And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be know this day that thou art God in Israel. I Kings 18:36-38

Let it be known!

O, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, let it be known!

We beseech Thee O, Jehovah! let it be known that Thou art God, and that we are Thy servants, and that we have said and done all these things in Thy name, and according to Thy word!

Always, throughout the ages, this is the earnest supplication of the Church in the world. The predeluvian saints cried for it; the prophets of Israel looked forward to it; the inspired psalmist sang of it; the Anointed of God Himself longed and prayed for it; the souls under the altar grow impatient as they wait for it; the Spirit and the bride would hasten the clay of it. . . .

Let it be known that Thou art God, and that we are Thy servants!

It is the cry for the theodicy, for the justification of God, His cause, His covenant, His servant, His people in the world.

For frequently, in this world, judged by the criterion of things that are seen, the cause of the Son of God suffers defeat. Many are the false gods, and the powers of darkness increase. And they occupy positions of power and influence, and are strong and prosper. And they that stand for the name and covenant of Jehovah, the servants of the Most High, are persecuted and killed all the day long. The name of the Lord is a reproach and shame, and there is no avenger. And so they, the servants of Jehovah, who are His witnesses and representatives in the world, long and yearn, pray and cry out for the day of perfect justification when “ their innocence shall be known to all, and they shall see the terrible vengeance which God shall execute on the wicked, who most cruelly persecuted, oppressed and tormented them in this world . . .and their cause which is now condemned by many judges and magistrates, as heretical and impious, will then be known to be the cause of the Son of God.” (Conf. Belg. 37).

Let it be known!

Such was the prayer of Elijah on Carmel. It was but an instance of, a strong expression of the longing that is always in the hearts of the witnesses of Jehovah in the world.

A special reason there was for this fervent prayer.

The covenant of the Lord was trampled under foot and His glory was trodden in the dust by the very people that had been called and formed to proclaim His praises. The wicked violators of God’s precepts were in power, and a foreign God had been introduced into the land of Jehovah by a cruel and hateful foreign woman. The priests and prophets of Baal were in honor, and filled the land with their abominations, and the prophets of the Lord God of Israel were persecuted and killed. The whole land appeared to have apostatized from the living God and to have turned after the foreign idol, for even those that did not bow the knee to Baal were fearful, and dared not openly protest against the abounding wickedness. . . .

And in the wilds of Gilead, Elijah, that stood before God, had kneeled down and earnestly prayed that God might shut the heavens and withhold the rain, in order that it might be known that He, and not Baal, is God.

And Jehovah had heard. For three years and six months the windows of heaven had been shut, and the hand of the Lord had been heavy upon the worshippers of false gods.

Had it become known that Jehovah is God?

The word of the Lord had commanded Elijah to return, and to show himself to the wicked king of Israel, for God would send rain again. Had the judgment of the drought, then, borne fruit?

The prophet had met the king, and he had revealed himself as being only embittered and hardened by the stripes which the scourge of Jehovah had laid upon his back. And he had commanded the wicked sovereign to gather all the people and all the prophets and priests of Baal to Mount Carmel, a rugged range in the northern part of the land, stretching in a northwesterly direction to the Mediterranean Sea. There the people were gathered. There also the representatives of the opposition were present in force, although the four hundred prophets of the groves that ate at Jezebel’s table had been kept at home by the wily queen, who, no, doubt, foreboded only calamity for them if they should attend.

Had the people turned back to Jehovah?

Had it become known, then, that the Lord is God and that Baal is nothing but vanity and deceit?

Solemnly and definitely the challenge had been presented to them by the servant of the Lord: “If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.”

But the people had answered not a word!

O, God! let it be known!

But how shall it be made known?

How shall it be shown convincingly, so that all must admit that Jehovah is God, and all the mouths of the opposition are stopped?

Shall the prophet preach and testify? Shall he demonstrate to them from Moses how the Lord had delivered them with a mighty hand from the power of proud and wicked Egypt, how He had led them through the Red Sea on dry ground, and, in the very path of their salvation had destroyed the enemy behind them, how He had led them into and through the wilderness, had made His covenant with them, chastised them for their rebellion in the desert, but fulfilled His promises unto them, nevertheless, and had given them this land of Canaan for an inheritance? Shall he preach to them the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, their fathers? . . . .

But why should he? Did they not know? . . . .

With them, surely, their rebellion and apostasy was not a matter of mere ignorance.

Shall he, then, enter into a dispute with the four hundred and fifty priests of Baal, that were present? Shall there be an open debate between them and himself on the proposition that Jehovah is God alone, and shall he logically demonstrate the proposition before all the people, and refute all the arguments of his opponents in favor of Baal, that their mouths may be stopped, and they be forced to admit that the Lord is God?. . . .

But how would such a thing be possible? . . . .

Does not the question concern GOD? And is not God the Invisible? Does He not dwell in Eternity? And is not the Eternal beyond the reach, always exactly beyond the reach of time? Is not the Infinite outside of the scope of the finite? And is, for that very reason, the attempt to demonstrate and prove the existence of God not doomed to failure? Baal could be demonstrated, indeed, and by that very fact would fall within the scope of things vain and finite. But how could man demonstrate the living God? . . . .

And, if possible it were, how futile would be the attempt!

For when was ever the mouth of the enemy stopped by logical argument? Were even these prophets of Baal, these sons of iniquity, ignorant of the fact that Baal was a vanity, and that he had not created the heavens and the earth? Did they not worship Baal because they loved darkness rather than light? Did they not serve him because they delighted in the pleasures of iniquity? And can logical refutation ever have the result of turning the wicked from their evil way? Are not the invisible things of God, from the creation of the world, clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made? And do not wicked men hold the truth in unrighteousness? . . . .

O, God! let it be known!

Let it be known that Thou art God, that I am Thy servant, that I have done all these things at Thy word, and that Thou has turned the hearts of this people back again!

Yes, indeed, if it is to be known to friend and foe that Jehovah is God, so known that the mouths of the enemy are stopped, and that all acknowledge His sole Lordship, then He must reveal Himself from heaven, and that, too, at the word of His servant, in all the majesty of His power!

Revelation of the terrible majesty and power of the living God!

That is Carmel!

Not logical demonstration, but manifestation. On Carmel God is not the subject of a cool and philosophical round table discussion, in which men all the time speak about Baal, never of the living God; nor is He the proposition of a public debate for the entertainment of an audience. . . .

It is the revelation of the living God, the Friend of His own, the terror of the wicked. . . .

And that, too, as an answer to the prayer of His servant.

It is judgment!

Let it be known!

And let it be known precisely in the way of my prayer, and through the ‘visible means I have prepared as Thy servant!

Such is the meaning of Elijah’s supplication.

For the prophet had indeed presented a definite proposition to the people, by which not he, but the Lord Himself would show that He is God, and would expose the vanity of Baal.

A sacrifice they would prepare, both he and the priests of Baal, each to Him whom they professed to be their God. Thus they would express their acknowledgement of Him as God. They would confess Him, express their desire to glorify Him as God, declare that they would consecrate themselves and their all to Him, and beseech from Him a token of His favor towards them. For such was the meaning of the sacrifice they would offer. Only, they would present the sacrifice without bringing it; they would prepare their offering without really offering it; they would leave it to whomever is God to take His own sacrifice from their willing hands. For this purpose they were to build their altars, kill their bullocks, lay their wood in order upon their altar, but refrain from putting fire under it. And He that would accept the sacrifice by sending fire to light and burn it, would be God!

Such was the prophet’s proposition.

And the priests of Baal had accepted! They had taken the prophet’s proposition, not, indeed, because they felt any measure of assurance that their God would answer by fire from heaven, for well they knew that their cause was vain, but because they were compelled and could do naught else. No doubt, they hoped to gain time, and would watch for an opportunity secretly to carry their own fire to the offering. And they had been given the first opportunity, for they were many, so the prophet had said somewhat ironically, while in reality it had been his purpose that they, and the vanity of their idol, should be exposed, a purpose that could not have been attained if Elijah’s prayer had been heard before they had had their opportunity.

And they had prepared their altar and their sacrifice.

And they had prayed. . . .

Prayed they had as all the wicked pray. All day long they implored their god, as if they might move him by their vain repetitions, him that had ears but could not hear. Frantically they prayed, leaping on the altar, cutting themselves with knives, as if their god could be moved to pity them by their sufferings. And vainly they prayed. . . .

And Elijah, standing near and watching, lest as they leap upon the altar they carry fire to the offering, mocked. . . .

“Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he is sleeping, and must be awakened!”

And beware, lest you sympathize with these sons of the devil, and condemn the prophet of Jehovah for his cruelty! Indeed, many might be inclined so to judge in our God-forsaken age with its show of religion, its supercilious piety, and its love of the world rather than of the living God! But rather remember that these crying and wailing and leaping hypocrites were haters of God and His people, had lived upon the fat of the land and flattered the pride of a wicked queen, and had persecuted to the death the prophets :of the Most High. . . .

Let them be, mocked that their hypocrisy may be exposed!

Till the time of the evening sacrifice, and till there was no breath left in them to cry, they prayed.

And now it was time for Jehovah’s servant to act.

An old altar of Jehovah on which the faithful were wont to bring their sacrifices to God, but that had been broken down, he boldly restored in protest. With equal boldness, and before the face of the king, he protested against the schism between Judah and the ten tribes, by building his altar with twelve stones, and by pouring twelve barrels of water into the trench he had dug round about the altar, and on the sacrifice and on the wood, to remove all possible suspicion that somewhere there was a hidden coal glowing among the wood.

Then he prayed. . . .

Quite in contrast to the vain and frantic repetitions of the priests of Baal, in the calm assurance that he acted as the servant of Jehovah, and that he prayed according to the will of the Most High, knowing, therefore, that Jehovah was not only able to grant his petition, but that He would surely hear his prayer and fulfill his request, briefly, yet earnestly, he prayed: “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their hearts back again.”

And the answer comes at once!

Fire flashes from heaven, consumes the sacrifices, the wood, the stones, everything; and licks up the water in the trench!

God let it be known!

And struck to the ground by the revelation of His terrible majesty in this hour of judgment, all the people fall on their faces, and acknowledge that Jehovah is God. Elijah and the seven thousand are vindicated. The priests of Baal are slain. . . .

And He will let it be known!

For He raised up the Lord Jesus from the dead, and exalted Him at His right hand!

Through Him He will let it be known to all that He is God!

Till all shall bow the knee and every tongue confess!

Come, Lord Jesus!