Eliyahu ~ Part 7

In my last post, we explored Eliyahu Reencounters King Ach’av in 1 Kings 18:16-19. In this post, we continue to examine Eliyahu’s encounter with Ach’av setting the stage for Eliyahu’s Finest Hour ~ Let the Fire Fall in 1 Kings 18:20-29.

20 Ach’av sent word to all the people of Isra’el and assembled the prophets together on Mount Karmel. 21 Eliyahu stepped forward before all the people and said, “How long are you going to jump back and forth between two positions? If Adonai is God, follow him; but if it’s Ba‘al, follow him!” The people answered him not a word. 22 Then Eliyahu said to the people, “I, I alone, am the only prophet of Adonai who is left, while Ba‘al’s prophets number 450. 23 Let them give us two young bulls, and they can choose the bull they want for themselves. Then let them cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood but put no fire under it. I will prepare the other bull, lay it on the wood and put no fire under it. 24 Then, you, call on the name of your god; and I will call on the name of Adonai; and the God who answers with fire, let him be God!” All the people answered, “Good idea! Agreed!”

25 Then Eliyahu said to the prophets of Ba‘al, “Choose one bull for yourselves, and prepare it first; because there are many of you. Then call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.” 26 They took the bull that was given to them, prepared it and called on the name of Ba‘al from morning till noon — “Ba‘al! Answer us!” But no voice was heard; and no one answered, as they jumped around on the altar they had made. 27 Around noon Eliyahu began ridiculing them: “Shout louder! After all, he’s a god, isn’t he? Maybe he’s daydreaming, or he’s on the potty, or he’s away on a trip. Maybe he’s asleep, and you have to wake him up.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and knives, as their custom was until blood gushed out all over them. 29 By now it was afternoon, and they went on ranting and raving until it was time for the evening offering. But no voice came, no one answered, no one paid any attention.” ~ 1 Kings 18:20-29 (CJB)

The Prophets of Ba’al Meet the God of Israel

Representatives were present from all ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom, and it was this group that Eliyahu addressed as the meeting began. His purpose was not only to expose the false god Ba’al but also to bring the compromising people back to the Lord. Because of the evil influence of Ach’av and Izevel, the people were vacillating between two opinions and trying to serve both God and Ba’al. Like Moshe (Exodus 32:26) and Y’hosua (Joshua 24:15) before him, Eliyahu called for a decision on their part, but the people were speechless. Was this because of their guilt (Romans 3:19) or because they first wanted to see what would happen next? They were weak people, without real conviction.

Eliyahu weighted the test in favor of the prophets of Ba’al. They could build their altar first, select their sacrifice and offer it first, and they could take all the time they needed to pray to Ba’al. When Eliyahu said he was the only prophet of the Lord, he didn’t forget the prophets that ‘Ovadyah had hidden and protected. Instead, he was stating that he was the only one openly serving the Lord, and therefore he was outnumbered by the 450 prophets of Ba’al. But one plus God is a majority, so the prophet had no fears. Surely the prayers of 450 zealous prophets would be heard by Ba’al, and he would answer by sending fire from heaven! (See Leviticus 9:24 and 1 Chronicles 21:26.)

By noon, Eliyahu was taunting the prophets of Ba’al because nothing had happened. The prophets of Ba’al were dancing frantically around their altar and cutting themselves with swords and spears, but still, nothing happened. Eliyahu suggested that perhaps Ba’al couldn’t hear them because he was deep in thought, or busy in some task, or even traveling. His words only made them more fanatical, but nothing happened. I loved how Stern stated in verse 27 that Ba’al might have been on the potty. [1] Very visual.

At three o’clock, the time of the evening sacrifice at the temple in Jerusalem, Eliyahu stepped forward and took charge. We are now approaching Eliyahu’s finest hour. It would become the high-water mark of his ministry. Eliyahu was waiting for the holy fire to fall. God would use this frail prophet to show the people of Israel that He is still a consuming fire.

In my next post, we continue to explore the Biblical story of Eliyahu. In this passage, we continue to examine Eliyahu’s encounter with the Prophets of Ba’al in Eliyahu’s Finest Hour ~ Let the Fire Fall in 1 Kings 18:30-40.

Click here for PDF version.

[1] It should be noted that Stern has paraphrased the Jewish Publication Society’s edition of the Tanakh. That said, several modern English translations render the phrase as “relieving himself.”

13 thoughts on “Eliyahu ~ Part 7

  1. I rather like the rendition of Elijah asking the prophets of Baal if their god was off relieving himself. I always have a visual picture of this and that translation seems to fit. There is a great application in this story to presuppositional apologetics today. There is absolutely nothing wrong with pointing out clearly and upfront the absolute voidness and incoherence of the militant atheist position. As long as we are acting in God’s authority we will have access to God’s power, just as Elijah did. The prophets of the OT were not always “nice.” Our Lord Jesus Christ was not always, “nice.” We are to love at all times, and that love does not necessarily mean tell people nice things when they believe in things that doom them to Hell.

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      1. Well…as a hardcore, fundamentalist Baptist I would say that depends LOL. But, certainly the neeed for those willing to proclaim Biblical truth even when it hurts is sorely needed today. If you are bored today, watch my noon post, as that will be bro Roger Copeland preaching from his series on Revival. I think you will like.

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      2. Actually, that is his church in Texarkana. His is a pretty big church, at least by our standards, having a few hundred on Sundays. We call 100 a big day at our place. You might like this post, Don, about our newish building. It’s not new anymore I guess, we have been in it a little over 5 years now I think. In the pictures, that’s me carrying the felt up the roof. I was on the roofing crew for the new building

        https://truthinpalmyra.wordpress.com/2015/09/19/journey-of-a-building/

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  2. Well, I’m impressed! That’s a beautiful building! I was a little concerned when you said that you took out a construction loan until I read it was already paid. One of the reasons I like our church is that it is strictly cash and carry. They are making double payments to pay off our high school and are close to being debt free on that. We are currently in a building campaign to build a new educational wing for our church to replace 18 yr old portables held together with chewing gum and duck tape. Just the engineering, architecture fees and building permits and some street improvements ran $3.2 million. That was donated by one family and what we had raised in the congregation is going towards the actual construction.I think the timeline is completion within four more years.

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