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June 30, 2013

A mother will sacrifice her precious time of rest to help her child with something he is  interested in.  A father will sacrifice his time to unwind after a long day to play with his children or teach them a new skill.  Sacrifice is when we give up something precious to us for someone we love.

1 Kings 18:30-39 is only one example of a sacrifice that is offered to God.  The sacrifices offered to God in the Old Testament I tend to read as a bloody, gory mess of raw meat,  blood, and internal organs.  Today I saw a different view.  The purchase of the animal took money from the pocket of the family’s income that they lived on.  If they used one of their own animals that still meant they gave  up something of value.  As the meat was on the fire it had to have been a very appealing aroma.  I know I salivate at the smell of meat being cooked.  When the Israelites smelled that, it had to have been a reminder that what was on the altar was a meal they could have eaten yet was being given to the Lord. 

How would this sacrifice in 1 Kings 18 look during a drought?  The meat would have been precious to starving people.  The water poured on the meat, wood, and around the altar was almost beyond monetary value.  The people must have wondered what Elijah was thinking.  Even the wood for the altar is not in plentiful supply in the Middle East.  How many of the onlookers came prepared with food to eat since they were gone from their homes for untold hours (see verses 26, 36)?

In this chapter Elijah was wise to not construct the altar and prepare the sacrifice at the same time the Baal’s worshipers were doing theirs.  Not very many would have watched Elijah’s procedure.  The Israelites could have said he merely tricked them.  Instead, since their god didn’t respond after numerous hours I believe they watched every move to see exactly what Elijah did in eager anticipation of what would happen next.   

I believe Elijah acted in obedience to God by pouring water on the meat and wood. It stacked the odds against God being able to send down fire and burn up water-saturated meat and wood. This also was additional humiliation of Baal, who was supposed to be able to produce the rain, but hadn’t for over three years.*  I love it that the inferno He sent down in verse 38 proved He is able to consume anything, literally.  Nothing will stand in the way of the Creator. 

It’s our job to sacrifice; it’s God’s job to burn what would oppose Him.  It’s our job to give up what is precious to us as a sacrifice for Him.  It’s His job to do the miraculous.  Stick with your job.  Don’t try to do His.  He is more than capable to stand up for Himself. 

*The Quest Study Bible by Zondervan 


From → Elijah

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