Tag Archives: I Kings 18

Elijah and the Fireman

The joy and excitement of last week’s Vacation Bible Adventure still resonates in my soul.  It was a great week of singing songs, making crafts, playing games and telling Bible stories.  The coordinators, Laura Holtmeier and Tonya Bushard, asked me to be the storyteller and I was able to tap some of my passion for the dramatic.  With the help of Adam Behnken,  we relived stories from the Old and New Testament.  The children were called to imagine God’s great acts of power and compassion.

One day we retold the story of Elijah confronting the 450 prophets of Baal from I Kings 18.  We had the children build an altar in a plastic tub with stone and wood. They prepared a sacrifice of chocolate as we reimaged the story.  We even had the children drench the “altar” with pitchers of water, like Elijah.  Then, prior to calling for the LORD God to send down fire, I had to intervene as a fireman.  I warned them because when Elijah called down the fire, it consumed not just the sacrifice, but the wood, stones and water.  I had to prevent the children “from burning down the church.”  Unfortunately, the chocolate was still lost due to the pitchers of water.

Our story telling may not be “historically accurate,” but it does place us in the story, participants in God’s great story.  One of my criticisms of modern Biblical studies is that we can get so bogged down in the historical analysis that we forget the story is meant to engage us as readers.  Scholarship can sometimes place us “over” the text, as a kind of superior critic, when actually God wants to place us “under” the text or “within” the story, so that our hearts, minds, imaginations can be reshaped in God’s image.

As I read the story of Elijah, and visualize the people watching this confrontation, I wonder which side I would be rooting for.  After all, Baal is the ancient version of our own idols and false gods that we give allegiance to: popularity, success, wealth and status.  Baal was the popular god of Israel at the time, that is why 450 prophets stood against Elijah.  As I enter the story, sometimes I am Elijah, but often I am one of bystanders or a prophet of Baal. Through the story, I encounter the call of God to be faithful in my time and place.

How has a Biblical story confronted you and your life?

Lord Jesus, help me to read your Word so that your Word enters into my life.

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The Contest at Vacation Bible Adventure

Singing out "God is wild about us!"

This week my blogging is down but energy is up as Resurrection hosts Vacation Bible Adventure.  I am so excited with all the volunteers who add their passion, gifts and strengths to transform Resurrection into a Pandamania Jungle as together we learn about God’s creation, Elijah’s contest, Jonah’s trip, and Peter’s denial.  I am working with a talented seventh grader Adam Behnken and creative Micki Fredin to tell the Bible stories each day. 

This morning we retold Elijah’s contest with the 450 prophets of Baal (see I Kings 18). The people of Israel were waffling in their allegiance to the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Elijah.  So Elijah challenges the prophets of Baal to a contest. Each would prepare an altar with sacrifice, but neither would bring fire.  They would each call upon their god to light the sacrificial fire. 

First the prophets of Baal tried to coax their god to send fire upon their altar.  Like those ancient prophets, the children and I shouted, danced and called for the fire, but nothing happened. Then the children imitated Elijah and prepared an altar with stones, wood and a sacrifice of “chocolate.”  They even doused the altar three times with water, just like Elijah.  But just before they called down God’s fire, a firefighter (with the initials JVK) entered to stop any fire from happening.  We did not want to burn the church down with it.  Instead we retold  the ending of I Kings 18.

Elijah cried out, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known this day that your are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your bidding.” Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones and the dust, and even licked up the water that was in the trench.  When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The LORD indeed is God; the LORD indeed is God.” (I Kings 18:36,38,39)

Where or when have you experienced God’s power?

Almighty God, send the power and fire of your Holy Spirit into our lives.