After Israel had gone more than three years without rain as a judgment for their idolatry, the prophet Elijah confronts the evil king Ahab and challenges him to a spiritual showdown
On Mt. Carmel, Elijah said to the people of Israel,
If the Lord is God, follow him;
but if Baal is God, follow him”1 Kings 18:21
Elijah then challenged the prophets of Baal to prepare a bull as an offering for their god
The God who answered with fire from the skywould be considered the true God (verses 22 25
Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling.
Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened”1 Kings 18:27
So the prophets of Baal “shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed.
Despite hours of effort, nothing happened.
The historian’s comment hints at the emptiness of Baal-worship: “There was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention” (verse 29).
Elijah then called the people to him as he repaired the altar of the Lord.
He then placed wood on the altar and laid the cut pieces of the bull on it.
The water soaked the sacrifice and the wood and filled the trench 1 Kings 18:30–35
“Lord, the 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.
Then God did what Baal could never do: the fire of the LORD fell from heaven and consumed the burnt offeringandthe wood and the stones and the dust, “and also licked up the water in the trench” (verse 38).
Following this event, the Lord finally ended the drought and sent rain upon the land 1 Kings 18:45).
He used a time of drought to get their attention and then, through His prophet, performed a dramatic miracle right before their eyes.
No one who witnessed that event doubted that the Lord was God and that Baal was a powerless wannabe.
James teaches us that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” ( James 5:16), and he uses Elijah’s prayer life as a case in point: