So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him. And Ahab went to meet Elijah.
When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals. Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If theLord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. Let two bulls be given to us, and let them choose one bull for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. And I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood and put no fire to it. And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.” I Kings 18:16-24 ESV
Sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy are in his place. I Chronicles 16:23-27 ESV
Bobby Riggs was a star tennis player, and he believed that men were better tennis players than women were, and that he could easily beat any woman tennis player. He challenged a woman named Billie Jean King to a tennis match. Billie Jean King was a champion woman tennis player, and she wanted to prove that women could play tennis as well as men could. So she accepted Bobby Riggs’ challenge. Everyone would be able to see once and for all if it was true that women couldn’t play tennis as well as men. Billie Jean King won this very famous match, and showed that it was possible for a woman to beat a man in tennis.
Elijah gave King Ahab and all the prophets of Baal an important challenge. He wanted to settle once and for all who the true God was–the Lord or Baal. There would be two altars, and a slaughtered bull would be put on each altar with some wood under it. The prophets of Baal would pray to their god for fire, and Elijah would pray to the Lord for fire. They would see who was able to send fire to burn up the bull as a sacrifice. All the people agreed that this was a good challenge, and the 450 prophets of Baal accepted it.
The greatest challenge God ever faced was when we were lost and under the power of death and the forces of evil. God took on this challenge by sending Jesus to be our Savior. Jesus met the challenge when he went to the cross. Through his death and his resurrection he defeated sin and death and all the power of the devil. Because of what Jesus did for us, we are God’s own and nothing can take us away from him. God is always ready to hear our prayers for Jesus sake and to answer them in the way that is best for us.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being strong and powerful and ready to hear and answer our prayers for Jesus’ sake. Amen.