Our Lamb Was Not Consumed!

1 Kings 18:37-39
37 “Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”
38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!”
Elijah was the greatest prophet of the Old Testament.  Often mentioned in conjunction with Moses, together they represent the Law and the Prophets.  This amazing story is clearly pointing out the stark difference between the Old Covenant and the New. 💖
Historical Background.
Our story takes place some 135 years after King David ruled over Israel.  Solomon, the most famous of his sons, who took over after his father’s death, greatly enlarged and enriched the kingdom he inherited, becoming the wealthiest man who ever lived.
Sadly, by the time Elijah came along, this once great kingdom had become divided into two much weaker factions.  The kingdom of the North suffered more than the South under many evil kings, one after the other.  By far, the most evil of them all was Ahab and his foreign-born, idol-worshiping, pagan-priestess wife, Jezebel.  The two of them, to put it bluntly, were a piece of work. 👿
Evil King And Queen.
1 Kings 16:30 states, “And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord more than all who were before him.”
The very next verse says this of him, “And it came about, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went to serve Baal and worshiped him.” 😲
Jeroboam son of Nebat, you recall, did great evil in God’s sight. He set up two golden calves and had the people worship them as the “gods” who brought them up out of the land of Egypt. 🤮 The story of his rebellion can be found in 1 Kings 12 & 13.
Well, God was most definitely NOT PLEASED with Ahab, as you can well imagine.  As if his rebelliousness wasn’t bad enough, his wife was a Sidonian, another name for the “Phoenicians.” They were a seafaring people who worshiped the Baals. 👿
God warned His people never to marry foreign women lest they be led astray to worship worthless idols. So why in the world would Ahab disobey God and choose to marry such an obviously evil woman?  Let’s do a little background study.
Unholy Alliance.
At this time in history, Syria was an ongoing threat to Israel and Assyria was fast becoming one.  Rather than ask God for advice, King Ahab decided he needed to hedge his bets.  So, he formed an alliance with the king of Sidonia by marrying his daughter, Jezebel.
Her father was not only the king of his country; he was also the high priest of Baal.   Jezebel grew up steeped in the worship of this horrific “god” and his female counterpart, “Astarte,” or “Ashtoreth,” as she was also called.  She was herself a high priestess of this evil religion.
Meaning Of Jezebel‘s Name.
All names in the Bible have a meaning, and hers is quite telling.  Basically, Jezebel means, “I’m with Baal.”  Having been raised in this sadistic religion, she was fanatical in her devotion to the worship of both Baal and Astarte.
(Worshippers of Baal sacrificing their children.)
The Sidonians believed that Baal owned the land, controlled the weather, and gave fertility to both their people and their crops.  They incorporated temple prostitutes, lewd dances, and (un)sacred orgies in their “worship,” all in an attempt to implore their “god’s” help.  They indulged in ritual cutting of their bodies and even sacrificed their children to Baal. 😭
When Jezebel married Ahab and came to live in Samaria, she brought her wickedness into Israel and, quite literally, all hell broke lose.  She was not only fanatical about worshiping these idols:  She sought to stamp out EVERY VESTIGE OF THE WORSHIP OF THE MOST HIGH. 😲 She almost succeeded in her evil plan because Ahab was a sniveling, spineless, moral weakling of a man.  She had many of the prophets of the LORD killed. 👿 Other prophets survived by compromising their principles, becoming Ahab’s “Yes men.”
God Sends A Deliverer.
As always when God’s people went astray, in His great love and compassion, He sent a deliverer to rescue them from their destructive ways.  You see, whenever they turned to these other “gods,” they stopped offering right sacrifices.  Without the shedding of blood in the manner prescribed by God, there could be no atonement for sins.  God had no choice but to allow the curse to operate in their lives. 😭
Enter the prophet, Elijah. 🙌🏻💖
We serve a wonderful, gracious God.  He loves His people, even when they go astray.  They do so mainly because of their leadership.  This greatly angers God.
He sent His prophet, Elijah, who was the only one brave enough to stand up to this evil woman and speak out.  He was not the only one who did not bow the knee, however.  There were 100 other prophets who also feared the LORD.
Judgment Time.
The time had finally come to put and end to this idolatry.  The LORD instructed Elijah to come out of hiding meet with king Ahab.  This took a lot of courage on his part, but he trusted God.  Let’s follow the story:
1 Kings 18:1-4
“And it came to pass after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, “Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth.”  So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab; and there was a severe famine in Samaria.
And Ahab had called Obadiah, who was in charge of his house.
(Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly. For so it was, while Jezebel massacred the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah had taken one hundred prophets and hidden them, fifty to a cave, and had fed them with bread and water.)”
(Obadiah meets Elijah.)
Obadiah, The King’s Servant.
Obadiah was in charge of Ahab’s house, yet he greatly feared the LORD.  He did not worship these foreign “gods.”   The king sent him on a mission to check out all the springs in the land to see if he could find pasture for the animals.
There had been a such severe famine in the land the last three and a half years that no rain, not even dew from heaven, fell in the land, all that at the word of Elijah.  Pasture for the animals was very difficult to find.  If they didn’t find some soon, they would have to start killing their animals for food.
On his way to do the king’s bidding, he “happened” to run into Elijah.  He asked Obadiah to deliver a message to Ahab that he intended to meet with the king face to face.  Unbeknownst to Ahab, the ultimate confrontation to rid the nation of this horrific religion was about to take place.
Obadiah’s name means, “God’s servant.”  That he was!  He gladly did as Elijah asked, even though he feared for his life.  You see, Ahab and Jez were out for blood.  They had been hunting for the prophet for three years and had been unable to find him.  Every time his location was reported, by the time the king’s soldiers arrived, God had spirited him away to another place.  They were angry, frustrated, embarrassed, and more determined than ever to catch him.
Now, Obadiah was going to be, in effect, delivering him up on a platter at his own request.  He was terrified that God would hide him again and that the king would take his life for bringing a report that didn’t pan out.  Nonetheless, he went before the king and delivered the message becasue Elijah assured Obadiah that he would certainly meet with the king this day.
Let’s continue the story:
(Ahab meets with Elijah.)
1 Kings 18:15-19
“Then Elijah said, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely present myself to him today.”
So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah.
Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?”
And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals. Now therefore, send and gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
Will The True God Please Stand Up.
1 Kings 18:20-21
“So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word.”
King Ahab had no idea what was about to happen.  It was time for a showdown.
All the 450 “prophets” of Baal came to the top of Mt. Carmel, along with all the people.
Elijah challenged the people to stop flip flopping between who they were going to worship.  Either choose The LORD God or Baal.
Baal Vs. The Most High.
He asked for two bulls to be provided; one for himself, once for the prophets of Baal.  They chose the one they wanted, prepared it, and began their ritual of offering it on their altar.  Then they called on their “god” to burn up the sacrifice.
From morning to the time of the evening sacrifice, these 450 “prophets” prayed, cajoled, and begged him to no avail.
Around noon, Elijah began to taunt them, saying maybe their god was on a journey or he was sleeping and needed to be awakened.  They slashed their bodies with swords and did everything they could think of.   NOTHING happened.
At the time of the evening sacrifice, Eljah repaired the altar of the LORD, which had fallen into disrepair.  This is the very same one that Jacob built and at which the LORD had given him a new name:  Israel.
He placed wood on the altar, prepared the bullock, cut it in pieces, and laid it on the altar.  He dug a trench around the base, instructed those helping him to pour water all over the sacrifice.  The water filled up the trench.  Then he called upon the Name of the LORD!
We all know Who burned up the sacrifice, and it certainly wasn’t Baal.  Fire came down from heaven, burned up the sacrifice, incinerated the wood, turned the stones to ash, and evaporated all the water in the trench 😮🙌🏻💖
In the Old Testament, the lamb for the “sin offering” was to be burned up completely in the fire; NOTHING LEFT OVER.  Back then, they could only offer a lamb without blemish but it was still imperfect, of course.
When Elijah squared off with those 500 prophets of Baal, the fire that fell from heaven not only burned up the sacrifice he offered but everything else as well, including the wood, the stones, even the water in the trench!  It was ALL CONSUMED.  This demonstrated that under the Old Covenent, the fire of God’s judgment was GREATER THAN THE SACRIFICE.
When Jesus, the “FINAL sacrifice for sin,” took all the fiery judgment, wrath and indignation of God in His body, He was NOT consumed!  He lived to cry out WITH A LOUD VOICE, “FINISHED!”  His offering was not consumed because He was the sinless Lamb of God.  His sacrifice was PERFECT!!!

Our Sacrifice, Jesus, is greater than  the fire.  That’s why OUR LAMB WAS NOT CONSUMED!!!  HALLELUJAH!!! 🙌🏻💖

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