Sunday, March 2, 2008

Elijah and the Prophets of Baal

Elijah Kills the Prophets of Baal

1 Kings 18

1During the third year without rain, the LORD spoke his word to Elijah: “Go
and meet King Ahab, and I will soon send rain.” 2So Elijah went to meet Ahab.

By this time there was no food in Samaria. 3King Ahab sent for Obadiah, who
was in charge of the king’s palace. (Obadiah was a true follower of the LORD.
4When Jezebel was killing all the LORD’S prophets, Obadiah hid a hundred of
them in two caves, fifty in one cave and fifty in another. He also brought them
food and water.) 5Ahab said to Obadiah, “Let’s check every spring and valley in
the land. Maybe we can find enough grass to keep our horses and mules alive and
not have to kill our animals.” 6So each one chose a part of the country to search;
Ahab went in one direction and Obadiah in another.

7While Obadiah was on his way, Elijah met him. Obadiah recognized Elijah,
so he bowed down to the ground and said, “Elijah? Is it really you, master?”

8“Yes,” Elijah answered. “Go tell your master that I am here.”

9Then Obadiah said, “What wrong have I done for you to hand me over to
Ahab like this? He will put me to death. 10As surely as the LORD your God lives,
the king has sent people to every country to search for you. If the ruler said you
were not there, Ahab forced the ruler to swear you could not be found in his
country. 11Now you want me to go to my master and tell him, ‘Elijah is here’?
12The Spirit of the LORD may carry you to some other place after I leave. If I go
tell King Ahab you are here, and he comes and doesn’t find you, he will kill me!
I have followed the LORD since I was a boy. 13Haven’t you been told what I did?
When Jezebel was killing the LORD’S prophets, I hid a hundred of them, fifty in
one cave and fifty in another. I brought them food and water. 14Now you want me
to go and tell my master you are here? He will kill me!”

15Elijah answered, “As surely as the LORD All-Powerful lives, whom I serve,
I will be seen by Ahab today.”

16So Obadiah went to Ahab and told him where Elijah was. Then Ahab went
to meet Elijah.

17When he saw Elijah, he asked, “Is it you—the biggest troublemaker in

18Elijah answered, “I have not made trouble in Israel. You and your father’s
family have made all this trouble by not obeying the LORD’S commands. You
have gone after the Baals. 19Now tell all Israel to meet me at Mount Carmel. Also
bring the four hundred fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of
Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

20So Ahab called all the Israelites and those prophets to Mount Carmel.
21Elijah approached the people and said, “How long will you not decide between
two choices? If the LORD is the true God, follow him, but if Baal is the true
God, follow him!” But the people said nothing.

22Elijah said, “I am the only prophet of the LORD here, but there are four
hundred fifty prophets of Baal. 23Bring two bulls. Let the prophets of Baal choose
one bull and kill it and cut it into pieces. Then let them put the meat on the wood,
but they are not to set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull, putting the meat on
the wood but not setting fire to it. 24You prophets of Baal, pray to your god, and I
will pray to the LORD. The god who answers by setting fire to his wood is the
true God.”

All the people agreed that this was a good idea.

25Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “There are many of you, so you go
first. Choose a bull and prepare it. Pray to your god, but don’t start the fire.”

26So they took the bull that was given to them and prepared it. They prayed to
Baal from morning until noon, shouting “Baal, answer us!” But there was no
sound, and no one answered. They danced around the altar they had built.

27At noon Elijah began to make fun of them. “Pray louder!” he said. “If Baal
really is a god, maybe he is thinking, or busy, or traveling! Maybe he is sleeping
so you will have to wake him!” 28The prophets prayed louder, cutting themselves
with swords and spears until their blood flowed, which was the way they
worshiped. 29The afternoon passed, and the prophets continued to act like this
until it was time for the evening sacrifice. But no voice was heard; Baal did not
answer, and no one paid attention.

30Then Elijah said to all the people, “Now come to me.” So they gathered
around him, and Elijah rebuilt the altar of the LORD, which had been torn down.
31He took twelve stones, one stone for each of the twelve tribes, the number of
Jacob’s sons. (The LORD changed Jacob’s name to Israel.) 32Elijah used these
stones to rebuild the altar in honor of the LORD. Then he dug a ditch around the
altar that was big enough to hold about thirteen quarts of seed. 33Elijah put the
wood on the altar, cut the bull into pieces, and laid the pieces on the wood.
34Then he said, “Fill four jars with water, and pour it on the meat and on the
wood.” Then Elijah said, “Do it again,” and they did it again. Then he said, “Do
it a third time,” and they did it the third time. 35So the water ran off the altar and
filled the ditch.

36At the time for the evening sacrifice, the prophet Elijah went near the altar.
“LORD, you are the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel,” he prayed. “Prove that
you are the God of Israel and that I am your servant. Show these people that you
commanded me to do all these things. 37LORD, answer my prayer so these
people will know that you, LORD, are God and that you will change their

38Then fire from the LORD came down and burned the sacrifice, the wood,
the stones, and the ground around the altar. It also dried up the water in the ditch.
39When all the people saw this, they fell down to the ground, crying, “The LORD
is God! The LORD is God!”

40Then Elijah said, “Capture the prophets of Baal! Don’t let any of them run
away!” The people captured all the prophets. Then Elijah led them down to the
Kishon Valley, where he killed them.

The Rain Comes Again

41Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Now, go, eat, and drink, because a heavy rain is
coming.” 42So King Ahab went to eat and drink. At the same time Elijah climbed
to the top of Mount Carmel, where he bent down to the ground with his head
between his knees.

43Then Elijah said to his servant, “Go and look toward the sea.”

The servant went and looked. “I see nothing,” he said.

Elijah told him to go and look again. This happened seven times. 44The
seventh time, the servant said, “I see a small cloud, the size of a human fist,
coming from the sea.”

Elijah told the servant, “Go to Ahab and tell him to get his chariot ready and
go home now. Otherwise, the rain will stop him.”

45After a short time the sky was covered with dark clouds. The wind began to
blow, and soon a heavy rain began to fall. Ahab got in his chariot and started
back to Jezreel. 46The LORD gave his power to Elijah, who tightened his clothes
around him and ran ahead of King Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

The Holy Bible, New Century Version


King Ahab and his wife Jezebel worshiped Baal, the most popular Canaanite god. Baal idols were often cast in the form of a bull, which represented lust, power, and fertility. Baals were believed to supply rain for crops - an irony during this time of God - appointed drought.


God demonstrated, powerfully and dramatically, his superiority to all false gods and their prophets.


Fifty-six times in the Bible the word almighty is used. Always it is used of God; never of anyone else. God is all powerful, or omnipotent. Again we are forced to use a negative to explain the concept-there is nothing He can't do. That is a staggering idea. He has no bounds to His energy.

God can do one thing as easily as He can do another. It is no more difficult for God to create a universe than it is for Him to make a butterfly, and He does everything without losing any of His strength. Isaiah 40:28 says, "The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired:' God never needs to be replenished. Where would He go for more strength? There is no power outside of God.

Built into absolute power is the authority to use it. God not only has the power but He has the authority to do anything He wants to do. While God can do anything He wants to do, however, His will is totally consistent with His nature. That's why, for example, He cannot lie and will not tolerate sin. It is also why He shows grace and mercy.


Psalm 115:3 says, "Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” Have you ever asked the question, "Why did God do this?" He did it because He wanted to if this doesn't seem like a sufficient answer to you, it's because you don't understand God....

We worship an unchanging all-powerful God. If that makes Him seem far beyond your ability to comprehend that is good. If you think of God as someone simple enough for the human mine to understand, your god is not the true God.

What is your concept of God? Do you see Him as a timeless, infinite, all-powerful, unchanging, glorious being? Or do you, like many, tend to minimize God's greatness, preferring to think of Him as one who may be manipulated or fooled by human hypocrisy or one who may be mandated to do what we want? Such a view of God utterly pagan.

A vision of the steadfastness of our immutable God brings a sense of security and stability to our unsettled lives. And the understanding that His power is unlimited and undiminishing strengthens and encourages even the weakest believer. The natural response to that is praise an adoration that overflows in a life that worships. (From The Ultimate Priority by John MacArthur, Jr.)


Is your God too small? Take a moment to pray as you contemplate God's almighty power. Ask him to help you realize his greatness and worship him.


God Is All Powerful - Genesis 18:14; Exodus 15:6; 1 Samuel 14:6; Psalm 93:4; 115:3; Matthew 9:26; Luke 1:37; Revelation 9:6.

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