I was thinking earlier about a favorite story of mine from the Old Testament so I decided to read that story again. I enjoy writing my thoughts out about some of these stories so I’ll do that and if it interests you, feel free to keep reading.
The story is from 1 Kings 18. It’s about Elijah, the prophet of God. In the story, there’s a show-down between God’s prophet (Elijah) and the prophets of the god Baal (a false god – an idol). Baal had 450 prophets who did the bidding of their false leader. That’s what I’d call being outnumbered, eh? One against 450. False teaching always gathers a larger number of followers. Keep that in mind (it will serve you well).
So these prophets are called out to prove that their god can send fire down upon an alter to burn up a sacrificial bull. Elijah will do the same: he will call upon HIS God (the One True God of the universe) and they will see who gets an answer. The prophets of Baal cut up the bull and get it all ready. From there, they begin to call upon their god (like a séance). They limp around the alter endlessly – the original root for that word (limp) would be something like “dance” or “leap.” So here they are, dancing and leaping and attempting to conjure up their false god to send fire down to the alter. Come on, god! Hear us! Do as we say! We are dancing for you! We are leaping! We are crying out! They even cut themselves to offer their own blood to their god. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. No word. No fire. No nothing. Because Baal isn’t real. It’s just a false god they serve; a god of their own imaginations.
Elijah mocks them: Where is your god? Maybe he’s tired – maybe he needs to be woken up. He watches them behave like fools for a long, long time, likely feeling a bit entertained by their attempts to ‘bring their pretend god to action.’
They finally cease their séance and Elijah steps up. This one guy – to their 450. He prepares his bull and even has them pour water all around it and all over it (three times): showing that it would be harder for his sacrifice to be burned up. He speaks on behalf of God and then the Lord sends fire down, burns everything up, and boom. Game over. No dancing needed – no hooting and hollering – no conjuring up the Holy Spirit (as some Christian churches are doing today) – no hoopla – no cutting himself – just words of authority, spoken on behalf of the God who told him to do this.
And there-in lies the key. He didn’t call out these false prophets based on his own desire to have a show-down and prove his super-duper faith in the Lord. The Lord asked him to do it and he obeyed, in faith.
Application: What is the Lord asking of you? Will you obey, in faith?