Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.”
1 Kings 18:30
On Mount Carmel, Elijah has called for a showdown between the false god Baal and the true God of Israel. Baal has not responded to the cries of his prophets. Elijah turns again to the people who have gathered. Earlier that day, Elijah had challenged the people to choose between Baal and the living God. The people’s response at that time was silence (see 1 Kings 18:21).
But Elijah gives the people another opportunity to respond. This invitation parallels the invitation of Jesus when he says, “Follow me.” In response to Elijah’s call, “Come here to me,” the people come forward and watch as Elijah prepares the altar. They participate in soaking the sacrifice, and they wait upon the Lord.
Instead of the noise of constant pleading and shouting, Elijah steps forward to pray to the living God. And the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel responds in that time and place. The soaked sacrifice is no match for the fire of God. Elijah has asked God to respond so that the people will know that the Lord who sent Elijah is the true God, who is “turning their hearts back again.”
The people’s silence is completely broken by their response to seeing God at work: “The LORD—he is God! The LORD—he is God!” Hearing the invitation is vital, but so is responding to that invitation, with voices, hearts, and lives.
O God, thank you for the invitations you give—again and again. May we hear your call and come to you, responding with our voices, hearts, and lives. Amen.
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