01 September 2009

Elijah and the economy

It's a story from I Kings 18--Elijah calls out 450 prophets of Baal for a rumble of epic proportions. The situation is this: the Israelites couldn't make up their minds between God and Baal, so Elijah endeavored to help them by setting up this showdown. The stakes were high: it would determine who Israel would follow. They both put out offerings and asked their god to light the fire--literally. The prophets of Baal had a bit of trouble with this--such that Elijah started to taunt them when they'd been at it for several hours, suggesting that perhaps Baal was asleep or away on business and couldn't hear them. (As a side note, that seems pretty gutsy to me, but maybe he just had more faith than I do.) After all day, the prophets of Baal couldn't conjure up so much as a spark from heaven, let alone enough fire to light the sacrifice.

When it was Elijah's turn, here's what he did:

1 Kings 18:32-39
"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. 33 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."

34 "Do it again," he said, and they did it again.

"Do it a third time," he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.

36 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. 37 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."

38 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.

39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD-he is God! The LORD-he is God!"

In many ways, this feels like our situation at the moment. Many people ask us how the economy is affecting our fund raising. But the truth is that it's just the water on the sacrifice. It's irrelevant to God, and yet it makes His feats even more amazing. And even when we feel more like the prophets of Baal than of God, we hope it all goes to show that the LORD is God not only in Israel, but over the whole earth, whether the economy is in the toilet or not. Please pray that we'd have the faith of Elijah, to stand still and simply do what God's asked us to.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I love that story, although, like you, I always think Elijah was going a little bit over the line in pouring water on the wood. Perhaps, we both need to pray for more faith! We are praying for you two and for God to be faithful in your fund-raising. May He bless you beyond measure.