Archive for June, 2016

REFLECTION: Sign or miracle?

Saturday, June 11th, 2016

Perhaps you’ve heard of it, but this isn’t one of those stories which you would have listened to from a regular children’s Bible story book.  Did you know the prophet Elijah had put out an extra-ordinary challenge to the prophets of Baal?  Grab a cup of coffee because this is definitely an interesting one!

Ahab sent to all the children of Israel and had the prophets assemble on Mount Carmel.

Elijah appealed to all the people and said, “How long will you straddle the issue?  If the LORD is God, follow him; if Baal, follow him.”  The people, however, did not answer him.  So Elijah said to the people,  “I am the only surviving prophet of the LORD, and there are four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal.  Give us two young bulls.  Let them choose one, cut it into pieces, and place it on the wood, but start no fire.  I shall prepare the other and place it on the wood, but shall start no fire.  You shall call on your gods, and I will call on the LORD.  The God who answers with fire is God.”  All the people answered, “Agreed!”

Elijah then said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one young bull and prepare it first, for there are more of you.  Call upon your gods, but do not start the fire.”  Taking the young bull that was turned over to them, they prepared it and called on Baal from morning to noon, saying, “Answer us, Baal!”  But there was no sound, and no one answering.  And they hopped around the altar they had prepared.  When it was noon, Elijah taunted them:  “Call louder, for he is a god and may be meditating, or may have retired, or may be on a journey. Perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.”  They called out louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom,  until blood gushed over them.  Noon passed and they remained in a prophetic state until the time for offering sacrifice.  But there was not a sound; no one answered, and no one was listening.

Undoubtedly, Elijah must have been filled with the Holy Spirit because he was definitely one brave fellow.  Although he was the sole survivor of God’s prophets, he taunted and teased 450 prophets of Baal!  450 and he was one measley man!  The man had guts!  Having watched these prophets call out and hop around their alter from morning to noon, Elijah began to taunt…“Call louder, for he is a god and may be meditating, or may have retired, or may be on a journey. Perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.”  In spite of their large numbers, the prophets didn’t maul Elijah.  Instead… they called out louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom,  until blood gushed over them.  Noon passed and they remained in a prophetic state until the time for offering sacrifice.  But there was not a sound; no one answered, and no one was listening.

Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.”  When the people had done so, he repaired the altar of the LORD that had been destroyed.  He took twelve stones, for the number of tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the LORD had said, “Your name shall be Israel.”He built an altar in honor of the LORD with the stones, and made a trench around the altar large enough for two measures of grain.  When he had arranged the wood, he cut up the young bull and laid it on the wood.  “Fill four jars with water,” he said, “and pour it over the burnt offering and over the wood.”  “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.  “Do it a third time,” he said, and they did it a third time.  The water flowed around the altar, and the trench was filled with the water.

At the time for offering sacrifice, the prophet Elijah came forward and said, “LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things by your command.  Answer me, LORD!  Answer me, that this people may know that you, LORD, are God and that you have brought them back to their senses.”  The LORD’s fire came down and consumed the burnt offering, wood, stones, and dust, and it lapped up the water in the trench.  Seeing this, all the people fell prostrate and said, “The LORD is God! The LORD is God!”  11 Kings 18:20-39

Spectacular wasn’t it?  As a prophet, Elijah proclaimed the will of God.  He said… let it be known this day that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things by your command.  Answer me, LORD!  Answer me, that this people may know that you, LORD, are God and that you have brought them back to their senses.”

Undoubtedly, Elijah walked ever so closely with the Father!  He must have experienced one revelation after another from our Father so that his faith was built up to such a degree!

Had Elijah not proclaimed the Father’s intent, would the Israelites have believed?  Would they have simply witnessed a spectacular miracle and then dismissed it after a week or two?  Sadly, miracles occur daily, but many fail to recognize their relevance nor do they recognize the Father’s hand in these personal revelations.  A sign expands and defines the significance of a miracle.  Otherwise, the miracle simply becomes a spectacular event that has taken place for the purpose of entertainment, and its significance and impact on the lives of others are lost.  Notice how the grandeur of fireworks are lost after watching them numerous times?

Father, forgive us for not recognizing Your hand in the daily miracles in our lives.  They happen so regularly that we have began to them take for granted.  Lord, we ask that You open our spiritual ears and hearts and we ask that you open our spiritual eyes at the appropriate time.  Lord, this time, we do not ask that you open our eyes immediately, but we ask You to open our eyes at Your proper time because You alone know when we are ready to receive Your message.  In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN.

God bless,

Melissa – June 10, 2016