The battle of the gods… Elijah challenges 450 prophets of Baal to get each God to supernaturally light a burned sacrifice with heavenly fire. I mean, timely lightning would have been ok, Baal was supposed to be god of the sky.
Turns out Jehovah is real, Baal is not.
Some things I hadn’t recalled from earlier telling of the story:
- The people he describes as “hopping between the two Gods”, but Jezebel and Ahab, Queen and king, were actively massacring prophets of Jehovah.
- When he wins, Elijah has the Baal prophets killed. This is consistent with the judgment God wants them to bring to Canaan.
- I hadn’t noticed a sort of second miracle, Elijah magically runs to the kings destination, Jezreel, faster than the king can ride a horse.
The commentators mentioned how much faith it took to stand up and do the test. And it’s interesting that even after that, Elijah has to pray 7 times for rain. Faith on faith, never doubt!
I was also struck by the use of 12… 12 stones for the altar he called fire down to. 12 buckets of water poured onto it to make sure it was a miracle that it burned. Israel has been 10 tribes in civil war with the other two for 50 years at that point, but Elijah knew the promise and the law.
We are called to be prophets in the sense of speaking truth in this world, and this story gives a vivid sense of the boldness and confident clarity you get by not only believing and having faith but by really knowing what God’s will is.
It’s an encouragement to keep reading and thinking as well as to speak out when the time is right. You speak truth best if you know a lot of the truth.