(NIV1984) 1 Kings 18:30 – “Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come here to me.’ They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which was in ruins.”
Elijah doesn’t start until time for the evening sacrifice. Is he, then, performing the evening sacrifice? Did the people help repair the altar, or was it just him alone?
Either way, Elijah repaired the altar, one which was in ruins, probably from disuse. What I want to know is where this altar originally came from, who built it and why, when it was made – the previous significance of this altar.
Also – did Elijah know there was an unused altar here when he picked this spot for the competition?
There is a metaphorical significance, too, to repairing the unused altar. The people of Israel could be seen as a kind of altar to the LORD. They had fallen into disuse because they began worshiping idols such as Baal, and the more they worshiped a false god, the more they began to break and break and became a ruin.
But Elijah, on this day, repairs the altar that has fallen into ruins. In the same way, he hopes (as we will see) to repair the people’s faithfulness to the LORD. In the same way as he rebuilds this altar, hopefully the people’s trust in the LORD will also be rebuilt and they will turn from their wicked ways.