Tuesday, March 13, 2012
“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” (1 Kings 18:39 KJV).
Is the LORD of the Bible (JEHOVAH) one of many gods, or is He the only God? Today’s Scripture and its context definitively answer this question.
King Ahab and Queen Jezebel are some of the most notorious rulers in the Bible. Reigning over Israel (the northern kingdom) from approximately 874–853 B.C., Ahab and Jezebel introduced Baal worship among God’s people Israel, angering God and misleading the Jews (Baal was a pagan god of the neighboring Canaanites) (1 Kings 16:29-33). Jezebel also killed many of the LORD’S prophets, who were speaking out against her and Ahab’s wickedness (1 Kings 18:4,13).
Ahab and God’s prophet Elijah meet, and Elijah instructs Ahab to gather Baal’s 450 prophets and the 400 grove (pagan shrine) prophets and bring them to Mount Carmel (verses 17-20).
When Israel and Baal’s prophets are assembled at Carmel, Elijah tells Israel, “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him” (verse 21). In the succeeding verses, Elijah proposes a test to see who is God: if JEHOVAH rains down fire and consumes the animal sacrifice, He is God, but if Baal rains down fire and devours the sacrifice, then he is God (verses 23,24).
Baal’s prophets present an animal sacrifice and repeatedly call to Baal from morning to evening, but neither fire nor voice came from Baal, and the sacrifice remains untouched (verses 25-29).
Elijah then lays out an animal sacrifice, and calls on JEHOVAH: “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel… that this people may know that thou art the LORD God….” (verses 36,37). Immediately, fire rains down from heaven, consuming the wood, the water, the dust, and the burnt sacrifice. After Israel saw that, Israel knew that pagan idols were not God, and they responded with today’s Scripture, “The LORD [JEHOVAH], he is the God!”