Remember when Elijah had that competition with the priests of Baal? Yahweh versus Baal? Baal had it much easier. Wood and a bull animal–let Baal set fire to them. Go ahead! Do something, Baal! But nothing happened. Not a thing!
Now for Yahweh, the God of Israel, there is wood and a bull, but also water drenching and soaking this sacrificial site. Will Yahweh send down fire? Can He?
Which god is the true one? Baal? Called the god of fire and water? The ancients picture him standing, holding both his hands upright, with one hand holding a hammer for thunder; and, in the other, lightning bolts. He has bull’s horns on his head, symbolizing virility. The god of fire! Should be a piece of cake for Baal? Cry out to Baal, O you his priests! Cry out! Or just cry!
You know the outcome. The true God, Yahweh of Israel, overcomes all the obstacles. Fire falls from heaven, a blazing inferno leaves a scorched, desert wasteland.
Baal? A fireless flop! His fire extinguished. His priests a bunch of crybabies.
Many times Yahweh God is associated with fire in the Old Testament. Moses at the burning bush. By night in the scary, cold desert during Israel’s forty wandering years, providing warmth and light.
In our Bible text today, we see Elijah and Elisha walking and talking together when suddenly a chariot and horses appear surrounded by, yes, fire! All heaven breaks loose!
I was thinking about something. When stress and worry heat up my life, might it be the moment to step back, seeing what the Lord has in mind? Not to fear the ‘fire’ or fight it, but to let it be for my guidance and comfort. Think about that for awhile. Stay near the fire for a change, sensing His presence with us in the flames much like what Daniel’s three friends experienced (read Daniel 3).
Fire–not to hurt us but to light our way. Maybe we’ll experience a proverbial ‘cloak from heaven’ giving us new purpose and direction in life as it did for Elisha.
Don’t doubt this for a second. He has more in store for us. More than we can even imagine. Let the fire and light shine!
Prayer: Lord, we need strong faith to see you in the fires of life. To trust your power, love and kindness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.