1 Kings 18: I Wish I Had the Courage of Elijah
I think that there is a part of all of us that wants to be like Elijah in 1 Kings 18. He’s just coming back from a miraculous experience where he saw God raise a young boy from the dead. Then, he has the courage to face off with King Ahab and essentially tell him that the entire reason there was no rain in Israel for three years was because of his disobedience.
1Ki 18:18 And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.
Finally, and I think this is the most audacious part, he issues a challenge. He challenges all 450 prophets of Baal to try make fire rain down from the sky. All of those prophets were allowed to work together, and Elijah was going to stand alone as the only one requesting that the true God send down fire. All of the people in Israel were supposed to there to see who ultimately won.
First, he was outnumbered. You would think that 450-to-1 would tilt the table in favor of Baal. Apparently, the people of Israel were kind of undecided as to which one was really real or perhaps they thought that both of them were equally real, so I have to imagine that the crowd was assuming that the group that was able to yell louder would ultimately prove to be true.
Second, he was unpopular. Like I already pointed out, King Ahab and Queen Jezebel were not excited about Elijah. After all, he blamed all the problems in Israel on the leadership. Right before the encounter, we discover that Elijah was virtually alone in this fight.
1Ki 18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
1Ki 18:22 Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.
I think that this is the kind of boldness that we’re lacking in the world today. As Christians, sometimes we allow ourselves to be shouted into submission. Because our opponents sometimes have loud and influential voices, we figure that it isn’t worth trying to argue for what we believe in.
However, that is not the approach we should take. We need to be more like Elijah. We need to be willing to stand alone if necessary and rely on God to give us strength. There is no indication that there was anything special about Elijah except that he was a prophet. That should be encouraging. We might not feel that we have the talent for defending Christianity, but even living a life that is different than what the world preaches makes a statement.
The world might not be the easiest place to be a Christian, but that doesn’t mean we back down. We need to continue living the way that God wants us to live.