Irvin Wasswa

Tylertown Campus Pastor

1 Kings 18:25-29; 36-40

25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” 26 And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. 27 And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 28 And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. 29 And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.

36 And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. 37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 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. 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God.” 40 And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there.

One of the wildest stories in the Old Testament is found here in 1 Kings chapter 18. At this point in the history, the people of Israel had been exposed to the idols-Baal and Ashtaroth, the fertility god had been introduced to them and many had chosen to turn from Yahweh God and worship those false gods. Things had come to a head and Elijah confronted Ahab. He called for him to bring forth all the false prophets of Baal and meet him at Mt. Carmel for an old-fashioned showdown. Elijah set the ground rules for the showdown. The prophets of Baal were to call out for Baal to bring about fire on the altar that was set up, and Elijah was to call on Yahweh God to do the same thing. Whichever god brought about fire was going to be declared God. 

The text says that the Prophets of Baal went first and called out all morning long. They shouted, they danced, they began cutting themselves, but there was no reply. They continued to rave around and shout and cut themselves but as verse 29 says- no one answered, no one paid attention. Perhaps one of the most sobering scriptures in all the bible by the way. Then we see the true God of the universe show off when Elijah called on Him and He ran down fire from heaven and the fire consumed the altar! WOW!

Hey friend- aren’t you glad you follow and serve the God who hears? Listen, our God is not asleep, He is awake all the time (Psalm 121). Our God is not dead, He is alive, well and in control! (Revelation 1:4-8). Because of this reality we can run to Him in prayer knowing that He hears us and desires to respond. As I mentioned earlier, one of the most sobering passages in all the scripture is when we see the prophets of Baal trying to conjure up a response from them. May we choose to call on the name above every name in confidence, knowing that He hears us!