Elijah on Mount Carmel
1 Kings 18
The famine in Israel was severe and lasted for three years. Finally, the Lord said to Elijah, “Go tell King Ahab that I am going to send rain to the land.”
The person in charge of Ahab’s courts was a man named Obadiah. He was faithful to God, and even hid 100 prophets of the LORD when Jezebel was trying to hunt them down.
He and the king went out to find grass for the palace livestock. They went different directions so they could search more land.
As Obadiah went along, Elijah suddenly walked up to him. Obadiah immediately fell to the ground and said, “Oh, my lord Elijah.”
The prophet said, “Go tell the king that I’m here.”
Obadiah was shocked. He said, “What have I done that you want me killed? The king has looked for you all across the nation, and even in other countries. As soon as I tell him that you’re here, the Lord will carry you off to some other place. Then Ahab will kill me when he comes and finds that you’re not here. Please don’t do this to me.”
The prophet said, “Don’t worry. As the Lord lives, I’ll meet with Ahab today.”
So Obadiah went and told Ahab. As soon as the king saw Elijah, he said, “So, there is the man who’s destroyed Israel.”
Elijah said, “No, it’s not me, but you who has destroyed Israel. You’ve turned your back on the Lord and are serving Baal. Tell Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. Bring the prophets of Baal and Asherah, the ones who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
So Ahab told the Israelites to gather at Mount Carmel, along with the prophets. Once everyone was there, Elijah said to the people, “How long will you go back and forth? If the Lord is God, follow Him. If Baal is God, follow him.” The people didn’t say anything, but just looked at the prophet.
He said. “I stand here as only one prophet of the Lord, but look, there are 450 prophets of Baal. Give us two bulls. They’ll take one, prepare it for sacrifice, and put it on top of the wood. But they won’t put fire on the wood. I’ll do the same. They will call on the name of their god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The God who lights the fire, He is God.”
The people said. “Yes. That sounds fair.”
Elijah said to the prophets of Baal. “You go first.”
So they prepared the bull, and called on the name of Baal. They prayed all morning until noon. They danced around the altar, but nothing happened.
Elijah started mocking them. “Maybe you should shout louder! Your god might be sleeping, and you need to wake him up! Maybe he’s gone to the toilet.” They shouted loudly, and cut themselves, until blood gushed out. They kept this up all afternoon, but nothing happened.
Finally, Elijah built an altar with twelve stones, one for each tribe of Israel. He dug a trench around the altar, and put the wood on it. He then placed the bull on top of the wood.
He said to the people, “Go get some water and pour it on the sacrifice.” Once they had done this, he told them to do it again. After they had done it a second time, he told them to do it a third time. Once they were done, the altar was totally wet, and the trench was full of water.
Elijah then walked up to the altar and prayed. “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Let everyone know that you are God, and I’m your servant. Answer me so these people will turn back to you!”
Suddenly, fire fell down from heaven and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, and the twelve stones. It even licked up the water that was in the trench. The people fell down and shouted, “The Lord, he is God! The Lord, he is God!”
Elijah ordered, “Grab the prophets of Baal! Don’t let any of them escape.” The people grabbed the prophets of Baal, and Elijah killed all of them.
He turned to Ahab and said, “Eat something. There’s a rainstorm coming.”
He then went up to the top of the mountain to pray. He said to his servant, “Look toward the sea. What do you see?”
The servant said, “I don’t see anything.”
Seven times Elijah told him to go and look. Finally, the seventh time, his servant told him, “I see a small cloud, about the size of a man’s hand, coming from the sea.”
Elijah said, “Quick, go tell Ahab, ‘Rush home as fast as you can so the rain doesn’t stop you.’” Ahab got in his chariot and rushed toward home.
In a short time, the sky grew dark and the wind started to blow. Suddenly there was a downpour of rain. The power of God came over Elijah, and he ran faster than Ahab’s chariot, and arrived in Jezreel before him.