This week's Haftorah reading is from I Kings 18:46-19:21. Join Dr. Jeffery Myers as he unravels the showdown between the prophets of Baal and Elijah. The odds are not only 450:1, but dry wood versus soaked wood; dry bull versus soaked bull; no trench of water versus full trench of water. ELOHIM loves to be at a disadvantage just before He wins!
Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Haftorah Portion:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Haftorah Portion – I Kings 18:46-19:21
What is Elohim trying to show us in this haftorah portion? What can we learn from the battle between Elijah and the prophets of Baal? How does the Brit Chadasha reach back and connect with this story and how does it reach forward and connect with our lives? Let’s look: It’s been about 100 years since King David ruled a united Israel; kingdom is divided between the northern and southern kingdom; Ahab is king and has forsaken Elohim, the One True Yah and he worships Baal. We all know his famous wife, Jezebel. Elijah is Elohim’s leading prophet of that day. Famine has hit the land for 3 years, and, as far as Ahab is concerned, Elijah is to blame! The reason is because prior to I Kings 18—Elijah prophesied that “there would be neither dew nor rain, except by his word” (I Kings 17:10).
Things now have changed and Adonai tells Elijah to go and show himself to Ahab, and Adonai would send rain. But don’t forget if Elohim ordains the end, He ordains the means to get there. So let the showdown begin in order for the rain to show up. When we look at the narrative and the actual confrontation it starts in I Kings 18:16-18. “Ahab went to meet Elijah. When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him. ‘Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” And he answered, ‘I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of Adonai and followed the Baals.” Trouble…you haven’t seen trouble yet! I’m not your problem. Yah Almighty, whose word you scorn, whose worth you trash with your Baal worship, He’s your problem! Elijah is just a voice!
We have read about the showdown: Gather all Israel at Mount Carmel; call the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table. When everyone arrived Elijah’s voice was heard, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If Adonai is Yah, follow Him, but if Baal, then follow him. And the people did not answer him a word.” Elijah is telling them to STOP being indecisive! They cannot live their lives halfway between Yah and idols. It is sad when people just can’t become radically devoted to Yah and yet can’t give Him up either.
The word “limp” or “hobble” is also used in verse 21. This word occurs again when the prophets of Baal try to get their god to answer them…” They limped around the altar that they had made.” Is this word an accident or intentional? If you try to get your life---your meaning, your worth, your fire—from anything but the True Yah, you will be lame all your life. No matter what the world calls it—Yah calls it a limp! They limped around the altar but to no avail…their deaf god didn’t answer. In I Kings 18:27-28, Elijah begins to mock them and they began to cut themselves with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. The only thing they accomplished was self-mutilation and self-destruction!
I Kings 18:30-32, Elijah calls the people near, repaired the torn down altar of Yah, and set up took 12 stones (representing the tribes and people). This matters because look and see what happens to these stones—they represent Israel! In verses 32-35 he made a trench around the altar, placed the wood, cut the sacrifice into pieces and laid it on the wood. He had them fill 4 jars with water and poured it on the burnt offering and on the wood. He repeated this 3 times until the water ran around the altar and filled the trench.
So, the odds are not only 450:1 but dry wood versus soaked wood; dry bull versus soaked bull; no trench of water versus full trench of water. Elohim loves to be at a disadvantage just before He wins! Think of Joseph, Gideon, Daniel and Yeshua on that tree.
I Kings 18:36-37 Elijah proclaims, “Answer me, O Adonai, answer me, that this people may know that You, O Adonai, are Yah, and that you have turned their hearts back.” In verse 38, fire of Adonai fell and consumed everything---wood, stones and dust as the fire licked up the water. EVERYTHING! The bull. The wood. The water. The stones—even the stones—Israel! Consumed! So that all that was left was Yah! Over there the altar of Baal, the bull, the limping, bleeding prophets—religion can go on. Just no Yah! Men, stop playing with Elohim. He can take you out in one flesh and do you no wrong. I Kings 18:39 when they saw this wonder—they fell on their faces and said, “Adonai, He is Yah; Adonai, He is Yah.” And He is still the same today and forever!
He is the same! But not all of His ways are the same. But, the seriousness of sin is still the same. We know the end of this story—He prays for rain…and in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind and there was a great rain. Ahab rode and went to Jezebel. The hand of Adonai was on Elijah and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel. He ran before the rain. He didn’t limp or hobble around. He ran!
What is Adonai teaching us? Many things He has revealed but one of the greatest lessons we can learn is found in verse 37… “Answer me, O Adonai, answer me, “that this people may know.” Know what?
First, “that You, O Adonai, are Yah.” You are not an idea, memory, fad, tradition, religion or a projection of our imagination. You are not a force, or symbol. You are Yah—the living, active, fire-sending, sin-hating, idolatry-destroying, prayer-hearing, personal Yah.
Second, “that you have turned their hearts back.” Cause your people to know this…the hearts of Israel had gone after the Baals. Their hearts had betrayed Yah. Spurned Yah. Belittled Yah. Devalued Yah. Loved other things more than Yah. This entire event on Mount Carmel is aiming to make Yah’s people know this…If they turn back to Yah, it is Yah who turned them back. Halleluyah!
Yes, Adonai rules fire, rules flesh and wood and rocks. Yes, He rules the rain and the limping and running legs of man. However, the climax is reached in verse 37 when Adonai rules the human heart…He turns the heart of His people back to Himself. If He turns our heart back, our will is turned, our affections turn, we will turn. But as we stand before the altar we will see that the stones have turned to ash—your ashes—you no longer live but He lives in you! Yah did that! What Elohim has done---He is able to keep! He will not lose one. He will not lose you! Elohim has His people. They have been bought by the blood of His Son. He will have them. He will turn their hearts back. He will keep them forever. That’s what it means to be Yah!
Shabbat Shalom Mishpocha,
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Isn’t it time we stop limping between two opinions? Let’s make up our minds and serve Adonai with all our heart, soul and will. Surrender to the One who saves and frees us. Remember this Sabbath day, His appointed time and let us gather as a people to give our Deliverer the praise He deserves. See you at the altar!