Thoughts for the Day

Friday, 24th September 2021: Elijah: 2

Baal Prophet 1 Kings 18 Elijah

Reading : Verses from Elijah, Chapter 18

Elijah

Elijah then came near to all the people, and said, 'How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.' The people did not answer him a word. Then Elijah said to the people, 'I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal's prophets number four hundred and fifty. Let two bulls be given to us; let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it; I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire is indeed God.'

So the prophets took the bull that was given them, prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, crying, 'O Baal, answer us!' But there was no voice, and no answer....At noon the prophet Elijah mocked them...' Then they cried aloud and, as was their custom, they cut themselves with swords and lances until the blood gushed out over them....but there was no voice, no answer, and no response.

Then Elijah said to all the people, 'Come closer to me'; and all the people came closer to him. First he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down; Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob....with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. Then he made a trench around the altar... He said, 'Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt-offering and on the wood.' Then he said, 'Do it a second time'. Again, he said, 'Do it a third time'; and they did it a third time, so that the water ran all round the altar and filled the trench also with water.

At the time of the offering of the oblation, the prophet Elijah came near and said....'Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.' Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the bunt-offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and even licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, 'The Lord indeed is God; the Lord indeed is God.'

(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Thoughts

The story above is cut a little, but we still get a real picture of what happens - of the bravery of Elijah against a king who hates him, and the prophets of Baal who seek to destroy the worship of God. The ridiculous amount of water applied to the offering is crazy, but the confidence of Elijah in God is amazing. With this demonstration the people cannot help believing that the God of Israel is 'indeed God'

This story may be a somewhat colourful one, but having read it through can we ask ourselves the following questions:

  1. What is my "Baal" - what attracts me away from the worship of God (say on, a Sunday morning)?
  2. Do I need God to answer my prayer in an over-the-top manner?
  3. Am I content to leave my prayer with God, to answer in His way, whatever that is?

Prayer

Lord God,
teach me to see what attracts me away from You;
that I forget time and place;
so that I ignore You
and place You on the edge of my world.
Teach me to leave my prayers with You,
for You to answer in Your way,
and to know that Your solution
will always be best.
Amen.


Follow Up Thoughts

Learn more about Elijah:

The Angel Gabriel says to Zechariah the father of John the Baptist, that his son will prepare the people for the coming of Jesus, and that be will be imbued with the 'Spirit and power of Elijah'. Click on the link below for the 'Days of Elijah' official video by Robin Mark. It's really good!

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