Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 18

The people declare that they will serve the true God

1 Kings 18:39

King Ahab had ordered all Israel’s people to gather on that occasion (18:19-20). So, they all saw when God sent fire from heaven in answer to Elijah’s prayer.

That event impressed them greatly – and probably, it also frightened them much. Until now, they had not been loyal to Israel’s God, the one true God (18:21). They had joined in Ahab’s acts to give honour to the false gods called Baal and Asherah.

When they then saw the fire from heaven, the people’s reaction was immediate. They lowered their bodies with their faces to the ground, to show humble attitudes. They declared that the real God is the only true God. They repeated that statement many times. They were promising to serve the Lord, the true God whom Abraham, Isaac and Jacob served. It was the Lord, the same God, who gave his laws by Moses to Israel. This same Lord was the God of Elijah.

Sadly, the later history of Ahab’s rule shows that few of these people remained loyal to the true God. Elijah seemed to believe that none of them would serve the true God (19:10). However, God told him that 7000 people in Israel would remain loyal to God (19:18). Those were the people who genuinely served God at the time of Elijah. We do not know the number of people in Israel at this time – however in Judah (Southern Israel), there were more than a million men who could fight in the army (2 Chronicles 17:14-18). So, God’s people were few - but God can do great things when even just a few people are loyal to him (1 Samuel 14:6).

Next part: The deaths of the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:40)


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