Holy Fire and Divided Devotion

God Answers by Fire  - 1 Kings 18:38
"For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God."  - Deuteronomy 4:24

Israel had gone astray, they had lost sight of the LORD, now under the influence of the wicked king Ahab and his wife Jezebel, they gave worship to both the LORD and the Canaanite god Baal.   Israel was a mess, but being the Jealous God that He is, the LORD chose to demonstrate His power and show them that He alone is God.  The LORD sent the Prophet Elijah to Ahab, with a message and a challenge for the people of Israel – Chose now who you are going to serve.  Elijah's message was this, If the LORD be God, then follow Him, and if Baal be god the follow him, but do not try to serve both. (1 Kings 18:21.)

"And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken." - 1 Kings 18:24

Elijah's challenge would demonstrate which of the two was the true God.  The 450 prophets of Baal were to prepare a bull as a burnt offering to their god and put it on a pile of wood, but they were instructed not to light the fire.  Elijah, the last surviving prophet of the LORD, was to do the same, build an altar, prepare a bull, place it on wood, but not light it.  Whichever God  consumed the offering with fire would be deemed the true God. Israel watched as the prophets of Baal cried from morning until evening for their god to consume their offering.  The prophets hoped and prayed for the pile of wood to catch fire, a spark, a flame, even a little smoke... but nothing happened.  There was no voice, no answer, no fire from Baal.

Then Elijah gathered all the people around as he repaired the altar of the LORD, which had been destroyed, and he prepared a bull as an offering for the LORD.  He made a deep trench around the altar, and ordered that eight barrels of water be poured out on the sacrifice, so much water that it soaked the wood, and filled the trench.  The people watching must have thought that this water soaked offering could never catch fire.  Then Elijah called out to the LORD...  read 1 Kings 18:36-38

Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench." - 1 Kings 18:38 

The night air was silent but only momentarily before the sky lit up and fire rained down from heaven.  A fire so intense, so mighty, so very powerful, that it consumed the offering, the water soaked wood, the altar itself, and even the water that ran into the trench.  The LORD did indeed answer by fire – and the answer was, “I AM God, Baal is not!”

Israel saw their God answer.  They proclaimed, “The LORD, he is God!” as they fell on their faces to worship Him.

Questions for Reflection:
1. Has the Lord ever presented Himself to you in such a way that there was no doubt in your mind it was Him?  What was your response?

2. What are some things in today's life that tend to steal our focus from the Lord?

3. What are the dangers of having divided devotion?  Read James 1:5-8 and Revelation 3:15-16.

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