1 Kings 18 is a dramatic chapter where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. Divine power set fire to Elijah’s offering on the LORD’s altar. The foolishness of those following Baal was made plain and they were all killed.
In 1 Corinthians 3 Paul writes about the foundation of truth, that “I planted, Apollos watered, but only God … gives the growth” (verse 6). Paul planted an awareness of the one true God and of the relationship humans can have with Him and His Son. How wonderful to know that this living God has a purpose with humanity! How was the awareness that Paul planted growing? That awareness, that knowledge has to be developed in each one’s mind to grow into a sure faith, a foundation for all thinking and doing! It is useless to just think about Jesus and God if our thoughts fail to make any difference to our lives.
Paul makes the point, “no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (verse 11). What is the quality of building work on that foundation? Paul uses a parable to explain. Do we build with “gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay (or) straw” (verse 12)? Paul then points to the judgement to come on the day of Christ’s return when “each one’s work will become manifest”.
What a day that will be “for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he (or she) will receive a reward” (verses 13,14). And even “if anyone one’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire” (verse 15).
This is a warning to those who have followed the modern equivalents of Baal and those who are aware of the foundation but fail to build. That day will be “a day of distress and anguish” (Zephaniah 1:15). Christ is at the door and soon it will “become manifest” (evident) what we have built on the foundation Christ laid – and whether we have built at all.