Today we struggle to overcome atheism, apathy, and sexual issues, but in Elijah’s day, he fought idolatry. Unfortunately, Israel was worshipping the false God’s Baal and Asherah (Baal’s fertility goddess). This was because the evil queen Jezebel had promoted idol worship and her husband; King Ahab (king of Israel) allowed it and bowed to the idols too.
Elijah was one of the few in Israel to be completely faithful to God refusing to bow to the idols. He made a challenge to prove to God’s people who the real and true God was. So, Elijah, the prophets of Baal and Asherah, and the people of Israel assembled on Mt. Carmel for the contest. The idol’s prophets cried out to their god and he failed to respond. Their sacrifice lay on the altar rotting.
Elijah built an altar to God, had wood and the sacrifice placed on the altar. He had a ditch dug and gallons and gallons of water poured over the sacrifice: to make it more difficult for God? No, he did it to enhance the understanding of God’s power when he would burn the sacrifice. God sent fire from heaven and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the altar and licked up the water. Pretty extraordinary! 1 Kings 18
We expect healing, we expect, the sun to stand still, we even expect donkey’s to talk, but we don’t always expect the extraordinary. I believe in the extraordinary.
The battle of Thermopylae where 300 Spartans held off the Persian army of well over 100,000 is pretty fantastic. The movie I saw didn’t show the 700 Thespians and 400 Thebans, 1400 in all that fought the battle, but 1400 is nothing compared to a massive army bent on overwhelming and destroying.
Yet, that is exactly how God used Gideon and the Israelite fighters. There were 300 in all and they saw the army of the Midianites, Amalekites and other peoples from the east, an army of 120,000 beaten. Only 15,000 of them escaped alive.
God used faith, fear, and confusion to overwhelm and overcome an army that was about to reek destruction on Israel. Gideon started with 32,000 men. By most standards, 32,000 is still too small to fight 120,000. God said, this is too many, send every home that is scared and 22,000 left. Still too many, so they went down to the water and the ones that drank by putting their face in the water were told to leave. Only 300 remained.
And God, almost 1,000 years before the Spartans fought off the Persians, thwarted the army of the Midian and her allies.
Talking dogs are all the rage. Well, if TV shows and cartoons are any indication, some dogs can talk. I’ve heard of YouTube videos where dogs are supposed be talking and sometimes it seems like they are speaking English. I think Mr. Ed’s voice was a human voice recorded to make it sound like a horse talking. I’m being silly now, but when we think an animal talks, it is probably just the natural aspect of sounds and phonetics coming together to sound like words. It happens when you listen to a recording backwards, sometimes the phonetics and sounds come together and sound like words (this is without purposeful back masking).
Do you believe that a donkey talked? There was a bad prophet of God who believes that a donkey talked. Balaam was a bad boy. He liked money and Balak the king of Moab hired him to curse Israel. God wouldn’t let him curse Israel, so whenever he spoke to curse, blessings from God came out of his mouth. Of course this upset Balak, so Balaam didn’t get paid.
Numbers 22:21ff, record Balaam’s donkey talking to him. In fact, he responded to Balaam angrily beating him for pinning his leg against a rock wall. The donkey actually saved Balaam’s life, but what thanks did the donkey get, a beating.
Animals do not naturally speak in human language, but God, being all-powerful has the ability to make them talk if he so desires, Balaam’s donkey talks and makes a fool of Balaam, and Balaam was a greedy fool who helped Balak seduce Israel into sin and then Israel received the consequences for their sin.
But fantastic things happen at God’s supernatural hand. He destroyed the world with a massive world-wide flood, and mixed up the languages at the tower of Babel, and so many things that are “wow!” to our weak human abilities.
Joshua 10:12-13 (and Habakkuk 3:11) records that the sun stood still for about a half a day at Joshua’s request so that Israel’s armies would have daylight to fight a battle to victory. Hard to believe something that fantastic could or would happen. Did it happen? There is a false story that NASA discovered the missing day in their research but, even knowing about this famous tale did the sun stand still for a half a day and Joshua reports?
Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky’s book World’s in Collision addresses many wonders of the world as reported by ancient texts, religious and otherwise, among other natural events. He has concluded that the record in Joshua 10 must be true because the effect of the sun standing still (or rather the earth failing to rotate for about 12, or 13 or 14 hours would be found in other histories of the time. Guess what, there is world-wide evidence, dozens of cultures and places around the world confirm the Biblical record (Why the Sun Stood Still, Reader’s Digest, http://tmgnow.com/repositiory/secret/velikovsky2.html).
What seems so very fantastic in the Bible that it is beyond human reason to believe that it literally and actually happened, is again found to be true! I believe in the fantastic, do you?