At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!” (1 Kings 18:36-39)
Like all the prophets of the Old testaments, Elijah faced many obstacles as he related God’s message to the king of the day. The kings then, as those governing the people now, didn’t like hearing the truth—they had strayed from God and had worshipped idols. The kings wanted to hear that God was pleased with them and paid people to tell them so. Anyone who brought messages of destruction where often imprisoned or put to death. Thus the obstacles in the paths of God’s true prophets tested their faith as well as threatened their lives.
But Elijah remained faithful to God and boldly faced Ahab with a proposition from God, placing an obstacle in Ahab’s path of worship. Prompted by God, Elijah challenged Ahab to bring his 850 prophets of the false gods Baal and Asherah to Mount Carmel along with all the people. There, the prophets of Baal and Asherah built an altar to their gods. Likewise, Elijah built an altar to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob–t—living and true God. The deal was, in turn, they each would sacrifice a bull, but not light a fire to it. That was the job of their gods. The one who answered and lit the sacrifice would prove to be the true, living God. Ahab’s prophets went first at the invitation of Elijah. They called to the gods. They shouted. They cut themselves with swords and spears, as was their practice, until evening. Yet, Nothing happened.
Then it was Elijah’s turn. He cut up the bull, placed it on his altar, and doused the wood with water. Then he prayed to God. Fire fell from heaven, consumed the sacrifice, and lapped up the water. (Read about all the obstacles Elijah faced in 1 Kings 17 through 2 Kings 10.)
Jesus also faced many obstacles as He carried out His mission to redeem the world. Before He began His ministry, Jesus fasted forty days. Satan tempted Him with every temptation known to man. The people whom Jesus healed and came to save mocked Him, beat Him, and crucified Him. But all His obstacles were part of God’s plan to prove His great love for us and to defeat the enemy through the blood of Jesus.
How about you? What reminds you of Jesus that starts with the letter O?
See you in a twinkling,
Brenda K. Hendricks