“Elijah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him...’” (1 Kings 18:21).
Many days passed by in Zarephath. God provided for Elijah through the generosity of the widow. Weeks passed into months, and months stretched into years. Then, when it was least expected, God called.
“Now it happened after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, ‘Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the face of the earth’” (I Kings 18:1).
Now, King Ahab was the last person Elijah wanted to see. Obadiah, Ahab’s servant, testified, “There is no nation or kingdom where my master has not sent to search for you; and when they said, ‘He is not here,’ he made the kingdom or nation swear that they could not find you” (1 Kings 18:10).
Elijah was a hunted man, the most wanted criminal for the nation of Israel. Ahab hated Elijah as the one who had defied him. He saw Elijah as the one who was responsible for the drought which had brought suffering and death across his kingdom.
God called Elijah to go and see Ahab, the man who wanted him dead! Elijah immediately obeyed. “So Elijah went to show himself to Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Samaria” (1 Kings 18:2). Elijah met Obadiah on the way, and Elijah sent him to bring Ahab to him.
What was Elijah thinking? Elijah was penniless. He owned only what he wore. The nation hated him. He was a fugitive. And Elijah summoned the king to meet him. Why?
Again, we are reminded of the truth that Elijah stood first in the court of the King of Kings before he stood before earthly kings. Elijah was not in awe of human power or position. God Himself had sent him to meet Ahab, so he faced the king fearlessly!
His face contorted with rage upon seeing his archenemy Elijah, Ahab spewed out this question: “Is this you, you troubler of Israel?” (1 Kings 18:17). The king expected Elijah to cower in fear. Elijah did not flinch.
He said, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, because you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and you have followed the Baals” (I Kings 18:18). Elijah did not back down. He faced sin with the righteousness of God.
Boldly, the fugitive prophet took the director’s chair and commanded the king, “Now then send and gather to me all Israel at Mount Carmel, together with 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table” (1 Kings 18:19).
Elijah spoke with the authority of God. He knew the One who had called him. He stood in awe of the Living God. He did not merely speak the message God gave him; he lived it! And Ahab obeyed. “So Ahab sent a message among all the sons of Israel, and then brought the prophets together at Mount Carmel” (1 Kings 18:20).
Elijah stood on Mount Carmel and watched as his fellow countrymen surged towards the mountaintop from all parts of Israel. Like an army of ants pouring out of a disturbed anthill, they came, angry to see the prophet whom they blamed for the drought. They surged around him like a sea of hostility, but he stood his ground defiantly.
This could be a moment he could apologize for his message and maybe save his life. This was an opportunity to soften his approach and win some friends. But this was not to be.
“Elijah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people did not answer him a word” (1 Kings 18:21).
Elijah called the people to decide whom they will follow. He gave the options: God or Baal. He left no room for the middle, the in-between, the undecided, or “no man’s land.”
God Asks Me: Give the Call!
April and I arrived in Lacombe, Alberta on a Thursday night. God provided two rooms in the home of a friend for a few days. The next morning, God called me to study His written Word and to pray. I asked God what was on His heart for my first day in our new town. God told me to go to a large church in town, introduce myself as new in the area, and tell them that He had given me urgency to call the people of this church and community to a revival with Him.
I responded with all the reasons why that would not be received well by the leaders of the church. God, they will think, “Who is this stranger calling us to a revival?” They will be offended by my suggestion that they have a great spiritual need. God, shouldn’t I make friends with them first before suggesting revival?
“I have urgency for you to call this church to revival. Go this morning!” God challenged me.
After breakfast, I drove over to the church and walked through the doors. I asked to see the pastor. He came forward, along with his team. I introduced myself and stated that I had just moved into town the night before, and that morning, God had called me to come to their church with an offer.
The pastor and his team looked at me quizzically. I inwardly cringed. Before I could give in to my doubts and retreat out the door, I blurted out, “God is impressing me to come and call your church to a revival with Him.”
Cautiously, the pastor asked, “When would this be?” This was a Friday morning. I shared how God had urgency for this revival before all the students in this town returned to school. I said, “This revival should begin this coming Sunday.”
“Sunday? This Sunday?” The team looked at me, speechless. “In this size of church, we plan for such things. We need many, many months to prepare for a revival and to communicate this with the whole congregation.”
The pastor held up his hand. “I would not want us to miss something that God may be planning. Let’s go on our knees right now and ask God what we should do.” I joined the pastor and his team in prayer. Standing in a circle after prayer, each one shared how it was God’s timing for revival and how desperately it was needed but also showed concern about who would come on such late notice.
“We cannot offer you much. Our evenings are full. We can offer you a room at 6:00 a.m. every morning starting this Sunday for a full week. But we must warn you that you will likely be very disappointed with how few come. Most days, you will be doing well to have three or four people. We are very busy in this community!”
“I’ll take the room at 6:00 a.m. this Sunday!” I cheerfully replied. I walked out of the church, wondering if anyone would meet me.
Sunday morning at 6:00 a.m., over thirty people met me to seek a revival with God! They came from the farms, their homes, and their businesses. Some had to skip breakfast to come. They came with hunger to have something more with God.
Every day, God brought more of His people. We read the Word of God, praised Him, confessed our sins to Him, and repented. People forgave each other, made things right, and returned to God and God alone. By the last meeting, there were over a hundred at the early morning hour. God has a time for every call to be given. When God sends you, give the call!
Call to Action
Fearlessly call your family and community to follow God.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman \ Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org