The Kingdoms were split. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was on a path toward destruction. Each new king was more evil than the one before him. They had forgotten the Lord their God. When King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, came to power, they officially sanctioned the worship of Baal by building an altar to him in Samaria. The end would come soon, but not before God would show His mercy and give His people another chance.
Elijah was a great man of God. The Lord allowed Elijah to work great miracles in the land of Israel. Through his prayer, Elijah was responsible for keeping the rain from Israel for three years. Even though Elijah foretold the drought and the reason for it to King Ahab, the king would not turn from his wicked ways. An awesome display of God’s power was about to be arranged.
Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel to prove who was God once and for all. He mocked the prophets of Baal when after hours of dancing and chanting, there was no response from Baal. When it was his turn, Elijah carefully built his altar and prepared his sacrifice. To add further effect, he had everything doused with buckets of water. Then, with a simple but powerful prayer, the Lord demonstrated that He is the one and only God by sending fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice, the altar, the dust, and the remaining water. As a result, the Israelites slew the prophets of Baal because they had proven to be false prophets.
Following Elijah was Elisha. Elisha received a double portion of Elijah’s spirit and performed many miracles in the land of Israel. He continued on Elijah’s mission of witnessing to the people of Israel. Yet, despite their warnings, teachings, and working of miracles, the Northern Kingdom continued on its path to destruction.
The Lord has mercy and the Lord saves, but eventually the wicked are judged for their deeds and disbelief.
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