If you mock them they just double down. So Elijah's pitiless irony is refreshing to see this. He knew there was no such God as Baal and that he wasn't going to answer the phone. At this point, Satan would love to have come to the rescue to jump in and help his buddies here. To set that altar on fire. But he's too weak.
He can't do it. Today, Pastor Rick will continue his message called Elijah on Mount Carmel in 1 Kings chapter 18. 1 Kings 18 verse 1, And it came to pass after many days that the word of Yahweh came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth. Bookmark that, because that is a big part of the story when Elijah begins to call for the rain. Verse 25, Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, Choose one bowl for yourselves and prepare it. First, for you are many, and call on the name of your God, but put no fire under it. Don't let me see you boys with matches.
This is a duel. So his confidence is born of faith, but it's miraculous at the same time. From the beginning, from the time that the word of the Lord came to him and told him to do this. Now, to prepare these bowls, of course, is time consuming. A lot of labor. To construct the earthen or stone altars up there on the mountain. In Elijah's case, he's going to reconstruct an altar. How did they get the bowls up there?
Well, very slowly, but they got them up there. The slaughter, the preparation of the bowls, the haul, the wood, and the water that's necessary. And not only was the water necessary for what Elijah's going to do, but they would want to rinse their hands. Even the pagans would, to some point, want to rinse off. Anyway, the false prophets, here they are, replete with emotion, passion, devotion, intense emotional devotion for their God. And yet, when they fail, they will not convert. When God answers by fire, they will not agree that he is God. And so, they will suffer the consequence. The fire of truth. It is our truth to the world. It is that fire that we bring to convict and to draw.
Still, how few get converted compared to how many reject it. It brought us away wide as the gate and there are many that go in by it. Verse 26, so they took the bowl which was given them and they prepared it and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon saying, oh Baal hear us. But there was no voice, no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made. Elijah, again, he came ready. They did not know this was going to be a duel like this until he gets up there, but that doesn't matter. So, they took the bowl and they slaughtered it and called on the name of Baal from morning to evening.
Useless, but energetic. A lot of activity going on there. Boy, you could just see them today. They would be there with their cameras filming this and uploading it to the internet and you could just see their devotion, their passion and people would be putting in the comments.
I just love their passion and their commitment. It's to thin air. It's to vapor. There's nothing there. Saying Baal, oh hear us. Well, they pray too.
That's all that you have there. You have pagans praying. But there was no voice, no one answered because there was no such God.
Then they leaped about the altar which they had made. So, they intensified their petition to God. Showing off how devoted they are, he's got to answer. He's got to appreciate that. God has got to be impressed by our passion. Well, Elijah wasn't impressed.
He's over on the side snacking on locusts, watching them. It likely refers to ritual dances leaping about and the truth that comes out of this is sincerity is no proof of truth. Just because someone is devoted doesn't mean they're devoted to the truth. These people again, they're devoted to a God that doesn't exist but is concocted in hell and imparted to them and they willingly receive it and like it and that's where they are. Verse 27, so it was at noon that Elijah mocked them and said cry aloud for he is a God.
Either he is meditating or he is busy or on a journey or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened. This is three hours later. We're not told exactly what time they got there but we know it's the morning and the reason why I went into the time to get the bulls up to construct becomes trying to say hey these guys probably got there like nine o'clock in the morning at the least. And so three hours later here we are at noon time and Elijah's like you know what I'm gonna have a little fun with this as he's picking out the locust legs from his teeth. So he mocked them. He mocked their hysteria. We mocked the hysteria as we look around at this pagan heathen sick culture. We mocked them hoping that they're gonna say you know you do have a point but unfortunately they just double down and that's what these guys are gonna do as he mocks them.
He's gonna ramp it up. He said cry aloud for he is a God louder. You don't want your God to miss what you're saying. After all he's far away. They had already been yelling at the top of their lungs from the morning.
They're gonna be hoarse by the time this is all over. Elijah did not care because he knew again he did not care. He's mocking them. He knew these were evil people and I'll bring some of that out in a little bit. Who massacred the prophets in verse four? There we read for so it was while Jezebel massacred the prophets of Yahweh that Obadiah had taken 100 prophets and hidden them 50 to a cave and fed them with bread and water. Who did the killing? It wasn't Jezebel. She's up in the palace painting her face. Was it her prophets?
Probably was. So again Elijah knows who these boys are and he says either he's meditating after all Baal was supposed to be a deep thinker or he's busy. Now that's a euphemism for he's in the outhouse. Because those who form their own gods make those gods like them. They give them human characteristics like the mythological Greek gods and they just put them on steroids. They just give them some superpowers but they're still vain and spiteful and you know all of the sinful characteristics.
They just can't get away. They cannot imagine even gods without sin because their gods are impure and not holy. Holiness means pure. Their gods are not any such thing and this is why there were so many people receptive of the Apostles when they went into the pagan world with Paul and Barnabas and Paul and Silas.
Because many of those people had just fed up with the fake gods and this was truth that they were receiving and they gobbled it up. And then of course Satan has to respond to that and mix into the church the trouble. It says here, or he is on a journey. His lights are on but no one's home.
You're calling him because you think he's there and maybe he's gone fishing or something. We would think that this sarcasm would be an effective weapon against or to expose ridiculous ideas. But the hold, the combination, the hold of Satan and the determination of sinners to be without truth is stronger.
To say you know I don't like the truth. This is better and if it's not true it should be true. And we see people like this today. All the liberals are like this. It doesn't matter that it's not true. It should be true.
And they do that with their enemies. Yeah I know you're not guilty but you should be guilty because you don't agree with me. So we're going to treat you as guilty and you're going to be guilty and you can't be proven innocent. Even if you come on our side.
This was Thomas Cranmer who was burned at the stake by Bloody Mary. You know he said okay I'm changing teams. I recant what I'm saying.
I agree with the Catholic Church. And they let him go for a while and said you know what we don't believe you. And they burned him at the stake. And then he again said yeah well going out as he was burning it is said. And he puts the hand up that he signed his recant with and is to say yeah well I don't believe you anyway. I stick by what I said.
You're liars and kind of a last shot. Anyway this human behavior. Sarcasm can infuriate the guilty. I mean look at the people. Some of you remember a few years back someone saw the face of Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich.
And some of you might remember that. I mean this is insanity. Human beings aren't born this stupid. Something has to enter their heart and their head to get them to be this bad. That thing sold on eBay for thousands of dollars. Somebody else bought it.
Yeah I can see it. It's like what is wrong with human beings? Sin. Original sin.
That creates the practice of sin. He says here or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened. As I'm saying this there are those that would be offended. If they heard they would want to kill me for saying such things. If you went down to I don't know some city in Pakistan and stood up and said show me some proof that Muhammad was not a liar. They'd kill you.
There would be. It's not a debate. You take it or else we kill you. And pointless. Such an easy art. You're shooting ducks in a bathtub.
Some of these positions that are out there. But it doesn't matter. They won't convert as we're seeing here. They're going to lose the contest. And it made total sense to say to Elijah we have been wrong. We have followed the wrong guy.
So people will do that. But the prophets of Baal will not. Ahab will not.
And his court will not. Or perhaps he's sleeping and must be awakened. Well make believe gods are in the image of falling man.
Psalm 115 verses 4 through 8 just tell it just like that. Those who make them are like them. And he might be asleep and he needs to be woke. This is the stupidest.
I mean as someone narrates this is pointless. If you mock them they just double down. So Elijah's pitiless irony is refreshing to see this. He knew there was no such god as Baal. And that he wasn't going to answer the phone. At this point Satan would love to have come to the rescue. To jump in and help his buddies here. To set that altar on fire. But he's too weak. He can't do it.
Elijah turned the laugh of contempt upon Jezebel's popular futile false faith in front of everyone. And we can do the same by just preaching the gospel. Oh by the way I found the missing link on eBay. And I mean it's still looking for it after all these years. Wait till they get finished with us with the UFOs. I don't dispute that there are objects out there that I can't identify. I see them when I go to Walmart.
Okay I don't go to Walmart but I drive by. Anyway verse 28. So they cried aloud and cut themselves as was their custom with knives and lances until the blood gushed out on them. I mean you know it's the devil when he starts getting people to hurt themselves in the act of worship.
This desperation of the spiritually demented. In Deuteronomy 14 1 God said to his people you are the children of Yahweh your God you shall not cut yourselves. Does a Christian need to be told this? Does a Christian need to be taken to the Bible and said don't do that? Although they're going to argue and say oh that's the Old Testament.
When God reveals his position on something unless he makes an adjustment to it in the New Testament it stands. You're not to cut yourselves. The pagan priest they use all their daylight up in desperate hope and for nothing. So just to review from morning until noon they prepared their bull they prayed for fire from their God.
Still no answer by noon. Eliza begins to mock them and ridicule them at noon. This excited them even more so they start cutting themselves. And they continued until the evening sacrifice about 3 p.m.
They were dancing up and down they were hoarse from screaming out from chanting. Cutting themselves with knives mingling their own blood with the sacrifice. Praying and behaving as religious fanatics frantically hoping that their make-believe world would come true for nothing.
Big lesson. This is a lesson you'd like to preach to an unbeliever. But you know you could only be successful if God was working in the heart of that believer already.
Because you could not walk away and say there I converted him. Verse 29 and when midday was passed they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice no one answered no one paid attention. And so there's a time stamp for us. The morning sacrifice was in verse 26 and again here we are three hours later around 3 p.m. But there was no voice and one answer. Thrice repeated no voice no answer no one paid attention. Whoever finally compiled this was enjoying this. You can tell their day is going to get worse though.
This is just the beginning of troubles for them. Verse 30 then Elijah said to all the people come near to me so all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of Yahweh that was broken down. So that was an altar to Yahweh.
That's what it says. This happens before the building of the temple. This probably goes back to the days of the judges. At least in the days of David before he became king. Not that David did this to the people. The indigenous Israelites they were able to worship in high places before the temple like this. Exodus 32 verse 26 Moses stood in the entrance of the camp and said whoever is on Yahweh's side come to me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. And that's Israel was originally supposed to be a nation of priests. But because of this episode of the golden calf the Levites got that position.
The people forfeited it. It's when Moses said who's standing with me to judge this idolatry and they sided with him. Well Elijah says here then Elijah said to the people come near to me so all the people came near to him.
And so we're going to see what's going to happen. And they repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. Still they're not believers but they know Baal's not getting anywhere. Unfortunately there are churches that could use the repair like this. By neglecting Christ and the word of God the places of sacrifices are broken down.
They're in ruin. Now when I said that this is likely one of the high places that were allowed in the days prior to Jerusalem being established. That is built on 1 Kings 19 10.
So it's not just a fit it is that it is a logical fit but it is based on scripture also and that's where the strength of it is. 1 Kings 19 10. So he said I have been very zealous. This is when he's explaining to God why he is the great prophet. I have been very zealous for Yahweh God of hosts for the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant torn down your altars and killed your prophets with the sword I alone am left and they seek to take my life. And then God you'll be without the great prophet. Don't get me wrong I love this prophet.
He is just amazing. And I also enjoy that God has said let me show you some things about Elijah so that you won't feel so bad about yourself. And so then I can say well God can I still feel bad about others? So anyway these altars they were torn down and that is a significant part of the story. Because it means that there were those who were trying to reshape and reform their own nation. There were Jews Israelites that did not want to worship Yahweh. So they tore these altars down so they could worship their pagan gods. And we're seeing that this as a country we're seeing people trying to get rid of the Constitution trying to get rid of American history changes.
The Cleveland Indians baseball team they're now known as the Guardians. Are you kidding me? If I was a guardian I'd be offended.
Because you can't win if somebody's going to get offended no matter what you do. But the point is you have people trying to revise, reshape, reform, redo. And that was happening there also so it certainly is not new. Verse 31 and Elijah took 12 stones according to the number of tribes one of the sons of Jacob. To whom the word of Yahweh had come saying Israel shall be your name. Now the significance is profound here. The 12 stones the Jews certainly knew what was going on. The historian who documents this certainly knows what's happening. God's original design and desire was for Israel to be united before him.
But everything is all messed up now. And that's what the prophet is pointing out verse 32. Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of Yahweh. And he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two sets of seed.
It's about over four gallons. And he put the wood in order. Cut the bull in pieces. Laid it on the wood and said fill four water pots with water. And pour it out on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood. You know if you go up on Mount Carmel there are a lot of stones up there. Large sizable stones that you can lift and you can build an altar. I remember sitting up on Mount Carmel on stones.
And I'm praying to the Lord telling him how I'm the only really smart pastor on the mountain right now. And then I got a thought in my head. You know snakes like rocks. So I went to the tour guide. Hey you got poisonous snakes here.
We got a lot of them. Would have been good to tell me that for sitting over there in the bushes by him. Anyway that's truly happened. I didn't want to sit over there anymore. Because it was warm enough and they come out.
Hey how you doing? They disappear. They've got this cloaking device.
Anyhow I have a quote from Tozier at this point. Because here we are he arranges the altar. Just the way it's supposed to be. And of course he floods it with water.
He's going to. He's given the command. And they've got to haul this water up so the clock's ticking right. Sundown's coming. Tozier said, Theological facts are like the altar of Elijah on Carmel before the fire. Before the fire came.
Correct, properly laid out but all together cold. That has sat with me for over 30 years. Because I think about you know it has to have the fire of God.
It cannot just be I've got all these facts. What does it mean to you? Just the last four Sundays I've been going home with one of the songs stuck in my head. Just singing it in my head all week.
This Sunday with source of God and it has been loving it. You can't do that if you only have theological facts. All you can do with theological facts is debate. But when you have that fire that passion.
Everything changes. So yeah Tozier made a good point. And that's right if no fire came down on this altar it would have just been a proper altar. But meaningless as those of the prophets of Baal.
Verse 34. Then he said do it a second time and they did it a second time. And he said do it a third time. And they said you know you're getting carried away.
No they didn't. Do it a third time and they did it a third time. Now you've got to love that the prophet speaks to people do something. Tells the king meet me up there on the mountain with your prophets.
And it happens. He tells the people bring two bulls and then you know build this altar. Come to me. Build the altar. Bring up some water. Do it three times. Thoroughly soaking this altar.
Making them dependent on God. So that no one can say you snuck a match into the pile. This is no match going to light this.
This would be difficult for them to accuse Elijah of trickery. Verse 36 and it came to pass at that time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. There's another time stamp for us.
It's about 3 p.m. now. That Elijah the prophet came here and said Yahweh God of Abraham Isaac and all Israel. Let it be known this day that you are God in Israel and I am your servant. And that I have done all these things at your word.
This is huge. Faith is the substance of things to hope for. The evidence of things not seen by it. The elders obtained a good testimony and that's what we're looking at. Here's a man who said I believe God's going to make it rain. I believe he's going to send fire on the altar.
How do you get this kind of stuff? I've been trying to get it like this you know. Just you know a simple prayer like God can there be no other cars on the road when I'm driving.
And it's just not happening. Anyhow this is impressive when he says I am your servant. And that I have done all these things by your word. Now man can be right with that and he is right. And again with him it's got that asterisk on it.
Yeah but I'm the only one at Tigger Complex. Well remember what he is saying here when we get to verse 43. I reminded you about verse 30 when we got to that point that was made. Now this second point is that he is doing this at God's word. This is not that Elijah has said okay the drought I think it should end now.
People are having a hard time. That is not what has happened. What is happening is he's doing what God has told him. And that is a big part we'll come back to that verse 37 now. Hear me oh Yahweh hear me that this people may know that you are Yahweh God.
And that you have turned their hearts back to you again. Another big verse. So the whole Elijah is trying to win souls win apostates back to God.
Jeremiah says God speaking through him if you return oh Israel says Yahweh return to me. And if you will put away your abominations out of my sight then you shall not be moved. And this is the heart of God the mercy of the Lord. He could have said you know what after all I've done for these people this is what I get in return.
I'm just going to let them die out and the next generation I'll invest myself in them. But that's not what God does. You cannot say that God loves the youngest child in the church any more than the oldest servant in the church. His love does not fade. He doesn't look at us and say you know you're not as cute as you used to be.
It was so much easier to love you when you were just a little thing. But now no that is not what God says. Isaiah talks about that says God will be with me even through my old age. Thanks for joining us for today's teaching on Cross Reference Radio. This is the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia.
We trust that what you've heard today in the book of 1 Kings has had a lasting imprint on your life. If you'd like to listen to more teachings from this series or share it with someone you know please visit CrossReferenceRadio.com. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast too so you'll never miss another edition. Just visit CrossReferenceRadio.com and follow the links under radio. Again that's CrossReferenceRadio.com. Our time with you today is about up but we hope you'll tune in next time to continue studying the word of God. Join us again as Pastor Rick covers more in the book of 1 Kings on Cross Reference Radio.
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