The Power of Altars: Elijah and the 450 Prophets of Baal.
“Elijah then said to all the people, ‘Come near to me.’ So all the people came near to him. And Elijah repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down. He took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, ‘Israel shall be your name.’ And with the stones, he built an altar in the name of the Lord. He made a trench around the altar, large enough to contain two seahs of seed. And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood. Then he said, ‘Fill four water jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.’ And he said, ‘Do it a second time.’ And they did it a second time. And he said, ‘Do it a third time.’ And they did it a third time. The water ran around the altar, and he also filled the trench with water. At the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, ‘O 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 that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back!’ Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, ‘The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God!‘” 1 Kings 18:30-39
There comes a moment in a man’s life when he must act to put an end to contradictions in his life. Such is the case in these verses. The Israelites found themselves in a dilemma. They doubted the power and ability of God, so they followed other gods, an act that God had forbidden them. God knew that if Israel erected an altar and sacrificed on it, they would be led by a strange voice, so He prohibited idolatry.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t withstand some challenges in life and sought solutions from foreign gods. Many people react to life’s problems in the same way today. This trend did not start with us; it already existed.
Elijah, the prophet of God, decided to prove that God remains sovereign, no matter the challenges he faced. He called the prophets of Baal to a contest on Mount Carmel to end the contradiction by proclaiming, “The God who answers by fire, He is the true supreme God.” The false prophets did not hesitate to take advantage of this opportunity to demonstrate that Baal was indeed the supreme god, but unfortunately for them, they were completely wrong. In vain, they cried and shouted from morning until the evening sacrifice, but they could not bring down fire from heaven. The Power of Altars.
In verses 30-33, Elijah repaired the altar of God that had been destroyed; then he built a new altar with twelve stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel, and he placed a new sacrifice on this altar. In verses 36-38, he cried out to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel and said:
“Let it be known today… Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that You, O Lord, are God.“
Verse 38 reports that the fire of the Lord came down and consumed the burnt sacrifice, the water, and the stones. Child of God, the secret of the manifestation above was not Elijah’s prayer but a new altar and a new sacrifice. God simply came down by fire to consume the sacrifice. A new altar and sacrifice attracted His presence. In doing so, He put an end to the controversy. He put an end to all questions with this answer. The Power of Altars.
Often, we invoke the God who answers by fire, but we do not see Him. Why? Has He changed? Does He no longer answer by fire as in Elijah’s time? No. The truth is that God, who is the Fire that consumes fire, will reveal Himself only when there is a sacrifice on the altar. If you need to end the contradiction in your life, build a new altar, offer your sacrifice, and you will see the God who answers by fire act in your life.
The Power of Altars