A few dark, threatening clouds will postpone baseball games, picnics, and even weddings; conditions just aren’t favorable. Many things we want to do are dependent upon the weather; it’s just a fact of life, we can’t get around it. Do these same standards apply to God? Do God’s plans change when conditions aren’t perfect?
In 1 Kings 18, Baal worshipping Jezebel, the king of Israel’s wife, has killed almost every prophet who speaks for God. Elijah, God’s prophet, still remains and one day invites all of Israel and the 450 prophets of Baal to gather around him. Elijah says to them, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” (v. 21) Elijah proposed a bull be placed on Baal’s alter and one on the Lord’s altar. “And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” (v. 24) After half the day had past, Baal had done nothing, to which Elijah mocked, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” (v. 27)
Starting in verse 30, Elijah makes an altar of 12 stones, one for each tribe of Israel, and places a bull upon it. He prepares the offering in the customary manner, by laying down the wood and cutting the bull in pieces, but here’s where things get interesting. He digs a trench around the altar and instructs that water be poured on the altar, about 12 jars worth. If Elijah is trying to prove a point, and get a fire started for the Lord, why deliberately soak the wood and make the job harder for God? Have you ever tried to start a fire with wet wood? Elijah then prays, “Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” (v. 37)
“Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, ‘The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.’ ” (v. 39) Do we sometimes live as if God can’t work with wet wood? Do we shy away from seeking God, believing conditions are less than favorable for Him? Elijah made conditions as bad as possible, just so God could show His might! Today, let’s resolve to be like Elijah and ask God for bigger and bolder things, regardless the conditions.