“GETTING IN THE RING”
1 Kings 18:17-40 New International Version (NIV)
17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of
18 “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your
father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and
have followed the Baals. 19 Now summon the people from all over Israel
to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty
prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at
20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets
on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long
will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him;
but if Baal is God, follow him.”
But the people said nothing.
22 Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets
left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23 Get two bulls for
us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it
into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare
the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you
call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord.
The god who answers by fire—he is God.”
Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”
25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and
prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of
your god, but do not light the fire.” 26 So they took the bull given them
and prepared it.
Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal,
answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered.
And they danced around the altar they had made.
27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely
he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe
he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and
slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until
their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic
prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no
response, no one answered, no one paid attention.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to
him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down.
31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from
Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Your name
shall be Israel.” 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the
Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs[a] of
seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the
wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it
on the offering and on the wood.”
34 “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.
“Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The
water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.
36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and
prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known
today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have
done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me,
so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are
turning their hearts back again.”
38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood,
the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.
39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The
Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”
40 Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let
anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down
to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.
Boundary between Israel and Phoenicia
Mountain range stretches 30 miles from the outcropping into the Mediterranean southeast
toward Megiddo and stands at the NW end of the Valley of Jezreel.
Most likely at the base of the mountain as this was where most worship was done looking
‘Garden land’ or fruitful land’ >> during drought, this is a pivotal and providential spot for
this battle to happen here.
Elijah walks up to offer his prayer for rain. (v42)
Exegesis & Commentary
Elijah got into the Ring!
1. Elijah was not a Spiritual Wimp!
At the beginning of the whole story even before this whole display of power, Elijah was a man of
God that didn’t back down from a fight.
Elijah knew who he was fighting for: Israel
Elijah never lost sight or focus on that! Did he lose heart and sometimes become frightened and
scared for his life? Yes. BUT Elijah never lost the fight for His heart… the fight For the LORD.
Elijah’s name means “The LORD is my God”. It was like saying that even my name gives me away.
Before I was huge into hockey like in college and even now, how I love local hockey… I remember
cheering for both teams one night at my friend’s house. Darryl looked at me and said “Grab a
spine, Pick a team and Get in the Game!!”
How many times have you seen those fans where they are dressed in and painted on their team
colors? You have no need to ask them who they are fans of do you?
Contemporary Application #1
As a Disciple of Jesus, do others know? Would people around you see you as a “trouble maker”?
Elijah was labeled as one… for all that he had said and done! Are you a holy trouble maker? If not,
2. Elijah was not a Spiritual Mute
In vs 18 we see as in many verses through his story, Elijah speaking boldly the Truth!
a. Refutes the label!
i. Ahab calls him something that is not truth. He judges him in a public
setting. He bullies him outright with that statement.
ii. Elijah refutes and rebukes that comment.
iii. Do you? When someone calls you something that isn’t true, do you speak
up or do you stay mute?
b. Responds with truth and accuracy
i. Elijah flips it on Ahab and calls him to accountability for not only him but
his whole family.
ii. Elijah speaks and reveals the actual facts! No hearsay or gossip needed!
Ahab has abandoned his faith and has sinned by worshipping false gods,
most specifically the Baals
Elijah speaks the truth in LOVE and Conviction. He has known Ahab for many years and now, it is
time to speak! Enough is enough…
Elijah acts like in the character of God very gracious and merciful but now, it is time to say what
Contemporary Application #2
Elijah speaks the truth… in Love
Ephesians 4:11-16 New International Version (NIV)
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the
pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that
the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith
and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining
to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the
waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the
cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead,
speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the
mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the
whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament,
grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
We are called to be accountable first with each other as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and
also give an account and defense for our faith to all those around us.
Like Elijah, we need to do it boldly and with clarity. Not mixing words or metaphors but simply
Elijah doesn’t say his rebuke with pride or arrogance but with humility and grace.
3. Elijah was not a Spiritual Coward
“AT THE TIME OF SACRIFICE, THE PROPHET ELIJAH
STEPPED FORWARD AND PRAYED:”
Defined in Oxford dictionary:
Defy, encounter with courage
Elijah, empowered and led by Yahweh, was BRAVE
Elijah at the right time:
a. Stepped forward
i. Elijah still had to physically act. He stepped forward. He did not shift the
responsibility to someone else. He did not outsource it.
ii. Elijah knew it was the right time because he had a strong and intimate
relationship with Yahweh.
iii. Elijah was brave in the midst of great anxiety and mixed emotions. All the
people looking at him…
iv. Are we acting? When everyone is looking at you? Are you under the
microscope from other Christians and unbelievers? Of Course you are!
v. Will you act? ILLUS. >> my geology class and learning paleo-geology and the
talk went Creation!
b. Elijah prayed
i. Elijah didn’t skirt the issue. He went straight to God and not himself. He
prayed to God.
ii. In those moments that we are to speak and act, is it prefaced with prayer?
iii. How many times have you heard that small but inviting voice of the Holy
Spirit prompting you to speak and or act in a way that is providential and or
divinely set up?
This is a great story! Are we challenged to fight?
1 TIMOTHY 6:12 NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV)
12 FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF THE FAITH. TAKE HOLD OF
THE ETERNAL LIFE TO WHICH YOU WERE CALLED WHEN
YOU MADE YOUR GOOD CONFESSION IN THE PRESENCE OF
Know that there are people always watching but there’s an invitation and encouragement here…
You are called as people of the Cross, those that will go to heaven. Take on this Fight...
Know what you are Fighting for
Spend time training and preparing for this Fight
Step forward, knowing He has led you, Get into the Ring!
Will it get bloody? Yes
Will I get hurt? Yes
Will I have the strength to carry on? Yes
Be Brave! Hold strong on to Jesus. He loves you and he gives you the courage to go another
For His Glory and For His Kingdom come!