I Kings 18:17-40




Wickedness reached its peak in Israel during the reign of Ahab and Jezebel.

Dr. J. Vernon McGee said, “What Ahab didn't think of, Jezebel did.”



“And what Jezebel didn't think of, nobody could.”

Her name will forever be linked with evil.



The tide of evil was so strong in the land that it appeared as though the         

knowledge of God would be wiped from the face of the earth.

But it wasn't.




Because God raised up Elijah;



One of the greatest prophets to ever walk the face of this earth;

A prophet not afraid to speak out against idolatry, false prophets, and false   




A prophet so great, he went to heaven without dying;

A prophet so great, God ended the Old Testament with the promise that Elijah        

will come back (Mal. 4:5-6);



A prophet so great, that many thought Jesus was Elijah (Matt. 16:14).

One day, this great prophet boldly walked into the court of Ahab.




He said, “As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand,”

“There shall not be dew or rain these years, but according to my word”

(I Kings 17:1).



He walked out.

He left Israel.



A week passed.

And it did not rain.



A month;

Then a year.



Two years and no rain;

Three years and no rain;



Three and one-half years (42 months, 1260 days without rain);

Drought gripped the land;



The vegetation wilted;

The animals died;



The wells dried up;

Famine struck.



Israel was in deep trouble.

Finally, God told Elijah to, “Go show thyself to Ahab, and I will send rain     

upon the earth.”




Elijah returned to Israel.

He found Ahab.



It was a critical moment in the history of Israel.

Tension filled the air.



Ahab was in a bad mood.

He was the first to speak.



“Art thou he that troubleth Israel?”

Elijah answered, “I haven't troubled Israel;”



“But thou and thy fathers house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments         

of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim.”

“You are the trouble maker because you forsook the Commandments of       




“And followed other gods.”

There's a great truth here.



People who break the Commandments of God and follow other gods are     

trouble makers for God.

Our attitudes,



Our false humility,

Our lack of faith,



Our prayerless lifestyles,

Our rebellion makes us trouble makers for God.



Unbelievers question the reality of God when we fail to practice what we       


They question the value of attending Church when they see so much sin in the        

pews and the pulpits of the Church.



When we don't go by the Word of God, we are trouble makers for God.

So Elijah told Ahab to gather the children of Israel;



The 450 prophets of Baal;

The 400 prophets of the groves;



And to meet him at Mt. Carmel.

Ahab did it.



“And Elijah came unto all the people and said, How long halt ye between two         


“If the Lord be God, follow him:”



“But if Baal, then follow him.”

“How long halt ye between two opinions?”



How long are you going to straddle the fence?

How long are you going to have divided loyalties?



Notice, that these people didn't completely abandon God.

They were simply trying to worship false gods at the time they worshiped the         

Living God;



Trying to be broad minded;

Trying to be tolerant;


That's a big word today.

Tolerance is “Politically Correct.”



It sounds good.

But there's a big problem.



God never intended for us to become so tolerant that we are willing to

compromise our convictions:

He never intended for us to become so tolerant that we are willing to put up  

with any kind of sin in the Church including false worship.



Let's understand something.

When we get right down to it, there are times when God is intolerant.



“Thou shalt have no other gods before me” is intolerance.

“Thou shalt not commit adultery” is intolerance.



“The soul that sinneth, it shall die” is intolerance (Ezek. 18:4).

God “will by no means clear the guilty” is intolerance.



Jesus went to the cross because God can’t tolerate sin.

God wants us to love the sinner.



But He also wants us to hate sin.

And Elijah was saying, “It's time to get off the fence;”



“Time to make a decision.”

“If the Lord be God, follow him.”




“But if Baal is God, then follow him.”

Jesus said you cannot serve two masters.



There's no middle ground between God and the devil;

No halfway house between heaven and hell.



We are for God.

Or we are against God.



It's impossible to serve Christ and Baal;

Christ and Asteroth;



Christ and Sophia;

Christ and Mother Earth;



Christ and Allah;

Christ and Mohammad.



Christ and any other “Politically Correct” god or goddess.

We must ask ourselves, “Am I serving the true God of the Bible?”



“Or the false gods and goddesses of the world?”

God forces us to answer the question.



He won't allow us to be neutral;

To have our cake and eat it to.



So Elijah said, “If the Lord be God, follow him.”

“But if Baal is God, then follow him.”


“And the people answered him not a word.”

The silence was deafening.



So Elijah said, “Let's put these gods to a test.”

“Let's take two bullocks.”



“Have the prophets of Ahab and Jezebel choose the bullock they want.”

“Have them cut their bullock in pieces;”



“Have them lay it on wood;”

“But don't put fire under it.”



“Tell them to call upon the name of their gods.”

“And I will call upon the name of the Lord”



“The God that answereth by fire, let Him be God.”

And the people answered, “It is well spoken.”



So the prophets of Ahab and Jezebel chose a Bullock;

They dressed it;



They called on Baal from morning til noon.

They said, “O Baal, hear us.”



“O Baal, hear us.”

“O Baal, hear us.”



“But there was no voice.”

“Nor any that answered.”


Baal didn't respond.

“And the prophets leaped upon the altar which was made.”



They jumped upon the altar;





Worked themselves into hysterics.



But that didn't work either.

“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 peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.”

Elijah said, “Talk louder.”



“Baal may be talking to someone else.”

“He may be in the bathroom.”



“He may be on a trip.”

“He may be asleep.”



“You say he is god.”

“Do something to get his attention.”



“And they cried aloud.”

“And cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, til the blood

gushed out upon them.”

Their long prayers,

Their jumping on the altar,



Their emotional hysterics,

And their loud noises didn't work.



So they slashed their bodies with knives.

They bled.



But that didn't work either.

It's the precious blood of Jesus as a Lamb without spot or blemish that gets

God's attention;



Not the defiled blood of false prophets.

If you want to approach God, approach Him through the blood of Jesus;



Not through your own blood,

Or your own merit.



“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.”



Their time was up.

Nothing had happened.



Now, it was Elijah's turn.

Notice, the first thing he did.




He rebuilt the altar.

An altar to any other god is no good.



An altar to any other god must be destroyed.

Gideon learned this hundreds of years before.



The worship of other gods was part of the evil that Israel did in the sight of   

the Lord.

Those gods had to be cast down before God would deliver the people.



Gideon struck the first blow in the middle of the night.

He got out of bed.



He destroyed the altar of Baal.

He struck the second blow when he cut down the statue of Asteroth.



Then, and only then, would God go forth to do battle for Israel.

This is God's altar (Communion Table);



The chief place of worship in this building.

We should use it to worship the Living God.



But if any other god is worshiped at this altar, we should get rid of it   


God is holy.



He will not share His altar with any other God.

So Elijah took 12 stones.




The 12 stones represent the 12 tribes of Israel.

He rebuilt the altar.



He dug a trench around it.

He laid the wood in order on the altar.



He cut the bullock in pieces.

He laid the pieces on the wood.



Why did he do things this way?

Because this is the way God instructed his ancestors to do it.



This is the way Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did it.

Elijah was publicly following the ordinances of God;



The examples of his ancestors.

He was doing it because he intended to ask the people to return to those       




To return to the way their ancestors worshipped.

When I study the Bible I see that it talks about two ways, two roads, two      

kingdoms, and two eternities:



Two ways: Jesus is the way that leads to the Father (Jn. 14:6).

But there is a way that seemeth right that leads to death (Prov. 14:12).



Two Loads: A narrow road that leads to heaven.

And a broad road that leads to hell.




Two Kingdoms: God's and Satan's.

Two eternities: Eternal life and eternal damnation.



What am I saying?

I'm saying God hasn't changed.



We have to go to heaven the same way our ancestors had to go to heaven.

Our ancestors went to heaven through Jesus Christ.



I'm also saying, that if we have left that old fashioned way,

We have to go back to it.



Or we won’t make it to heaven.

Next, Elijah said, “Fill four barrels with water.”



“Pour the water on the burnt sacrifice;”

“And on the wood.”



And they did it.

He said, “Do it again.”



And they did it a second time.

He said, “Do it again.”



And they did it a third time.

I laugh at this.



There were times when Elijah seemed to have a lot of fun serving God.

He was on that mountain.


The prophets of Baal were jumping around and chanting.

But nothing was happening.



So Elijah said, “Cry louder.”

“Baal may be talking.”



“He may be in the bathroom.”

“He may be asleep.”



“Or on a trip.”

Now, Elijah's sacrifice is ready.



He’s preparing to ask God to consume it with fire.

But before he asks God to consume it with fire, he says, “pour water on it.”



“Pour more water on it.”

“Pour more water on it.”



They did.

The water ran down around the altar.



It filled the trench.

The ground got muddy.



Elijah walked up in the mud.

The king was against him.



The false prophets were against him.

The people were against him.


But he was not helpless.

He knew the promises of God.



And he knew the power of God.

That's all we need:



To know the promises of God.

And to know the power of God.



Elijah prayed.

Who did he pray to?



“And Elijah came near and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel.”

He didn't pray to Baal;







Mother Earth;

Or Allah.



He prayed to the same God his ancestors prayed to;

The Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel.



What did he pray for?

1st---Elijah prayed for God's glory.



“Let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel,”

Let it be known who's in charge in Israel;


This is your kingdom.

These are your people.



2nd---Elijah prayed that the people would know that he served God.

“Let it be known this day . . . that I am thy servant,”



That I don't serve false gods;

That I serve the Living God.



3rd---Elijah prayed that the people would know that he was following God's   


“Let it be known this day . . . that 1 have done all these things at thy word.”



That you told me to oppose the breaking of your Commandments;

That you told me to oppose the worship of other gods.



4th---Elijah prayed for the people.

“Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord         




“And that thou hast turned their heart back again.”

Let these people know that you are God;



That you are changing hearts;

That you are sending revival.



Elijah's prayer wasn't long like the prayer of the false prophets.

It wasn't loud




Or directed to the wrong god.

It was short;




And directed to the right God.



Then, the fire of the Lord fell from heaven.

And make no mistake about it coming from heaven.



It started at the top and consumed the sacrifice;

It went a little lower and consumed the wood;



A little lower and consumed the altar;

A little lower and consumed the dust under the altar;



A little lower and dried up the water in the trench.

When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces.



They said, “The Lord, he is God;”

They renounced their false gods.



They confessed the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel.

They could hardly do anything else.



Their false gods had done nothing.

But the God of Israel had scorched the earth with fire from heaven.



Paul went to Athens.

He was walking around.


He saw many statues;

The city was filled with idolatry



The people had a god and goddess for practically everything.

They especially loved to worship the goddess Athena.



They even had an altar to the unknown God.

Paul said there was a time when God tolerated this kind of paganism.



But now God has commanded all people everywhere to repent.

There's just one God.

He's not an option.

When we come to the valley of the shadow of death, the God of heaven is the        

only God who can help us.



How long halt ye between two opinions?

If the Lord be God, serve Him.



If there's a judgment, prepare for it.

If there's a hell, flee from it.



If there's a heaven run to it.

The journey begins with just one step.



If you will take just one step down this isle, you will come all the way.           

If you never take that step, you may leave this world in deep trouble.            



2nd Invitation.                 

You may ask, “What is revival?”

That’s a fair question.


It doesn’t mean emotional hysteria like the prophets of Baal displayed.

Revival is a time when Christians come back to their first love.



A time when Christians get rid of the sham and hypocrisy in their life;

A time when Christians cast out the divisions, bitterness and strife that

sometimes exists in the Church.



Revival is taking up a cross;

Walking in the light with Jesus;



Letting Jesus live His life in us.

To revive is to come back to health and vigor;



To flourish again after decline;

To become valid, effective or operative again.



It comes by admitting that we are sinners.

And by calling out to God for forgiveness, help and strength.