King Ahab and Jezebel, Part 6
As we’ve learned in our most recent part of this series, things are ramping up for Elijah. Imagine being in his shoes. As far as he can tell, he is the only one who stands on God’s side of the aisle (not counting Obadiah), because either the other prophets have been killed or are in hiding. The people of Israel caved into political correctness and in some form of another, went along with King Ahab’s wife Jezebel and her worship of Baal. Idolatry is something that the nation of Israel dealt with for generations before they were finally cured of it. Now, they’ve gone the other way and due to blindness sent by God Himself (Romans 11) in order to extend the gospel truth to Gentiles. We need to be thankful for that, but because of that blindness, they are unable to see that Jesus is God the Son and came to offer redemption for humanity, for all who will embrace it. For orthodox Jews at least, seeing Jesus as “god” means to them to be an idolater because that would mean (to them) that there are two Gods. This can’t be true, so they are closed off to this concept. They cannot see a trinity; three Persons in one Godhead.
But regarding Elijah, in his mind, he alone stands against 450 prophets of Baal in this great contest that I’m sure God placed on his heart to create. The parameters were interesting and Elijah was insistent that the sacrifices should not be set afire by any prophet. That applied to him, Elijah, as well. He wanted to leave it up to Jehovah God Himself to send consuming fire from heaven. If Baal was capable of it, then so be it. If it was Jehovah who sent the all-consuming fire, then so be it.
I mentioned last time that it was probably something that Satan (the spiritual being behind Baal and all other false gods), could likely have easily sent fire to consume what was on the altar. He not only sent fire in Job 1, but also conjured up a tornado. He was and is capable of it. However, I also believe in this particular case, God would not allow Satan to do or say anything that would make it appear that there was intelligent life supporting Baal. Satan was probably ordered into abject silence and I’m sure he hated it because he do nothing to further the chicanery that he is so well versed in.
We got through 1 Kings 18:29 last time and this highlighted the efforts of the prophets of Baal to convince Baal to do something; anything. They failed. Baal did or said nothing. He was motionless just like the statues that are created in his perceived image which have no power to do anything and must be even carried from place to place by the men who created them.
During this time, we noted that Elijah mocked the prophets (1 Kings 18:27). In my considered opinion, Elijah might have refrained from this and simply allowed the situation to speak for itself. Because he did not, he may have taken his eyes of God and put them onto himself. As I noted, mocking people is a form of arrogance and something Christians need to avoid at all costs. There is no hint that Jesus mocked people, though He was certainly often very pointed in his remarks.
I was reminded of this once again just the other day on a well-known social network. Someone posted a comment that I disagreed with but thought they were open to discussion. I quickly realized that this was not the case and soon, others got involved who posted comments that seemed completely ignorant and arrogant. They were designed to put me in my place and point out that if I was truly mature and knowledgeable, I would not hold to the position I held, but would be in agreement with them. When I pointed out that the person’s comment appeared arrogant, he of course disagreed with me saying his was simply the “truth” and he was merely stating “facts.”
Social networks are fine as long as we don’t expect much from them and as long as we keep things pleasant. However, once we enter into conversations where people tend to disagree, it’s best either to not get involved or keep things pleasant and get out as quickly as possible. It’s way too easy for arrogance to speak in place of substantive comments. The bottom line is that I have never seen anyone change his/her mind over an issue. Have you? People already have opinions and they go on their favorite social network to share those. They aren’t looking for dialogue or heartfelt discussion. They are actually only looking for others who agree with them. Those who don’t are seen as “enemies” and often treated as such. This is rarely done face-to-face though, but the anonymity of the ‘Net (even if using your real name), makes this very easy and Christians should certainly avoid this whenever possible (cf. Titus 3:9). Most of these arguments are utterly useless, as Paul notes. They serve no purpose except to puff up and destroy. Most of the arguments are over incidentals of the faith as well, which makes them even more egregious because they destroy unity and in front of non-believers who happen upon them.
In Elijah’s case, he was present at the event. He understood better than we can because we weren’t there, what was happening. He realized quite clearly that this was a contest (certainly not much of one as far as he was concerned), between God and Satan. Elijah knew who would be the Victor, but were the Israelites prepared for that? They had already abandoned God for idolatry.
In verses 30 – 40 of 1 Kings 18, Elijah wanted the people to draw close to see what is about to happen. He repaired the altar, took 12 stones representing one for each tribe of Israel and made the altar. He then had a trench dug all the way around and then had everything completely drenched in water. This was not something the prophets of Baal did, but Elijah added it to the situation now, making it even more “difficult” for God because most people would have thought won’t the water extinguish the flames even if Jehovah sends fire from heaven?
In verses 36b to 37, Elijah prays a simple prayer, one that is clearly heard by the Lord.
O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are the true God and that you are winning back their allegiance.
Elijah’s was a prayer to God and a mini-sermon to the people of Israel. The saddest part is that this entire scene should not have been necessary, but the people had fallen out of favor where God was concerned because of their penchant for idolatry and wanting to “fit in” with the people around them. Because of this, they literally cast the God of Abraham away from them and then wondered why trouble seemed to dog their footsteps. Gideon had this same problem in Judges 6. It’s because the people took their eyes off of God and slowly began to incorporate false gods into the mix, eventually fully pushing out Jehovah. It didn’t happen overnight. It took a bit of time. Because of that, the people could kid themselves into thinking that they were clueless as to why God seemed so silent and distant.
Verse 38 tells us the result of Elijah’s prayer.
Then fire from the Lord fell from the sky. It consumed the offering, the wood, the stones, and the dirt, and licked up the water in the trench.
The people’s reaction? Oh, they were dumbstruck!
When all the people saw this, they threw themselves down with their faces to the ground and said, ‘The Lord is the true God! The Lord is the true God!’
This is glorifying to God, yet at the same time, it is tragic that it needed to occur at all! The Israelites should have known better. They never should have allowed any form of idolatry to gain a foothold in their lives, but they did. Once again, without a hint of anger, God stoops to prove to them that He and He alone is God. There is no other. The Israelites are convinced and hurriedly bow down in worship.
Elijah takes this moment to order that the prophets of Baal be captured and detained. Once the prophets were rounded up, they were taken to the Kishon Valley and executed. In those days of Israel, the problem needed to be rooted out and the unfortunate part is that the only true way to root it out was through this physical form of capital punishment. It is not so today, but it was then.
The few remaining verses of chapter 18 inform us of the after effects of this contest. Elijah prayed seven times and then rain developed. As King Ahab rode back to Jezreel in utter defeat, the Lord enabled Elijah to run the 18 miles or so back to Jezreel so that he arrived before King Ahab who was on horseback.
I’m sure that Elijah – at this point – was expecting Ahab to admit defeat. Further, Elijah may also have expected what might be termed national repentance of Israel that would have started with King Ahab and worked its way down to every person throughout Israel. In a nation like Israel – a monarchy led by God – this would have occurred had Ahab repented, asked forgiveness, and promised before Jehovah and all Israel to do what was right before God.
Is this what Ahab did? We’ll be back next time to talk more about the outcome of the contest between Baal and Jehovah as well as the toll it takes on Elijah. Join me then.
Entry filed under: christianity, Cultural Marxism, Demonic, devil worship, Emotional virtue, eternity, israel, Judaism, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, Satanism, second coming. Tags: 1 kings 17, 1 kings 18, 450 prophets of baal, elijah, jezebel, king ahab, mt. carmel.