The Convincing Fire

And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 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. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.” (1 Kings 18:36-39 ESV)

Israel was being led astray by Ahab and many prophets of Baal. So Elijah challenged them by preparing two separate bulls as an offering. If Baal was their god, then he would accept the offering by sending fire to consume it. When they called and cried out to him, there was no answer. To further prove the point that there is only One True God, Elijah prayed that the LORD answer him so that the people repented from their idolatry. And of course, God answered him.

The fire from heaven was a dramatic miracle that caused Israel to bow down and worship the Lord. It’s interesting that they had to be given a new reminder of God’s existence and statutes. That is a common theme that is recorded throughout the Old Testament, which brings up a very good lesson here. To have an unwavering faith, we need to follow role models in both the past and present. Scripture provides plenty of great examples, which is why we should read it daily. And when we fellowship with other believers, we can encourage each other by studying God’s word together and share examples of how it guides us (i.e. testimony). The less time we spend in church or reading the Bible leaves us open to other forbidden beliefs and religious practices.

So as you can see, we are no different than the Israelites. They went after other gods because they neglected their spiritual walk with the LORD. For us, a simple distraction or two can lead us astray if we are not constantly connected to Jesus and his teachings. Let us not depend on new reminders of God, but instead cling on to the foundations of our faith while looking forward to his promises and future blessings.

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