”Who Makes It Rain?”

Sermon Series: Elijah: Just Like Us

Date: September 12, 2021 / Speaker: Spencer Smith

Sermon Discussion

Elijah #2 – The One True God

September 19, 2021

Gathering Question

  • Share how you prefer your meat cooked.

Gathering Prayer

  • What stood out to you in the sermon? What insights did you gain? What questions did it raise?

1 Kings 18:1, 17-19, 23-24
After a long time, in the third year, the word of the LORD came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.”

When he saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the LORD’s commands and have followed the Baals. Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire—he is God.”

  • This whole challenge is set up to favor the false god Baal. Why do you think God set it up that way?

1 Kings 18:27-29, 38-39
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.
 
38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD is God! The LORD — he is God!”
 
38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD is God! The LORD — he is God!”

  • What do you think the prophets of Baal were thinking and feeling after there was no response to their request? What do you think the people who were watching them were thinking and feeling?
  • What do you think the prophets of Baals were thinking and feeling when the Lord sent fire to burn up Elijah’s sacrifice? What do you think the people who were watching were thinking and feeling?

This story raises a critical question for our faith. Elijah says it like this in 1 Kings 18:21: “How long will you waver between two opinions?”

  • Why are we sometimes tempted to straddle the fence or play both sides instead of dedicating ourselves totally and completely to God?
  • What is the danger of wavering between two loyalties or commitments?

The most basic Christian confession is Jesus is Lord.

  • What does it mean to you that Jesus is the Lord of your life?
  • How is that different than trusting in Jesus as your Savior?
  • Why is it so challenging to accept the full Lordship of Jesus in our life?
  • What areas of your life do you find it difficult to allow Jesus to be Lord?

God used Elijah’s showdown with the prophets of Baal to reach out to his people. By reaching out to them, even when they weren’t seeking him, God showed the people mercy and grace.

  • What does it say to us about God that he offered mercy and grace to his people, even after they were divided in their loyalty and even when they weren’t seeking it?
  • What does this say to us about God’s willingness to offer us mercy and grace – even when we’ve been divided in our loyalty or weren’t seeking it?

The good news of the gospel is that God has always reached out first. When we were all still sinners, God sent his Son as a gift of mercy and grace.

  • Where do you need God’s mercy and grace in your life today?

Closing Prayer
Give thanks that God is always reaching out to you with mercy and grace. Confess those areas of your life and faith where you are tempted to be divided in your loyalty to God. Ask God for the faith and commitment to make Jesus totally and completely the Lord of your life.