Day 110: Between promise and assurance (1 Kings 15-18)

Posted: July 19, 2010 in Uncategorized

Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which was in ruins. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.” “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again. “Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench. At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD – he is God! The LORD – he is God!” 1 Kings 18:30-39

Faith is the step between promise and assurance. It’s a saying embedded in the notes of my Bible, and I just think it’s a great way to explain the missing link between hearing God’s promises and being sure they will be fulfilled in your life. It’s a simple little thing called faith.

Then again, sometimes, it’s not so simple, is it?

In the above passage, the prophet Elijah, the first in a string of prophets sent to declare the Word of God to an increasingly evil Israel, calls on God to deliver an object lesson, of sorts. He confronts Ahab (proclaimed in the Bible to be Israel’s most evil king), and sets up a test between his god, Baal, and the LORD of LORDS…what do you think the result was? Days go by, and Baal’s followers do everything they can, cutting themselves, chanting, you name it, and nothing happens. Then God sends a holy fire onto a setup that, scientifically, has no business burning. We are talking wet things, things that would never be able to ignite under normal circumstances.

Our God is anything but normal. Try extraordinary.

Elijah’s demonstration – or more accurately, God’s demonstration – should have shown Ahab the error of his ways, but he sees Elijah as the enemy to his kingdom. Goes to show that a sinful heart makes a man blind to the truth.

Elijah had faith that his God was going to come through, and we can have that same faith. God’s demonstration of his promise may not be a dramatic as burning a soaking wet altar filled with pieces of an idol to a crisp, but God is infinitely creative in bringing events about that fulfill His plan for you, plans for good and not disaster! Our faith, in turn gives us assurance that God is faithful!

Looking more intently at Elijah, it took a ton of courage to do what he did, confronting the king of Israel, directly opposing his worship system, and then proving them wrong? The nerve! We can all take a page out of Elijah’s book, and step up our boldness in fighting the forces of evil in this world. We may not be called to confront thousands of people and start destroying idols, but be on the lookout for opportunities to fight for Christ. They are probably closer than you think.

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