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The Prophet Of Fire





In the third year of the famine this command came from Jehovah to
Elijah: "Go, show yourself to Ahab; and I will send rain upon the
earth." So Elijah went to show himself to Ahab.

The famine was so severe in Samaria that Ahab had called Obadiah, the
overseer of the palace. Obadiah was very loyal to Jehovah; for when
Jezebel tried to kill the prophets of Jehovah, he took a hundred and hid
them in a cave and kept them supplied with bread and water. Ahab said to
Obadiah, "Come, let us go through the land to all the springs and to all
the brooks, in the hope that we may find grass, so that we can save the
horses and mules and not lose all of them." So they divided the land
between them, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another.

While Obadiah was on the way, Elijah suddenly met him. As soon as
Obadiah knew him, he fell on his face and said, "Is it you, my lord
Elijah?" He answered, "It is; go, tell your master: 'Elijah is here.'"
But Obadiah said, "What sin have I done, that you would give your
servant over to Ahab to kill me? As surely as Jehovah your God lives,
there is no nation nor kingdom where my lord has not sent to find you;
and when they said, 'He is not here,' he made each of the kingdoms and
nations take an oath, that no one had found you. Now you say, 'Go, tell
your lord, Elijah is here!' As soon as I have left you the spirit of
Jehovah will carry you to a place unknown to me, so that when I come and
tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will put me to death, although I,
your servant, have been loyal to Jehovah from my youth! Have you not
been told what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of Jehovah, how I
hid a hundred by fifties in a cave and fed them continually with bread
and water?" Elijah answered, "As surely as Jehovah of hosts lives,
before whom I stand, I will show myself to Ahab to-day."

So Obadiah went to Ahab and told him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah. As
soon as Ahab saw Elijah, he said to him, "Is it you, you who have
brought trouble to Israel?" He answered, "I have not brought trouble on
Israel, but you and your father's house have; because you have failed to
follow the commands of Jehovah and have run after the Phoenician gods.
Now therefore call together to me at Mount Carmel all the Israelites and
the four hundred and fifty prophets of the god Baal who eat at Jezebel's
table."

So Ahab sent for all the Israelites and gathered the prophets together
at Mount Carmel. Then Elijah came to the people and said, "How long are
you going to falter between worshipping Jehovah or Baal? If Jehovah is
the true God, follow him, but if Baal, then follow him." But the people
were silent. Then Elijah said to the people, "I, even I only, am left as
a prophet of Jehovah, but there are four hundred and fifty prophets of
Baal. Let us take two oxen; let them choose one ox for themselves and
cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, without lighting any fire, and
I will dress the other ox and lay it on wood, without lighting any fire.
Then you call on your god and I will call on Jehovah. The god who
answers by fire is the true God." All the people answered and said, "It
is a fair offer."

Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one of the oxen for
yourselves and dress it first, for you are many, and call on your god,
without lighting any fire." So they took the ox which he gave them and
dressed it, and called on their god from morning until noon, saying, "O
Baal, hear us." But there was no voice nor answer, although they leaped
about the altar which they had built.

When it was noon, Elijah mocked them, saying, "Call loudly, for he is a
god; either he is thinking, or he has gone out, or he is on a journey,
or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened!" Then they called loudly
and cut themselves, as was their custom, with swords and lances until
the blood gushed out upon them. When noon was past, they cried out in
frenzy until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but
there was neither voice nor answer nor was any attention paid to their
cry.

Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me." And all the
people drew near to him, and he rebuilt the altar of Jehovah which had
been thrown down. Then around the altar he made a ditch that would hold
about two bushels of seed. When he had placed the pieces of wood in
order, he cut up the ox and laid it on the wood. Then he said, "Fill
four jars with water and pour it on the burnt-offering and on the pieces
of wood." And he said, "Do it the second time"; and they did it the
second time. He said, "Do it the third time"; and they did it the third
time, so that the water ran round the altar. And he also filled the
ditch with water.

When it was time to offer the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came
near and said, "O Jehovah, God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, let
it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, that I am thy servant,
and that I have done all these things at thy command. Hear me, O
Jehovah, hear me, that this people may know that thou, Jehovah, art God,
and that thou mayst win their hearts."

Then the fire of Jehovah fell and burned up the burnt-offering and the
wood, the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the
trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and cried,
"Jehovah, he is God; Jehovah, he is God." But Elijah commanded them,
"Take the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape!" So they took
them down to the Brook Kishon and there put them to death.

Then Elijah said to Ahab, "Go, eat and drink; for there are signs of a
heavy rain." So Ahab went to eat and drink. But Elijah went up to the
top of Carmel and crouched down upon the earth, with his face between
his knees. And he said to his servant, "Go up now, look toward the sea."
So he went up and looked and said, "There is nothing." But seven times
he said, "Go again." So the servant went back seven times, but the
seventh time he said, "There is a cloud as small as a man's hand rising
out of the sea." Then Elijah said, "Go, say to Ahab, 'Make ready your
chariot; go down, that the rain may not stop you.'" In a little while
the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain.
And as Ahab rode toward Jezreel, Elijah was given divine strength, so
that he tightened his belt and ran before Ahab to the entrance to
Jezreel.





Next: Gods Low Whisper

Previous: Elijah And The Widows Son



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