1 Kings 18:20 – So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel.
The battle in Israel, just like the war in Heaven (Revelation 12:7-9), was over who got to sit on a throne. Isaiah 14:13-14 says of Satan and demons, “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly…I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’”
The demonic king Ahab sat on David’s throne in Israel. God had been very clear that David’s throne was under His throne, as well as several traits regarding those who sat on David’s throne:
- Had to be a Hebrew who married a Hebrew
- Lived in obedience to the Word of God in the fear of the Lord
- Guarded his heart from the false trinity of greed, pride, and pleasure
- Cared for God’s children with the love that he had for his own children
- Led the nation in singular devotion to the Lord (Deuteronomy 17:14–20).
Ahab did exactly the opposite of everything God commanded. Ahab was not God and, unless he was a servant of God, the real God would remove him from the throne. Amid the Elijah story, 1 Kings 22 reports this two-throne truth. The first thrones are occupied by the rulers of the northern and southern kingdoms, “Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah were sitting on their thrones, arrayed in their robes” (1 Kings 22:10). The second throne is revealed to be God’s throne in the unseen realm ruling over all thrones in the seen realm, “I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left” (1 Kings 22:19).
The battle at Mount Carmel was ultimately spiritual warfare between God’s throne on earth, and whether He would permit Satan to occupy it through Ahab and Jezebel. The scene is very public, as this is an evangelistic moment. Elijah does not speak much to the false prophets. Instead, he speaks to the fearful people.
In that day, just as in our day, many of God’s people were apostate, lukewarm, and living compromised lives. They saw the religious schools closed and religious leaders killed, so they decided to dilute their faith rather than destroy their life. Like Billy Graham at an old school crusade, Elijah was calling the people to a decision saying, “‘…If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.’ And the people did not answer him a word.” (1 Kings 18:21)
The people did not answer, because they wanted to see who won the fight before they declared their allegiance. They were living by sight, not by faith. However, God graciously and patiently pursues them as He does us.
How do you respect godless government leaders without following them if their laws oppose God’s laws?
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