Facing Challenges

Turning to God in Moments of Trouble

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Those who seek to live a Christian life will face challenges. These challenges will test our trust and confidence in God. They will either make us stronger or drive us further away from God.

Elijah faced a major challenge. The battle between God’s prophet and the false gods in 1 Kings 18 is one of the most dynamic events in the Bible. On one side was Elijah, the representative of God, fighting alone for the Lord’s cause. On the other side were 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Ashtoreth. It was a battle of right and wrong, a symbol of the great controversy.

The challenge was simple: to prove which deity was real, God or Baal. Elijah didn’t want to simply prove that God was powerful, he wanted to prove that God was all-powerful! He was the only one who was worthy to be worshipped.

On Mount Carmel, Elijah challenged the people, the false prophets, and the king to decide either for God or for Baal. 

“How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him,” (1 Kings 18:20, 21). He even outlined the rules of war: whoever responded with fire was the true God (1 Kings 18:24). All of the people agreed.

The priests were allowed to go first. After hours of yelling, screaming, dancing, cutting themselves, and working themselves into complete exhaustion from trying to persuade their god to answer by fire, they gave up and allowed Elijah his turn.  

Elijah called the people to come near him. Using 12 stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, he built the altar of sacrifice. Wood and the sacrifice were placed on the altar. Then he ordered water to be poured on top, once, twice, three times (1 Kings 18:30-35). There was so much water that it filled the trench which was dug around the altar.

Then, looking to heaven, he prayed (1 King 18:36, 37). Immediately after his prayer ended, flames of fire descended from heaven, and the sacrifice was consumed by fire, along with the stones and the water.

Elijah faced many challenges that day on Mount Carmel. His main weapon against the false prophets and challenges was prayer. He didn’t turn to his own ability, or think of some man-made way to burn the sacrifice; he went straight to God. Elijah knew that the challenge was bigger than he could handle. He needed a miracle from God.

Many times we will face situations that are too big for us to handle. Problems will mount, circumstances will be over our heads and we won’t know what to do. We would do well to follow Elijah’s example and seek God through prayer. Rather than fearing what could happen, let us take everything to the Lord in prayer, knowing that He is all-powerful and will work in our lives to overcome the challenges we face.

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