The Contest on Mount Carmel
So Obadiah went to tell Ahab that Elijah had come, and Ahab went out to meet Elijah. When Ahab saw him, he exclaimed, ‘So, is it really you, you troublemaker of Israel? “I have made no trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “You and your family are the troublemakers, for you have refused to obey the commands of the Lord and have worshiped the images of Baal instead. Now summon all Israel to join me at Mount Carmel, along with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who are supported by Jezebel. (1 Kings 18:16-19 NLT)
In the third year of the drought, the people were when God told Elijah to present himself to King Ahab. In His infinite mercy, God promised to send rain. Still, God had plans and would prove that He alone was the only God. The Israelites were worshipping pagan idols–completely turning aside from God without remorse. God would use supernatural power before sending rain because without the Mount Carmel showdown, the people would not attribute the onset of rain as an act of God.
Many are familiar with the spiritual showdown between Elijah and the prophets of Baal and Asherah on Mount Carmel. And we know that our Omnipotent God demonstrated Himself to prove to the disobedient King Ahab and the Nation of Israel that He is the only God. “Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, ‘The Lord—he is God! Yes, the Lord is God! ‘” (1 Kings 18:38-39 NLT).
Elijah Prays for Rain
“Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go get something to eat and drink, for I hear a mighty rainstorm coming!'” (1 Kings 18:41). As the story evolves, Elijah bowed and prayed, sending His servant seven times to look for signs of rain. Verse 44, reads,”Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, ‘I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.’ Then Elijah shouted, ‘Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!'”
The [Supernatural] Olympic Feat
At the end of 1 Kings chapter 18, we are told that God glorified Himself showing Divine power! “And soon the sky was black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm, and Ahab left quickly for Jezreel. Then the Lord gave extraordinary strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his belt and ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to the entrance of Jezreel. (1 Kings 18:45-46). Our God imparted strength to Elijah to run ahead of King Ahab, who was in his chariot driven by horses!
Can you imagine the look on the King’s face when Elijah passed him, running all the way to the city of Jezreel? Even so, after witnessing God’s supernatural power three times, King Ahab remained wicked following after his evil wife, Jezebel. Sadly, many believers have turned away from God. With the daily blessings that we receive, who can say they have never witnessed God’s miraculous power? The distractions of our careers, the love of money, and the desire for an easy life prevent us from daily prayer and studying the Scriptures.
Satan has deceived many into believing that God requires too much of us. Yet, the underlying issue is one of the heart. We do not love God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds. Either we are spiritually weary from the burdens in this life or feel that we can worship God, 2-3 hours once a week [a modern version of Cain’s sacrifice]. To which Jesus addresses, “Jesus replied, ‘Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.'” (Matthew 22:29).
The last days require putting on the whole armor of God [Ephesians 6:11-18]. Without the reinforcement of daily spiritual food, we cannot run the race needed. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14 KJV). The same God of the Old Testament proclaims that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8 NKJV). The “I Am that I Am” will provide His Spiritual Olympian strength, which surpasses all human comprehension, to everyone who is faithful and possesses a spirit of humility and obedience. Keep Running!
“…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…” (Philippians 1:6 BSB).
Prayer: God, we pray for the strength and endurance to run the race until your Son, Jesus comes to give us the reward of eternal life. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.