“Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.” (1 Kings 18:38 KJV)
I have heard the CEO of a media consulting company use the example of Mohammed Bouazizi as an example in allegory of what it takes to get noticed on social media. Not that this sad and tragic death of a young man in the small north African country of Tunisia was done for the sake of social media publicity, but that it is events like this that spark hugely massive interest and attention. Other famous tweets include hard fought reelection results, celebrity deaths, and challenges from pop stars. It is amazing the things that we are either willing to set on fire or describe as recently ignited in order to garner mass attention.
This greatly interests me as this speaks volumes of rich understanding in the heart of Elijah when you pause and consider exactly what was involved in the challenge that he openly offered to the priests of Baal. It is the miracle that I personally like to refer to as not the day that God turned water into wine, but when He turned water into kerosene. Granted, this is probably not strictly accurate nor is it relevant in the sense that even kerosene still needs a spark to ignite. The real miracle here is that no matter how urgent the need to visibly demonstrate the specific presence of a hearing, seeing, and living God; Elijah lays everything at God’s feet and waits for His answer. We know this not only by the fact that Elijah did not light the sacrifice, but made it the sole condition of the entire demonstration. Furthermore, he did everything he could to illustrate that his sacrifice was not worth being lit.
Similar to the peace that Noah had in knowing that it was God’s hand that closed the door on the ark and not his (see Genesis 7:16). A knowledge that whoever was left out and whatever last minute animal may be missing, that God was able to make that judgment call. So, Elijah thoroughly understood that although he had a great task to work through in getting the scene set, it would be God who has to reach down and take the actions that He wills. There was no attempt to take credit for what God did, and there was no attempt to generate a man made demonstration that had an appearance of God’s power. Elijah did the work required of him in gathering a situation together that would allow God’s name to be glorified, allow people the opportunity to make a very necessary individual choice, and show himself to be the least worthy of any possible ensuing glory. As Elijah’s knee bowed to ask God to make Himself known, he effectively illustrated the most powerful tweet that can ever be sent in God’s kingdom. He let God light the fire and never even managed to construct something flammable in the process. The greatest fire that we can ever light is to say in complete surrender within our own hearts, Lord let thy will be done in such a way that others may know you!
“Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.” (1 Kings 18:37 KJV)