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2. Elijah on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18)

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Main Point: The Lord is the one true God.

Key Verse:

All of the people saw it. Then they fell down flat with their faces toward the ground. They cried out, “The Lord is the one and only God! The Lord is the one and only God!” - 1 Kings 18:39

Props: “Most Wanted” poster (included at end of lesson)


Say: Last week we talked about a prophet named Elijah (eh-LY-juh) and a king named Ahab. God’s people, the Israelites, were divided into two kingdoms at that time. Ahab was the King over part of Israel. His wife, Queen Jezebel, worshipped a false god named Baal. Ahab built a temple and altars to Baal. And worst of all, Ahab, who was an Israelite himself, chose to worship the false god of Baal! Ahab chose to turn his back on the Creator of the universe, and worshipped an imaginary creature that was made up by people. The Israelites followed their King, and worshipped Baal also. This was VERY evil in God’s sight. Following false gods is very bad for several reasons:

1) It breaks God’s first commandment, so it is sin. God said, “Do not put any other gods in place of Me.” (Exodus 20:3)

2) It does not do any good for the person. The prophet Jeremiah said, “Our fathers possessed nothing but false gods, worthless idols that did them no good.” (Jeremiah 16:19 NIV)

3) It keeps us separated from God. Without faith in God alone, we cannot be forgiven for our sins. Romans 3:22 says, “We are made right with God by putting our faith in Jesus Christ.”

4) It robs God of the worship that belongs to Him. “Let them praise the name of the Lord. His name alone is honored. His glory is higher than the earth and the heavens.” Psalm 72:18

God sent Elijah to tell King Ahab that there would not be any rain, and not even one drop of dew, until Elijah called for it. After many weeks, the plants began to wither and die. After many months, the drought dried up the streams and rivers. The lack of food and water caused animals to die, and soon people would also die. The drought lasted over three years, but God took care of Elijah’s needs every single day.

We will see that it was not God’s intention to make His people suffer. He sent the drought to get their attention. He wanted them to see that He is the only God, so they would turn away from false gods and choose to follow Him only.

Elijah & Obadiah (1 Kings 18:1-15)

The King’s wife, Jezebel, not only worshipped a false god, but she decided to kill all of the prophets of the one true God! Now there was a man named Obadiah who worked for King Ahab, running the King’s palace. Obadiah had great respect for the Lord. He wanted to help the prophets. He hid one hundred prophets in two caves, fifty in each cave. He supplied them with food and water.

It was now three years since it had rained. A message came to Elijah from the Lord. He said, “Go. Speak to Ahab. Then I will send rain on the land.” So Elijah went to speak to Ahab. - 1 Kings 18:1:2a

About that same time, King Ahab went to Obadiah and told him they must go into the land, looking for any spring of water that had not yet dried up completely. The people were beginning to starve. Ahab thought that if they found water, they might find grass to feed some of the animals. So Ahab and Obadiah set out to search the land. Ahab went in one direction, and Obadiah went in the other.

As Obadiah was walking along, Elijah met him. Obadiah recognized him. He bowed down to the ground. He said, “My master Elijah! Is it really you?”

“Yes,” he replied. “Go and tell your master Ahab, ‘Elijah is here.’ “- 1 Kings 18:7-8

Ask: Why do you think Obadiah bowed down to Elijah and called him master? Listen for answers. Say: Elijah had become sort of famous by then. For the people who loved God, he was a hero, because he spoke out against King Ahab and his false god. But for the people who followed King Ahab and worshipped Baal, Elijah was a terrible enemy.

Ahab was very angry with Elijah for declaring the drought. Ahab had sent people all over the surrounding kingdoms looking for Elijah. It was sort of like this. Teacher: Show “Wanted” poster.

In fact, Obadiah was scared that Ahab would kill him just for speaking with Elijah. Obadiah was afraid that he would tell Ahab that he found Elijah, then Elijah would leave, and Ahab would be furious. He said, “If I go and tell Ahab and he doesn’t find you, he’ll kill me.”

Elijah said, “I serve the Lord who rules over all. You can be sure that He lives. And you can be just as sure that I will speak to Ahab today.” - 1 Kings 18:15

Elijah On Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:16-46)

Obadiah went back to Ahab. He told Ahab that Elijah wanted to see him. So Ahab went to where Elijah was. When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you? You are always stirring up trouble in Israel.”

“I haven’t made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have turned away from the Lord’s commands. You have followed the gods that are named after Baal.

“Now send for people from all over Israel. Tell them to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the 450 prophets of the god Baal. Also bring the 400 prophets of the goddess Asherah. All of them eat at Jezebel’s table.” - 1 Kings 18:16-19

So Ahab instructed all 750 of his false prophets, and all the other Israelites, to come to Mount Carmel. Elijah stood up in front of everyone. He announced that it was time for the people to make a decision. He said if God was the one true God, they should follow Him. But if Baal was the one and only god, they should follow him. The people were silent.

Then Elijah said to them, “I’m the only one of the Lord’s prophets left. But Baal has 450 prophets. Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves. Let them cut it into pieces. Then let them put it on the wood. But don’t let them set fire to it. I’ll prepare the other bull. I’ll put it on the wood. But I won’t set fire to it. Then you pray to your god. And I’ll pray to the Lord. The god who answers by sending fire down is the one and only God.” - 1 Kings 18:22-24a

Elijah proposed a challenge, and everyone agreed it was a good idea. Elijah let the prophets of Baal have first pick of the bulls. They prepared the bull and placed it on an altar for Baal. They prayed to Baal, asking him to send fire down to the altar. They prayed all morning long. They prayed until noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted, but nothing happened. They even danced around the altar - but not a sound from Baal.

At noon Elijah began to tease them. “Shout louder!” he said. “I’m sure Baal is a god! Perhaps he has too much to think about. Or maybe he has gone to the toilet. Or perhaps he’s away on a trip. Maybe he’s sleeping. You might have to wake him up.” - 1 Kings 18:27

They shouted louder and louder. They continued praying and shouting with all their might until evening. But there was no reply.

So Elijah gathered the people to himself. He rebuilt the Lord’s altar that had been destroyed. He put twelve stones on the altar - one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. He placed firewood on top of the stones, and dug a ditch around the altar. He prepared the bull and placed it on top of the wood on the altar.

Then Elijah did something really amazing! He told some people to fill four large jars with water, and pour them out on the altar! Perhaps the people used the last drops of water they had to pour on the sacrifice, or maybe it was salt water carried up from the Mediterranean Sea below. They soaked the bull, the wood and the stones with water. Then he told them to do it again. Then Elijah had them do it a third time. The altar was drenched with water!

Ask: Why do you think Elijah would do this? Listen for answers. Say: Elijah wanted to prove - beyond a doubt - that God was powerful. By pouring water on the altar, he showed that he was not cheating in any way. He wanted to take away every excuse the people might come up to explain how the Lord’s altar would catch on fire.

When it was time to offer the evening sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward. He prayed, “Lord, You are the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel. Today let everyone know that You are God in Israel. Let them know I’m Your servant. Let them know I’ve done all of these things because You commanded me to. Answer me. Lord, answer me. Then these people will know that You are the one and only God. They’ll know that You are turning their hearts back to You again.” - 1 Kings 18:36-37

Ask: What do you think happened next? God sent fire! Say: The fire of the Lord God Almighty came down! It not only burned up the sacrifice. It burned up the wood, and the stones, and the soil! And guess what? It even licked up the water in the ditch! Now everyone knows that ordinary fire doesn’t burn up dirt or rocks. And it certainly can’t burn up water! But that is exactly what happened. Elijah prayed for God to show Himself, and He sure did!

All of the people were stunned. They fell with their faces to the ground, and the yelled out, “The LORD is the one and only God!”

Elijah ordered the people to grab the false prophets of Baal, and they were put to death. God is VERY serious about false prophets, because false prophets lead people away from God. He had commanded long ago that false prophets must be killed.

Then Elijah told Ahab to go eat and drink, because rain was on its way. Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel. He bent down low and prayed to the Lord. He sent his servant to look out over the sea. His servant returned saying, “I don’t see anything.” Elijah sent him back six more times. Finally, the servant returned and reported to Elijah that he could see a tiny cloud the size of a man’s hand. Elijah knew what this meant. He sent word to Ahab that the rain was coming.

Black clouds filled the sky. The wind came up and heavy rains began to fall. - 1 Kings 18:45a

Ask: How do you think the people felt to feel the rain falling after three years of dry, dusty, drought? Happy, relieved, refreshed. Say: I can just imagine the people standing out in the rain. Maybe they even danced for joy as the rain fell down and soaked into the thirsty ground! Ask: And whom do you think they praised for the rain now? The one true God of Israel!

Say: Certainly, it was difficult for them to go through the time of drought, but it was FAR better for them to have faced the hard time and come out knowing God in the end. If God had not come to them and brought the drought, they would not have returned to Him. They would have remained in their sin, separated from the Lord.

Application: First of all, it is MOST important for you to know that there is ONE God. He is the Creator. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Bible says that everything that was created was made so that we would look at it and know that the Creator is amazingly powerful, creative, and good (Romans 1:20). There is no other God besides Him.

Nowadays, most of us don’t make up a god, call it a god, and worship it. But we have other ways of putting something in the place of God. We are called to place God above everything else in our life. We should trust Him, and love Him with all our heart. If this does not describe you, then you have put something else is in God’s place. For example, some of us care more about what our friends think than what God thinks. And, some of us care more about our sport or hobby than spending time with God. As I mentioned at the beginning of our time together, it is not only sin to worship what is not God, it is foolish. And it robs God of the worship that only He deserves. Think about what is the absolute most important thing to you. If it is not God, ask Him to change your heart (Psalm 51:10). Turn away from the thing that distracts you and turn back to the Lord.

Secondly, let’s look at the example of Elijah. He did not fear men. Instead, he loved and trusted God. He stood in front of an entire nation of people and proclaimed that God was the only God. He abided with God. He heard God’s voice. He obeyed God’s commands. He trusted that God would do exactly what He promised to do. (And God certainly kept His promises!) Can you just imagine being Elijah when God’s fire burst from the sky? You can have faith just like Elijah! Abide with God; remain with Him. Listen for His voice and obey His commands. Your faith will grow as you spend time with the one true God.


Key Verse:

All of the people saw it. Then they fell down flat with their faces toward the ground. They cried out, “The Lord is the one and only God! The Lord is the one and only God!” - 1 Kings 17:16


Main Point: The Lord is the one true God

© 2007  All rights reserved worldwide. May be reproduced for personal, nonprofit, and non-commercial uses only. 

Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society  /  Used by permission of IBS-STL.  All rights reserved worldwide.

Special thanks to John R. Cross, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, GoodSeed International.

Related Topics: Prayer, Miracles

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