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The Prophets of Baal

I think we did this one a few years back on here. It's an oldie but a goodie. One of my favorite stories in the Bible.

1 Kin 18:20; So Ahab sent a message among all the sons of Israel and brought the prophets together at Mount Carmel.
1 Kin 18:21; Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people did not answer him a word.

Do you know anyone of two opinions? Do you know people who doubt that God exists?

1 Kin 18:22; Then Elijah said to the people, "I alone am left a prophet of the LORD, but Baal's prophets are 450 men.
1 Kin 18:23; "Now let them give us two oxen; and let them choose one ox for themselves and cut it up, and place it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other ox and lay it on the wood, and I will not put a fire under it.
1 Kin 18:24; "Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD, and the God who answers by fire, He is God." And all the people said, "That is a good idea."

So Elijah says... OK then... let us see who's God really has the power.

1 Kin 18:25; So Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one ox for yourselves and prepare it first for you are many, and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it."
1 Kin 18:26; Then they took the ox which was given them and they prepared it and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon saying, "O Baal, answer us." But there was no voice and no one answered. And they leaped about the altar which they made.
1 Kin 18:27; It came about at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, "Call out with a loud voice, for he is a god; either he is occupied or gone aside, or is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and needs to be awakened."
1 Kin 18:28; So they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves according to their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out on them.
1 Kin 18:29; When midday was past, they raved until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention.

So the prophets of Baal prepare an ox on their alter and pray to their god, they even cut themselves so they will bleed. I particularly like Elijah's taunting in verse 27. The NLT puts it like this.

(NLT) About noontime Elijah began mocking them. “You’ll have to shout louder,” he scoffed, “for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is daydreaming, or is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be wakened!”

Of course their god never answers. Is there any other god that can hear us?

1 Kin 18:30; Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me." So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD which had been torn down.
1 Kin 18:31; Elijah took twelve stones according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, "Israel shall be your name."
1 Kin 18:32; So with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he made a trench around the altar, large enough to hold two measures of seed.
1 Kin 18:33; Then he arranged the wood and cut the ox in pieces and laid it on the wood.
1 Kin 18:34; And he said, "Fill four pitchers with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood." And he said, "Do it a second time," and they did it a second time. And he said, "Do it a third time," and they did it a third time.
1 Kin 18:35; The water flowed around the altar and he also filled the trench with water.

I like the "one upmanship" here. Anything your god can do, My God can do better.
Not only does he build an alter and prepare an ox like the prophets of Baal... he has 4 pitchers of water poured on his altar and sacrifice... he does this three times (12 pitchers of water). There is so much water that it fill up the trench dig around the altar.

1 Kin 18:36; At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, "O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word.
1 Kin 18:37; "Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that You, O LORD, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again."

This is a great prayer... "that this people may know that You... O LORD are God!" I also like the fact that Elijah doesn't say it is of his own doing... but "You have turned their hearts".

1 Kin 18:38; Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
1 Kin 18:39; When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God."

When God answers... there is no doubt who is God. When the fire comes down from heaven it not only consumes the sacrifice, but also the water, even the water that filled up the trench.

1 Kin 18:40; Then Elijah said to them, "Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape." So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

Elijah doesn't let it go at that. He had already made his point, or rather God did. But he doesn't let the 450 prophets of Baal go free. He kills them.

Now I wouldn't recommend doing this unless you are directed by God to do this. But if God did tell you to do something like this... would you? Do you really have enough faith? (But what if God doesn't answer me?)
Where have all men of God gone?

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