When It Rains, It Pours!

All of us experience those days when we face multiple challenges at the same time.  For example, I remember the time in Elyria when the hot water heater started leaking, the washing machine stopped working on the rinse cycle; the garage door opener malfunctioned and an attack of vertigo put me into bed – all within 24 hours.


When it rains, it pours! 

Such experiences stress us out and push us to our limits.   The showdown between Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal recorded in 1 Kings 18 illustrates that God knew those times would come.  I love this wonderful story.   It provides a powerful object lesson of hope that’s ours to embrace during difficult days.  It’s somewhat lengthy, but well worth the read:


“Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, ‘Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you.  Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.’  So they took the bull given them and prepared it. 


‘Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. ‘Baal, answer us!,’ they shouted.  But there was no response; no one answered.  And they danced around the altar they had made.  At noon Elijah began to taunt them.  ‘Shout louder!’ he said.  ‘Surely he is a god!  Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling.  Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.  So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 


‘Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice.  But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.  Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come here to me.’  They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down.  Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, ‘Your name shall be Israel.’ 


‘With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed.  He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood.  Then he said to them, ‘Fill your large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.’ ‘Do it again,’ he said and they did it again.  ‘Do it a third time,’ he ordered’ and they did it a third time. 


‘The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.  At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: ‘Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and have done all these things at Your command.  Lord, answer me, so these people will know that You, Lord, are God, and you are turning their hearts back again.’ 


‘Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and even the soil; and also licked up the water in the trench.  When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, ‘The Lord – He is God!  The Lord—He is God!’” (Verses 25-39)


After the prophets of Baal self-mutilated to catch the attention of their false god, Elijah continued to mock them unmercifully.  Then he did something that captures my attention every time I read this account.  He rebuilt the altar upon which he placed the sacrifice.  He commanded his associates to fill the trench around the altar not one time, not two times, but three times.  The sacrifice was drenched as well. 


Let’s pause there.


When life throws difficulties our way – one, two, three at a time – God promises us a way out!   The soaked sacrifice was devoured by the fire of God, along with the water in the trench and even the dirt!  God still makes a way through troubled times, and loves to demonstrate His power.  He is the Way Maker!     




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