Idolatry, it sounds like a word a guy would yell from a cornere. Yet, idols are something we are all familiar with becasue we all have them; your’s might be a good job, the perfect spouse, a toned body, a good name. Whatever it is, most of us are willing to bleed to get ahold of that “one thing” that will give us the life we always dreamed of. In the end, though, there is only one thing that has the power to lead us to a life that matters…God. This week, we’ll look at Elijah and his showdown with the prophets of Baal, and ask the tough question: what is the thing that matters most in our lives?
What is the longest you ever waited in line for something? What was it? Why did you wait?
1 Kings 18:1-40
Read 1 Kings 18:1-15.
- Can anyone give us a little background here? Who is Ahab? Who is Jezebel? Who is Elijah? Why is Elijah running?
Leader’s Note: Ahab is the seventh King of the Northern Kingsom of Israel. His wife is Jezebel had encouraged him to abandon the worship of Yahweh (aka God) in favor of worshipping Baal and Asherah. Elijah is a preeminant prophet of Yahweh, and had prophesied that God would cause draught for Israel’s dosbedience.
- Why does the author of the story tell us that there is no rain? What is Ahab’s response? Why is any of that significant?
Leader’s Note: Baal was typically understood as a weather God. God’s withholding of rain is meant to show his strength over Baal and Israel’s own folly.
- What is Obadiah afraid of? What does that tell you about Elijah? What does it tell you about Ahab?
Read 1 Kings 18:16-40.
- What surpsises you in this passage?
- The people of Israel were worshipping both Baal and Yahweh. Why is this sort of thing not alright?
Leader’s Note: The oldest prayer of the people of Israel is the Shema, and it comes from the Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.” Israel’s sole defining characterstic was supposed to be their relationship with God. It is different for us?
- How do Elijah’s prayers contrast with the prayers of the prophets of Baal?
- What are some of the “false gods” that we serve in our own lives? Are there ways we “dance” and “bleed” in our effort to serve them?
- What keeps you from going “all in” in regards to living out your faith in God? Why do you think other “gods” still hold sway in your life?
- How might this story be related to the story of Jesus?
Leader’s Note: God does not demand humans to shed their blood for Him, instead he shed His Son’s blood for humanity. Like the fire, God’s Son comes down and does what no other human and no other “god” can: he offers the sacrifice Himself. In dying for humanity, Jesus suffers the consequences of our rebellion and restores our relationship back to God, which is what ultimately happens at the end of 1 Kings 18.
- How might your life look different if you gave up false Gods, and solely lived for the god of Elijah? What might you do differently?
Leader’s Note: People may resort to “churchy” answers here. Press harder for more concrete answers, how would daily actions and our attitudes change?