I Kings 18-19 (adapted)
God’s word came to the prophet Elijah after three years of a terrible drought. “Go and present yourself to Ahab; I’m about to make it rain on the country.” Elijah set out to present himself to Ahab and the moment Ahab saw Elijah he said, “So it’s you, old troublemaker!”
“It’s not I who has caused trouble in Israel,” said Elijah, “but you and your government—you’ve dumped God’s ways and commands and run off after the local gods, the Baals. Assemble everyone in Israel at Mount Carmel. And make sure that the all the prophets of Jezebel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of the local gods, the Baals, and the four hundred prophets of the goddess Asherah, are there.”
So Ahab summoned everyone in Israel, particularly the prophets, to Mount Carmel.
Elijah challenged the people: “How long are you going to sit on the fence? If God is the real God, follow him; if it’s Baal, follow him. Make up your minds!”
Nobody said a word; nobody made a move.
Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to a dual. Each would pray to their God and the one who answered with fire would win and all the people agreed. Fourteen verses later – Yahweh, God of Israel and of Elijah proved to be the winner. All the people fell on their faces in awed worship, exclaiming, “God is the true God! God is the true God!”
After that, Elijah massacred all the prophets of Baal.
Ahab reported to Jezebel everything that Elijah had done, Jezebel immediately sent a messenger to Elijah with her threat: “The gods will get you for this and I’ll get even with you! By this time tomorrow you’ll be as dead as any one of those prophets.”
Elijah ran for his life. He ran as far as he could get from the wrath of Jezebel. Finally, he collapsed under a tree wanting in the worst way to be done with it all—to just die: “Enough of this, God! Take my life—I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!” Exhausted, he fell asleep.
Suddenly an angel shook him awake and said, “Get up and eat!”
He got up, ate and drank his fill, and continued walking for forty days and nights, all the way to the mountain of God, to Horeb. When he got there, he crawled into a cave and went to sleep.
Then the word of God came to him: “ Elijah, what are you doing here?”
“I’ve been working my heart out for You, O God” said Elijah. “The people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed the places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me.”
Then he was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.”
A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.
When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, “So Elijah, now tell me, what are you doing here?” Elijah said it again, “I’ve been working my heart out for God, because the people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed your places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me.”
God said, “Go back the way you came through the desert to Damascus. Meanwhile, I’m preserving for myself seven thousand souls: the knees that haven’t bowed to the god Baal, the mouths that haven’t kissed his image.”