and brought the prophets together at Mount Carmel.   21 Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people did not answer him a word.   22 Then Elijah said to the people, "I alone am left a prophet of the LORD, but Baal's prophets are 450 men.   23 "Now let them give ustwo oxen; and let them choose one ox for themselves and cut it up, and place it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other ox and lay it on the wood, and I will not put a fire under it.   24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD, and the God who answers by fire, He is God." And all the people said, "That is a good idea."  25 So Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one ox for yourselves and prepare it first for you are many, and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it."  26 Then they took the ox which was given them and they prepared it and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon saying, "O Baal, answer us." But there was no voice and no one answered. And they leaped about the altar which they made.   NASU

1 Kings 18:36-39
36 At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, "O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word.
37 "Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that You, O LORD, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again."  38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.  39 When all the people saw it, they fell on theirfaces; and they said, "The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God."   NASU

 

1.    The Confrontation to . . Trust God Against Overwhelming Opposition.   Vs  20-21

King Ahab called the prophets together. I do not think he expected Elijah to confront all of them.  Elijah spoke, and his challenge received silence.  His words echo through the years: “How long will you waver between two opinions?  If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”  In my opinion, many Christians need to answer that question today.

A.     The . . Structured Confrontation.  v 20
        20 So Ahab sent a message among all the sons of Israel and brought the prophets together
        at Mount Carmel.

B.    The . . Spoken Confrontation. v 21 a
        21 Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long will you hesitate between two opinions?
If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.. . . "
 

C.    The . . Silence of the Confrontation. v 21 b

        ". . . But the people did not answer him a word. "

 
 

2.     The Courage to . . Trust God Against Overwhelming Opposition. Vs. 22-24
       What kind of stand would you and I take if we thought the odds were 450 to one.  In the vast majority of confrontations, those are not good odds.  However, Elijah stood with God.  God gave him the plan, and watched over it.  I believe the courage to take such action grew in Elijah, as by faith he understood what God wanted.  It would be foolish to make a stand like this on your own initiative.

Do you find it interesting that James 5:17 says, “Elijah was a man just like us?”  I think that means the same human form, but we have too few men willing to stand like Elijah. He acted courageously because he walked daily with the Lord

A.    Courage through . . Uneven Odds. v 22.
        22 Then Elijah said to the people, "I alone am left a prophet of the LORD, but Baal's prophets are 450 men.
 

B.    Courage through . . Unequal Choice.  v 23.
        23 "Now let them give us two oxen; and let them choose one ox for themselves and cut it up, and place it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other ox and lay it on the wood, and I will not put a fire under it.
 

C.    Courage through . . Unusual Calling. v 24
      24 "Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD, and the God who answers by fire, He is God." And all the people said, "That is a good idea."
 

3.    The Choice to . . Trust God Against Overwhelming Opposition. vs 25-26
Elijah gave the prophets of Baal first choice in selecting the animals.  Can you see the amusement in this as God’s plan unveils?  Elijah encourages the false prophets to entreat their god.  No one could properly claim Elijah took an advantage of these people.  The only advantage he had going for him was his God.  Perhaps this story inspired the saying “one plus God equals enough!”  Looking at the text, do you see the absurdity as the worshipers of Baal leaped on the altar, as if that gained Baal’s attention?
 

A.    The Choice of  . . Animal.  v 25-26a
        25 So Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one ox for yourselves and prepare it first for you are many, and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it."  26 Then they took the ox which was given them and they prepared it and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon saying, "O Baal, answer us." But there was no voice and no one answered. . . . "

B.    The Choice of  . . Action.  v 2 b
        ". . . And they leaped about the altar which they made."

4.    The Commitment to . . Trust God Against Overwhelming Opposition.    Vs 36-39
        Elijah desires “. . . that this people may know that You, O LORD, are God,. . . .”  He walked and talked with a simple trust in God.  Then the fire fell and consumed the animals, wood, and stones. Have you ever seen fire consume stones?  I have not!  This points out how thorough God does His work.  The end result of this encounter; “ . . . they fell on their faces; and said, "The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God."  May our opportunities to demonstrate trust in God  during great opposition meet with the same results.  Amen?  Amen!

A. The . . Call of Commitment.  vs 36-37
36 At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, "O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word.  37 "Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that You, O LORD, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again."
 

B. The . . Consummation of  Commitment.  v 38
38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
 

C. The . . Conversions of  Commitment.  v 39
39 When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God."

1. The Confrontation to . . Trust God Against Overwhelming Opposition.
 

2. The Courage to . . Trust God Against Overwhelming Opposition.
 

3. The Choice to . . Trust God Against Overwhelming Opposition.
 

4. The Commitment to . . Trust God Against Overwhelming Opposition.