The Battle with Baal
MAY 18 - Nº 138 1 Kings 18
The famine in Israel lasted three years. Finally, God sent Elijah to King Ahab to inform him that He was ready to send rain. By then, a man named Obadiah had become the palace administrator. He was a sincere follower of the Lord. As a matter of fact, when Queen Jezebel started killing God’s prophets, Obadiah bravely hid 100 of them in caves and supplied them with food and water. One day Obadiah was out on a mission trying to find pastureland for the palace livestock. As he was walking along, he met Elijah. Obadiah recognized the prophet and bowed down. Elijah said, “Go tell the king that I am here.” When he received the message, Ahab immediately left what he was doing to confront Elijah. “There is the man who has destroyed Israel,” the king accused him angrily. Elijah replied, “I am not the one who caused this drought. You are! You abandoned the Lord’s commands so you could serve the prophets of Baal.” He instructed Ahab to bring the people of Israel to Mount Carmel—including all the prophets of Baal and Asherah. (Asherah was Baal’s female counterpart.) When everyone arrived, Elijah challenged the people, “How long will you waver back and forth? You pretend to worship God, yet you sacrifice to Baal. You can only worship one god—so make a decision!” But the people refused to respond. Elijah designed a contest to determine which deity should be worshipped. All 450 prophets of Baal were to prepare a sacrifice for their god. Elijah alone would prepare one for his God. Then Elijah announced, “The god who answers by sending fire—He is God!” Elijah let the prophets of Baal go first. They called on Baal from early morning until noon, dancing wildly and cutting themselves. But there was no answer. Elijah mocked them for the silence of their god, taunting them to yell louder, “Your god might be sleeping. You might need to wake him up!” Then it was Elijah’s turn. He rebuilt an altar that had been torn down then soaked it with water—which was hard to get during the drought. He did this three times until the trench around the altar was filled with water. Then Elijah prayed, “Answer me, oh Lord, so these people will know that You are God!” Fire came down from heaven and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the dirt around the altar. It even licked up the water in the trench. The people of Israel immediately turned back to their God. They seized the prophets of Baal and killed them. Then Elijah prayed that the drought would end. He sent his servant to the highest point on the mountain to look for a cloud. Nothing appeared. After seven trips to the top, the servant finally reported that he saw a small cloud the size of a man’s hand. That cloud grew until it darkened the sky. Soon a heavy rain poured down on the parched ground. As Ahab raced down the mountain in his chariot, the power of God came on Elijah. He hiked up his robe and outran Ahab’s horses all the way back to Jezreel—about 17 miles!
Are you willing to stand up for what the Bible says is true even when others don’t? It doesn’t matter how popular a belief is or how sincere its followers are. What matters is whether or not it is true. Elijah stood alone, and God came through in a big way.