The text for this lesson is 1 Kings 18:20–46.
- Just as the true God revealed Himself on Mount Carmel’s altar, so on the cross-shaped altar of Mount Calvary, Jesus revealed once and for all that He alone is the real God who loves us enough to die for us.
- God demands that I fear, love, and trust in Him alone, yet I sinfully place my trust elsewhere.
- Jesus proved that He is the true Lord when on the altar of God He offered the sacrifice, Himself, that calls me back from my sin to His forgiving embrace.
For three years, the skies above Israel had been sealed shut; not a raindrop fell on the parched land. This was God’s way of getting His nation’s attention, of throwing a bucket of cold water in His Bride’s sleeping face, so to speak, as she lay sprawled in bed with the false god Baal. Coming out of seclusion, Elijah commanded wicked King Ahab to “gather all Israel to [him] at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table” (1 Kings 18:19). It was time for what the Greeks called a theomachy, a God-fight.
- What promises and threats did the Lord give to Israel (particularly the tribe of Judah) in 1 Kings 9:1–9? Which of the Ten Commandments does this passage deal with? What can we learn from this passage even today?
- In spite of the Lord’s promises and threats in 1 Kings 9:1–9, Israel (the Northern Kingdom) strayed after the false gods Baal and Asherah. The Lord sent a severe drought, only to be lifted at Elijah’s word (1 Kings 18:1). Yet instead of repenting, the people’s worship of false gods intensified during the drought. What role did Israel’s leaders play regarding this unbelief and idolatry? See 1 Kings 16:30–33 and 18:17–19.
- Syncretism is the combination of different religions into one form of worship and prayer. Is this ever a defensible position? See 1 Kings 18:21; Joshua 24:15; and Matthew 6:24. What forms of syncretism are common today?
- While democracy may be a fine tool for public governance, what does 1 Kings 18:22 suggest about the validity of democracy when it comes to theology? What lesson can we draw from this for the Christian Church?
- Contrast the behavior of Elijah with the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:23–37), incorporating insights from Deuteronomy 14:1 and 1 Corinthians 14:33. What is the biggest difference between Elijah’s prayer and that of the prophets of Baal? See Romans 10:13.
- What parts of 1 Kings 18:30–39 highlight God’s covenant relationship with Israel? How does the outcome of this event agree with Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 8:4–6?
- Describe the change in attitude of the Israelites from 1 Kings 18:21 to 18:39. Was their worship out of fear, love, or trust in the Lord? According to Philippians 2:5–11, how will believers and unbelievers alike react to Jesus’ name on the Last Day?
- It seems extraordinarily harsh in 1 Kings 18:40 that Elijah would slaughter the prophets of Baal, but according to Deuteronomy 17:2–5, who sanctioned such a penalty? What does this event preview? See Matthew 13:47–50.
- In 1 Kings 18:21, Elijah sets up a very strict either/or: Yahweh or Baal. How is this similar to the Christian life? See Matthew 10:37–39 and 16:24–26. In what way are we at times still like the Israelites of Elijah’s time?
- Read Matthew 4:1–11. What does this scene have in common with the theomachy (God-fight) in today’s lesson? What is different? What do we learn from Luke 11:21–22 and Hebrews 2:14–15?
- What moved Elijah to pray for rain (1 Kings 18:41–46)? See 1 Kings 8:35–36 and 18:1. Where did the power in his prayer come? What about our prayers? See James 5:16–20.
For next week, read 2 Kings 2:1–15.