Fire on the Mountain
1 Kings 18:1-39; Prophets and Kings, pp. 137-154
God listens and answers when I pray.
“The Lord hears when I call to him” (Psalm 4:3).
Jack and Mary were spending a week at camp. They missed home so much. If only they could speak to Mom and Dad, they were sure they would feel better. They called home from the camp office. When Mom answered the phone, they were very happy.
And that’s how Elijah felt when God heard his prayer.
Obadiah ran down the path. His robe flapped behind him. “Elijah is here!” he shouted to King Ahab.
King Ahab’s face turned red with anger. Elijah was just the man he was looking for! It hadn’t rained in Israel for three years. There was almost no food to eat. And it was Elijah’s fault. The king hurried to meet Elijah. “There you are—Israel’s troublemaker!” he shouted. Elijah stood tall and unafraid. “I have not made trouble for Israel,” he replied. “You are the troublemaker. You and your family worship Baal’s idols instead of the Lord.
“Bring all the people of Israel and all the prophets of Baal to Mount Carmel,” Elijah went on. “There we will see which is the true God—Baal or the Lord.”
So King Ahab called all the people and all the prophets of Baal to Mount Carmel.
Elijah stood before them. “The prophets of Baal will sacrifice a bull,” he said. “They will put it on top of the wood on their altar but not set fire to it. I will sacrifice a bull, too, and put it on top of the wood on my altar. I will not set fire to it either. Baal’s prophets will call on the name of their god. I will call on the name of the Lord. The one who answers by setting the wood on fire is the true God.”
All the people agreed that this was a fair test. Elijah looked at the 450 prophets. “You may go first,” he said.
The prophets sacrificed their bull and laid it on their altar. Then they began to pray. They called and shouted to Baal all morning, but there was no answer. They began to dance wildly. They even cut themselves with knives to get Baal’s attention. But still there was no answer.
In the evening Elijah said, “Now it’s my turn.” First he repaired the altar and dug a ditch around it. Then he sacrificed his bull and laid it on top of the wood. “Fill four large jars with water and pour them over the offering and the wood,” he directed.
People rushed to do as he asked.
“Do the same thing again,” Elijah said.
More water was poured over the altar.
“Do it a third time!” Elijah ordered.
This time water ran all over the altar and overflowed the ditch.
Then Elijah bowed his head and prayed. “O Lord, prove today that You are the God of Israel!”
Instantly fire flashed down from heaven. It burned up the bull. It burned up the wood. It even burned up the stones of the altar and the water in the ditch!
The people of Israel fell down on their faces and shouted, “The Lord is God! The Lord is God!”