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Monday: To Turn Their Hearts — 13 Comments

  1. An aspect of the test on Mt. Carmel.

    After hours of frantic cries and demonstrations of zeal, the prophets of Baal allow Elijah to take center stage. They have "screamed, and foamed, and leaped, and prayed very long - from morning until near evening." (3T 285) But there was no voice, nor response, "nor any that regarded." (1Kings 18:29.)

    Elijah now calls the people to come near to him as he repairs the Lord's broken-down altar. (1Kings 18:30.) He sets the wood, and puts the pieces of the Bullock upon the wood. He effectively invites inspection at every step.

    Elijah calls for water to be brought, and he has THEM pour it on the sacrifice and on the wood. Four barrels of water are poured three times over the wood, the offering, and the altar. All is thoroughly saturated. What is Elijah doing? He is removing every possible suspicion that he has placed some kind of incendiary on the altar. He is being extremely careful.

    Previously, Elijah had been "watching with eagle eye lest any deception should be practiced" by the priests. Because those priests were very capable of bringing some kind of incendiary (fire starter) into the equation... either into the wood, into the offering, or into the altar itself. Elijah did not relax his vigilance for a moment.

    Elijah is not only transparent in all his actions; he actively takes measures to negate every suspicion that might have afterward developed in the minds of the people.

    I find it interesting that the Lord chooses to destroy His own altar when He sends fire down upon it. He might have chosen to consume everything apart from THAT, but no, even the stones of the altar are consumed. Nothing is left.

    What a huge impression is made, and no opportunity for doubt is left! (1Kings 18:38)

  2. Jehovah wants our hearts first and foremost to be dedicated to Him and He also wants our minds and bodies to follow His Way. When the pendulum swings to either extreme we are out of balance and will be unhappy.

  3. I am humbled with this account! 1 Kings 18:36,37 and 38. That is the might of my God! He makes way through the Red Sea and now he makes fire consume the wet burnt offering. I love God. He always allows human to have his way first, then He, God, proves Himself the most superior!!!

  4. I wonder how we are to read/understand the thought "that Thou hast turned their heart back again." (1Kings 18:37.) The extent and duration of this "turning" seems to be unclear. Of course soon after the Mt. Carmel event, Elijah panics, and runs. And while away, he laments to God that he is the only one left. But yes, God tells him that He still has 7000 people in Israel. (1Kings 19:14,18.) And yes, it is true - God subsequently makes His people victors over the Syrians. But Ahab and Jezebel are still in power, (and Jezebel, to a greater or lesser extent, continues to stir-up [or incite] her husband. (1Kings 21:25)). Before long we have the unfortunate story of Naboth's vineyard, and some years follow before Jezebel is killed.

    An interesting quote from Prophets & Kings p.160-161 :

    "Elijah had expected much from the miracle wrought on Carmel. He had hoped that after this display of God's power [that, #1] Jezebel would no longer have influence over the mind of Ahab, and [#2,] that there would be A SPEEDY REFORM throughout Israel... [But soon Elijah] feared that the reformation begun on Carmel might not be lasting; and depression seized him."

    I think the extent and the duration of the actual turning of the hearts of the people, is an interesting feature to ponder.

  5. Hello saints, allow me to draw a parallel between Elija Vs Prophets of Baal and Moses and Pharaohs magicians.

    God is God and allows situtations that work best for HIM. In the case of Pharaoh, He allowed the magicians to counter nearly all the miracles He performed. Turning a rod into a serpent, magicians did the same but blinded not to see that theirs were eaten, When the red sea was blooded, the magicians performed their magic and even more blood was in the water. When He caused frogs to come out of the waters to the houses of the Egyptians, He allowed the Pharaohs magicians to add even more frogs form all over. Shortly after, Pharaoh was convinced that there was nothing new the God of Moses doing because his magicians actually marched all miracles, until the death of the first borns in Egypt leading the pass over.

    Back to Elija, God seizes an early opportunity and easily makes it diffficult for prophets of Baal to see the sacrifice through. Their false gods are mocked in their very presence and hearing: perhaps he is a sleep, on a journey , in a meeting: all over. In the end, after a whole day and cutting themselves, they realize their god is nothing but a fraud and a scam.

    Enters Elija. You may argue that Elija caused a problem and appears 3 years later to fix it. However, fixing the problem was more of a mission work in unreached territory and a humble display of the power of the almighty God.

  6. Stewart, I think On Mount Carmel, Elijah demands that the Baal preachers demonstrate before the crowd the lie that their imported Baal worship is powerful and he prays a prayer that gives us a clue to what the modern "Elijah" will do when he comes again: "Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again" (1 Kings 18:37).
    Turning hearts" is Elijah's main concern, and that will be his work for the church and for the world when he comes just before the return of Jesus. We know that turning of lost hearts is something only the message of Christ's cross can accomplish. Therefore it follows that Elijah's message will be lifting up "Christ and Him crucified. Jesus says something parallel to sending Elijah, "'Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.' This He said, signifying by what death He would die" (John 12:31-33).

  7. In Sunday’s lesson the author states “... God is willing to work with all who truly repent.”
    What gospel is this? God waits or looks for the sinner to repent then becomes willing to work with him / her? Is that the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Where does repentance come from?

    In Monday’s lesson the author acknowledges that it was the Lord Himself who had “turned their hearts” back to the Lord. He comments that in order to avoid FORCE, they are given a choice, by God I assume, to turn or not to turn?? Isn’t that what we teach?
    But it is GOD who TURNS THE HEART!!

    • I think that you are reading more into this than is warranted Kenny. The decision about repenting is our free choice. Obviously when we have made that decision the Holy Spirit is given our permission to work with us.

      The Holy Spirit may well work on our hearts before then. but repentance gives the signal that we are willing to cooperate.

      I think that sometimes we misinterpret what others have said, in sn effort to justify our own turn of phrase. We need to be generous with our interpretation of what others have said.

      • Maurice, Repentance is a gift of God! see Acts 5:31; 11:18; 20:21; 26:18; 2 Tim 2:24-26; Rom 2:4; 2 Cor 7:8-13; Luke 24:47; 2 Pt 3:9; John 16:8.
        No one can or will turn to God of his/her own, because of their sinful condition re Adam and Eve. None! Repentance and remission of sins are blessings that are not valued by the natural being.
        Christ GIVES repentance by His Spirit working with His Word to awaken the conscience, to work sorrow for sin, and an effectual change in the heart and life. In true repentance there is hatred of former sinfulness, which we naturally loved, from a change produced in the state of the mind, formerly carnal, which disposes it to choose the good and to refuse the evil.
        So it is God Himself who “works” repentance in the sinner. He does not wait for the sinner to repent and then begins to “work” with him/her.
        Jesus said “All that the Father gives me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” (John 6:37) Shouldn’t we just go or come to Christ? Of ourselves we would or could never go or come to Christ!
        Christ says, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day... Everyone who has heard and learned from the father COMES to Me... For this reason I have said to you, that NO ONE can COME to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”(John 6:44,45,65) That's why our salvation is 100% God's work.

        • I am not arguing about God giving us repentance. The fact remains that somewhere along the line we have to exercise the free choice to let God enable us. If we do not want God to enable us, then repentance is not going to happen. I agree it is 100% God's work, but it is our choice.

  8. I wondered as to why God had to cause fire come down from heaven in order for His people so see and believe that the Lord, He is God (1 Kings 18:39). What else should God have done to make His people believe that their God is God? For three years, the covenant promise, aiming at repentance and healing of the land, was ignored (2 Chronicles 7:13-14). God`s judgment in witholding rain had failed to bring the appointed result. Even on Mount Carmel, challenged by Elijah, to make a decision whether the Lord is God or Baal, there was no resonse (1 Kings 18:21). So fire had to come down for the people to see and believe.

    Thomas had the same problem, when Jesus told him: Blessed are those who have not seen, yet believe (John 20:29). It seems that it is our lack of faith when God has to reveal miracles for us to see and believe.

    Winfried Stolpmann


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