Advent Day 15: Grace in the Fire
"Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
1 Kings 18:21
Elijah was chosen by God to speak truth to Israel. The land fell into drought and the people desperately prayed for rain. They were praying to the wrong god. God's people abandoned him to worship the false god Baal. They also somewhat held on to their faith in the Lord-just in case. They wanted to leave both options open in case one was better than the other. They were fickle and unsure. The drought of their land was a symbol of the spiritual drought in their hearts.
Elijah set up a challenge for the people: prepare two altars and call to Baal while he calls to the Lord. Whoever answers with fire is the true God. Elijah sought to drive home his point, for Baal was known as the god of fire and lightning.
The prophets of Baal went first. After hours of wailing to their god, there was still no answer. Elijah amusingly taunted them, "Maybe your god is asleep? Maybe he went on vacation?"
The prophets of Baal slashed their skin and shed blood in an attempt to manipulate their god. There was no answer.
Elijah took his turn. To make his point clear, he doused the altar with water, filling a trench around the altar. No fire that was not divine could have burned on that altar.
God, in his grace, showed up and lit the altar on fire. He showed that he is not fickle god, but the Lord who is trustworthy. He longed for his people to return to him.
The Lord still longs for us to to turn from our false idols and worship him alone. We are stuck in our flesh and the idols beckon us to trust them. But God keeps lighting the fire and showing himself faithful because he is a God who does not give up on his people.
False gods require our blood, but the true God shed his for us. There is no greater love.
For this ornament, I made Elijah's alter. The base is a 1.5 inch wood disk. I glued on dollhouse wood and made the fire from felt. I had these gray beads that looked like stones, so I used them as the 12 stones that Elijah placed on the altar to represent the 12 tribes of Israel.
Stay tuned for Day 16 tomorrow
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