Man on Fire [Part 2]
By Alan Wright — January 16, 2019
Are you ready for some good news?
You don’t have to make sacrifices to move God on your behalf; God Himself has already moved on your behalf by making the ultimate sacrifice.
Today’s Text: “‘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 18:37–39, ESV)
It was an epic showdown. On one side, 450 prophets of the Canaanite storm god Baal. On the other side, the lone prophet of Yahweh. They assembled on Mt. Carmel with an agreement: each side would erect an altar and call upon their god to consume it by fire; whichever god brought the fire would be proven to be the true god.
The Baal prophets were pitiful to the point of being comical. They called upon Baal from 6 a.m. until noon. Elijah mocked them. Shout louder, Israel’s prophet said with a chuckle. Perhaps Baal is musing or maybe he’s just using the bathroom. Maybe your god is on a vacation or perhaps he is asleep.
What’s more comical than Elijah’s taunts is the fact that the pagan prophets took Elijah’s advice. They called louder and louder. They cut themselves. They raved.
When it came Elijah’s turn, the prophet prayed a simple prayer of faith and the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the offering and the altar. Seeing the fire put the Baal prophets on their faces and proved Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be the one, true God.
It’s not just a story about the power of God; it’s a story about the power of the Gospel.
The Baal prophets’ ridiculous, painful antics provide an apt picture of dead religion. Every empty religious system is a human attempt to move God by ritual, vows and sacrifices. But the Good News of Jesus Christ is an announcement of how God has moved on your behalf by making the ultimate sacrifice Himself. The Good News is good because it isn’t about your ability to do something for God; it’s about God’s ability to do something for you. You don’t need to rant and rave and lacerate your self-worth in order to move God on your behalf; God has already moved on your behalf. He’s given you Christ - which means He’s given His all. And that’s the Gospel!