IMG_3454Our modern air-conditioned bus with luxury seats climbed the road leading to the top of Mt. Carmel.  This was the site of one of the great Old Testament accounts between the prophet Elijah and 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah.

The gauntlet was thrown.  This would be a showdown to decide who the true God was.  He must show up at the offering of the sacrifice and must do so by fire.

The prophets of Baal and Asherah had their turn first.  They built their alter, sacrificed their bull and called on their deities to respond with fire.  Their worshipful pleas started in the morning and continued through noon.  However, their gods were silent.

Elijah took liberties to urge them to call louder in case their gods were on a long journey or otherwise preoccupied.  Yes, the prophet of the One True God was taunting them.  They exhausted themselves well into the evening.

Israel 2014 IFL 043Finally, Elijah’s turn came.  To make a point he called for his sacrifice to be drenched with water.  He had this done three times.

There is no water source on the top of Mt. Carmel. If his helpers had to go down into the Jezreel Valley to retrieve enough water for this soaking, that alone was a major undertaking.  But, it did not matter.

After a simple prayer that emphasized God’s glory and honor, God answered with fire.  From heaven this flame came.  It consumed the sacrifice, the altar and the water.  It was immediate and complete.

That great encounter took place right where we were standing.  It was a stirring moment to consider that this one of a kind event took place right where we were gathered.  A light wind rustled the leaves and whistled quietly through the rocks.

Israel 2014 IFL 047Each of us had a few moments to sit at the edge of the mountain top and consider our faith in the One True God.  No doubt we all wondered how we would have responded if we were the single representative of God while facing hundreds of prophets who were followers of a false god.  It was not a matter of truth or falsehood but how courageous would we be when surrounded by hundreds of others who opposed to us.

Truthfully, the reality is that one plus God always equals a majority.  However, the emotional confidence to hold strong against the hostile cacophony by others is a formidable challenge.    Always stand with truth no matter how loud or how large the opposition.

photo credit: brucefong photography and cellphone photography