The stage is set in Samaria. They are having a drought. Times are getting very desperate but God doesn’t stay hidden, he sends his servant Elijah to go talk to King Ahab who would then call upon Obadiah to help out.
We learn that Obadiah feared the Lord greatly and was well known for having saved a hundred prophets from Jezebel’s wrath. So he was a very good man who loved the Lord.
Ahab told Obadiah to go look for water. The animals were dying and they needed to find grass for them to eat.
To show how God makes things happen, Ahab went one way and Obadiah another. On the way to find grass, Obadiah bumped into Elijah. Obadiah knew him and fell on his face when he saw him. He was scared that Elijah was there perhaps tell of some wrong doing to his king Ahab and have him killed. Of course he wasn’t there to get him in trouble. What are the odds of Elijah meeting up with Obadiah. He could have met up with Ahab just as likely. It was a 50/50 chance encounter, or was it?
Elijah had been keeping out of sight because of Jezebel and her decree to have the prophets of God killed. You can understand why this servant Obadiah was worried. Elijah wanted him to go tell Ahab that he was there. Obadiah was worried that the King would come to see him and find Elijah gone again. He was afraid he would be killed by the King for “lying” to him. Elijah having been sent by God, told Obadiah, that he promised to stay there and show himself to the King.
Ahab and Elijah meet and Elijah sees for himself that the people had been worshiping a false god, Baal. This is where the story comes alive for me. Elijah decides to show the people there, that God is Lord and that their false god was not real and had no power.
1Kings 18:21 says, “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.”
Elijah had the people bring two bullocks and wood enough for two alters, but bring no fire. So the people brought the bullock, and built an alter, and put the animal on it, but did not set it on fire. Elijah then told them to call on the name of their god, and he said he would call on the name of his God, and the one that answered by fire would be deemed the one true God, to be worshiped.
The people then prayed and prayed to their god. From morning until noon they prayed. They prayed saying, “O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the alter which was made. And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peravednture he sleepeth and must be awaked. And they cried aloud and cut themselves after manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice nor any to answer nor any that regarded.” 1Kings 18:26b-29.
Then Elijah told the people to come near to where he was and he repaired the alter. He then took twelve stones to represent the twelve tribes of Israel, and he built the alter with them. Then he made a large trench around the alter. He put the wood in order, and put the bullock in pieces, and laid it on the alter too.
Then he told the people to fill 4 barrels full of water and pour it on the alter. The alter was soaked as well as the trench filled up.
“And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art the God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at they word. Hear me , O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou has turned their heart back again.
Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifices, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God.” 1Kings18:36-39.
Elijah then told them to get rid of the prophets of Baal. They were to be killed.
After all this. God let it rain again on the land. How that happened was a wonder in itself.
Elijah had gone to the top of a mountain, sat on the ground placing his head between his knees ( I assume to pray). He told his servant to go look and see if there were any clouds. There was nothing until the 7th time he looked. Then the servant came back and said, there is a small cloud about the size of a mans hand. It grew to cover the land and turn black. It rained, and the drought was ended.
When a nation turns against God, He responds often with drought. When these people turned back to God, he lifted the drought. Keep in mind, it wasn’t only lip service, but a true change. They got rid of the false gods and false teachers, and turned to God.
This is truly the power of my God! It’s my favorite example of His power of all time!
Quotes from The Holy Bible, KJV