One of my favorite Old Testament stories is the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal (I Kings 18). Apart from being exciting and even a little funny, I think it’s a beautiful story of God revealing himself to a stubborn people.
Some things I love about this story
- That Elijah stands up to King Ahab knowing it could mean his life (v.18).
- That Elijah, 1 man, takes on 450 prophets of Baal because he trusts God (v. 22)…talk about being outnumbered!
- That Elijah challenges Baal to answer with fire (v.24)…Baal was the “god” of fire!
- That Elijah taunts them (v.27)…not usually a nice thing to do, but I’d say it was deserved in this situation.
- That Elijah calls the people to himself and then rebuilds the altar of the Lord (v.30)…symbolizing the work that needs to be done in the hearts of the people of Israel.
- That Elijah has 4 large jars filled with water and then dumped on the offering not once, not twice, but three times! (v.33-35)…made it perfectly clear that this was not some kind of trick.
- That Elijah prays that God would answer and make it known that he is the one true God (v.36) and God does just that!
But, the thing I love the most about this story is how the people respond in v.39. They fall to the ground and worship God! I wonder what it would have been like for them in that moment. They must have realized the foolishness of following Baal. Probably were a little scared, maybe even terrified. I wonder if they even remember how they got off track in the first place…was it related to a specific event, or was it more of a gradual process?