Creating Space for God – No Comparison
“My whole being will exclaim, ‘Who is like you, Lord?’“ –Psalm 35:10a
Most of us would readily admit that we’re a little uncertain and intimidated by what the Bible calls the gift of prophecy. Speak on behalf of God? Foretell the future? Let’s leave that to the paid professional clergy, right? Not if you study the life of the prophet Elijah.
In the first book of Kings, chapter 17, Elijah jumps off the page from Tishbe in Gilead. That’s all we know about him until his famous prophecy to King Ahab, promising on behalf of God that no dew or rain will fall in Israel for the next few years. Where and how he received this prophetic message is a mystery, but there it is. And an ordinary guy allowed himself to be used by God in an extraordinary way.
Elijah’s story, of course, comes to a dramatic climax “after a long time, in the third year” when God tells him to go and present himself to King Ahab again, this time on Mount Carmel. God also promises to send rain on the land (1 Kings 18:1). In this case, the prophetic word to Elijah included instructions for what he was to do next. And so, following the voice of God in his head, he commands two bulls to be brought, and two altars to be built.
Addressing the prophets of Baal directly, Elijah says, “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” (1 Kings 18:25).
Convinced that Baal would supernaturally light the fire and burn up the bull, almost a thousand prophets of Baal and Asherah call out, dance, shout, and cut themselves until their blood flows. “But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention” (1 Kings 18:29b).
And now it’s Elijah’s turn. He prays and God answers!
The fire of the Lord falls, the bull, the wood, the stones, the soil, and the water Elijah had poured in the trench are all consumed. The people, in shock and awe, fall prostrate on the ground.
“Who is like you, Lord?” the psalmists exclaim again and again, recognizing just as the Israelites did that day on Mount Carmel that there is no one who compares to the Lord our God. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. And he is still raising up prophets today to speak and act on His behalf. Who knows, you may be one of them!