Read chapter in full: www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=ESV&search=1Kings+018
CHAPTER 18 (ESV)
18 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. 19 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.”
20 So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. 21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. 23 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. 24 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.”
- In many ways, Ahab’s story is familiar: a powerful ruler continues the evil practices instituted before him, marries one who encourages further evil, and has significant opportunity to repent and turn to God, but continues in disobedience, bringing much suffering to his nation and his own untimely death. Despite all Ahab saw God doing, he remained bent toward sin. And he witnessed one of God’s most awesome displays of power on Mt. Carmel!
- As Ahab’s life demonstrates, sin can gain an increasing hold on our soul. Especially when we are allied with another drawn to evil, sin acts to numb our spirit to the truths of God. Yet just as sin becomes habitual, so holy living can become habitual. Just as sin numbs the spirit to the things of God, so obedience opens the spirit to God’s transforming power.
- Do I have a relationship similar to that of Ahab and Jezebel, in which a person close to me encourages me toward sin? Do I sense God guiding me to make a change in this relationship?
- What kind of idolatry is alive in my life? Money? Reputation? Career? Appearance? Comfort? In what ways does this idolatry cause you to turn your back on God or His people?
Spend some time in silence before God. Invite the Holy Spirit to shine in the deepest parts of my heart. Whatever revealed, ask God to take over and to help me to live my life clearly aware of the Emmanuel God with me.