Testing God – Part II
2 Kings 18:30-39 (NIV)
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaire the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”
34 “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.
“Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.
36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
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.
39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”
As we continue into the testing of God, we see Elijah respond after the lack of response from the god of Baal. First, he gets the people to repair the alter of the Lord, which had been torn down. The next step Elijah took was to take 12 stones to represent the twelve tribes descended from Jacob. This is a great reminder to all of the people that it is the God of Jacob who is the one true God and the sacrifice to God needs to be done properly on the repaired alter.
He ordered a trench to be dug around the alter and for the trench to be filled with water. I don’t see anywhere in the Scriptures where Elijah was told to do this. God told Elijah to present himself to Ahab and the Spirit of God did the rest. You would think that a trench filled with water and all the wood soaked in water should not burn. This test of God was to show that God can do anything he pleases. In our finite minds we cannot think that what will be done is possible. Throughout the Bible we see God speak from a burning bush, inflict the Egyptians with plagues, part the Red Sea, feed the whole nation with manna in the desert and water from a rock.
Elijah then prays asking God to change the hearts of the people back to Him. He gives full credit and does this test so that the people will know that it is only God who can do this miracle and not anything that Elijah can do himself.