Yesterday we saw how Elijah challenged the 450 prophets of Baal to prove who the true God is … their Baal or his Jehovah. Today we shall see his confidence in his God.
Elijah’s relationship and knowledge of his God is so impressive that he is able to offer Baal’s prophets first shot at getting their god to send fire on the sacrifice they have to offer to prove he is real and “God”.
1Ki 18:25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.”
Naturally they respond positively, thinking they would prove their god real and the “True God”.
1Ki 18:26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “O Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.
Apart from Baal supposedly being the deity controlling rain and dew, he was believed to be the god of sun. Surely their god could do the miraculous and respond to their rituals … calling (prayers), shouting (demanding) and dancing (working themselves into a frenzy). After hours of their rituals, Elijah starts to taunt them … with classic sarcasms of the day.
1Ki 18:27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.”
This is fighting talk! ‘Surely he is a god! He is your god. You have a relationship with him.’ It’s almost like saying … ‘Is he real? Can he hear? Shout … raise your voices … all 450 of you. Has he lost his hearing? Maybe he can only focus on one thing at a time … and right now he is thinking about another issue. Or perhaps he is engaged in a business deal … but maybe he is away traveling to another country on this planet or perhaps another planet. Ah … maybe he is exhausted and is sleeping. Wake him up … shout louder … make more noise … get his attention … he is your god isn’t he?’ Some commentators even suggested that Elijah was implying that Baal was busy in the toilet! Instead of these 450 prophets turning on Elijah for mocking them and their god …
1Ki 18:28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.
Now they responded to Elijah’s taunting by taking their rituals to the next level. To their shouting, demanding and dancing frenzy they added shedding their blood with weapons of war plus “frantic prophesying” … “But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.” We know that everything they did was evil and sinister … but the truth be told, many do the same things today. What many don’t understand is that any “god” other than the God of the Bible is demonic and in the end they fail. Anyone without confidence in their god will resort to screaming at their god, chanting, dancing and fulfilling all sorts of rituals … in vain. Now Elijah has confidence in His God because he knows his God is the One, True, and Living God! He is not a man of rituals and neither does his God want rituals. Please consider carefully the confidence Elijah has in His God.
1Ki 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. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.” 34 “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again. “Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.
Surely this is extraordinary confidence! He repairs the broken altar of God using twelve stones to represent Israel as the people of God, with a trench dug around with three loads of water poured over the offering and the wood, filling the trench. If only we were there, sitting close by, watching all this drama play out. We would have seen the crowds spurring on the 450 prophets of Baal. Chanting, encouraging and perhaps praying to Baal in support as if they were supporting their favorite soccer team. After all those hours of watching the rituals and seeing blood flowing nothing happens. Then Elijah calls them to … “Come here to me.” It’s like … “You watched the fake now come and see the real deal.” This is the reason for the extent he went to repair God’s altar in the name of Israel, drenching the meat and wood with excessive water. He was confident his God would do the most amazing thing in front of the crowd, the 450 prophets of Baal and the king, Ahab. How confident are you about your God? How great is your God? Firstly, is He the God of the Bible, the Creator and Sustainer of all creation? You see the Bible declares that the God it speaks of is the only real, true God. Yes He does the most amazing things, especially raising dead souls to life through the miracle of Calvary. But secondly, as we will see, He is not just Creator, Sustainer and Saviour, he is Judge! There are so many in our day who are like the prophets of Baal. Big noises, fancy trapping, crowds following them … but … “there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.” They might use trickery to achieve results, but it is not from the true God of Elijah. If He is not your God, please make Him your God today through faith, confession of sin and repentance proving faith.
Almighty God our glorious Father, thank You for revealing Yourself to us through Jesus Christ our Lord. Thank You for being gracious to us. Amen.