Vengeance Belongs to the Lord

1 Kings 18:40 – And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there.

Some years after Elijah’s showdown on Mount Carmel against the 850 prophets of Baal, two of the disciples James and John, fondly called the “Sons of Thunder” ask Jesus, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them [a Samaritan Village that rejected Jesus]? But he turned and rebuked them.” (John 9:54-55) 

In shocking arrogance, the two disciples thought they could snap their fingers and call down fire from Heaven as Elijah had. Jesus rebuked them because God alone sends the fire of judgment, and that is not the place of His servants, even the disciples, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19) We may think someone deserves one punishment but ultimately, it’s better that God decides than we do. 

Today, although these people no longer live, their demons do. They continue their same work today, as they did in Elijah’s day, in everything from politics, to business, and religion. They continue to oppose, threaten, and even silence those who speak the Word of God truly and boldly as Elijah did. These same spirits cause the same fear in many of God’s people as they did in the past. 

Today, a statue of Elijah stands on Mount Carmel in his honor. He, however, is a normal person with an abnormal faith. He’s not as superhero, as James 5:17 (NLT) says, “Elijah was as human as we are…” In this magnificent scene, the apex of Elijah’s life, and one of the most astounding moments in world history, his humanity and imperfection were evident. 

Lastly, when Elijah said in 1 Kings 18:22, “…I only, am left a prophet of the Lord…”, he was feeling perhaps a bit arrogant and even sorry for himself. When he had met Obadiah, he was told, “I hid a hundred men of the Lord’s prophets” (1 Kings 18:13). In Elijah, we see that God does perfect work through imperfect people, which should only encourage us to do whatever work the Lord has for us. 

When have you tried to punish someone when you should’ve let the Lord decide their punishment (whether it’s in this life or in eternity)?

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