In every season of our lives, we look forward to events. Concerts, tournaments, games, parties, weddings, births, you name it –– it often seems like we spend our lives moving from one season of anticipation to the next. Most events have the potential to become defining points in our lives. Anytime something out of the ordinary happens, we have opportunities to choose, sometimes in insignificant ways and sometimes between right and wrong. For the prophet Elijah, big events in his life were a platform for God to show up big time…and they are for us too!
1. You have to choose.
1 Kings 18:20-24
- The children of Israel were wavering over an internal conflict: whether Baal or the Lord was the true God. They had all the information they needed to make their decision. They had all heard the stories of God’s faithfulness to Israel in the past.
- As Bob Dylan said, “Everybody’s gotta serve somebody.” Jesus said the same thing in Matthew 26:24. Israel knew that this was true. It wasn’t a question of “if” they were going to serve, but “who” they were going to serve. Our culture faces the same question.
- We can’t spend our life sitting on the fence. Fences aren’t resting places –– they are dividing points. Eventually, we must choose one side or the other. That’s the proposition that Elijah made to Israel on Mount Carmel.
What is one thing that regularly competes for your love for Jesus? Is there anything in your life right now that is causing you to sit on the fence, either in your trust in God or your obedience to something he has asked you to do? In the “main event” of your life, what is the choice you are facing?
2. Make the necessary preparations.
1 Kings 18:25-40
- Often, we say we want God to do amazing things in our day, but we don’t want to do anything. We don’t want to prepare our hearts or take a stand like Elijah did. It takes faith to pray for the work of God, but it takes courage to participate in it.
- In this story, Elijah is a majority of one. He did everything by himself, unlike the hundreds of priests of Baal. He didn’t have a crowd to fall back on, or people who understood his perspective. Yet, he chose to do what God called him to do.
- Our lives are witnesses to others. As we pray and trust God we convey something of who he is and what it means to follow him. When we have the courage to follow God, it inspires courage in those around us.
With the knobs on your side of the wall, what is God asking you to do so that he might do a miraculous work in your life? What spiritual disciplines do you need to implement in your life to prepare your heart for God to work in and through you?
3. God fulfills His promises.
1 Kings 18:41-46
- Elijah heard the sound of rain when there was still not a cloud in the sky. Before there is any evidence of rain, he told Ahab that it was on its way. Faith sees what is going to happen as if it’s already happened.
- We need to persevere in prayer; we see this theme again in the life of Elijah. We saw it in the story of the Widow of Zarephath, and we see it again here. Seven times, he told his servant to search the horizon for God’s answer, and finally he saw it.
- James 5:17-18 holds up Elijah’s faith in prayer as our example. He was a human, with a human nature just like ours, but his prayers changed the course of his nation.
- Prayer is not just asking for what we want but agreeing with God in seeing his promises come to pass in the earth.
What is your prayer life like currently? Do you pray earnestly? How do you need to agree with God in the work he wants to do in the world? What do you need to pray earnestly about right now?
Optional Follow-up Questions:
- What makes you say that?
- How do you feel about that?
- How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor?
- Why did God design it to work that way? Why not just do (whatever else) instead?
- What would you say to someone who disagrees with that?
- Why do we really have to do it like that? Why can’t we just go (some other route) instead?