One Who Answers With Fire

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Still 'fine-tuning' our process. You can get to the original article HERE

NOTE: THIS ARTICLE is a reprint from the blog of reverend Kevin Rogers of New Song Church in Windsor, Ontario and is reproduced here for your convenience. You can visit the his blog called "The Orphan Age" HERE.


Elijah lays out the terms of the test and gives first
options to the priests of Baal and Asherah. In the events that follow, we will
see that Elijah gives them every advantage to rule out any disclaimer of him manipulating
the conditions in his own favour.

 

1 Kings 18:

22 Then
Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal
has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us.
Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves and let them cut it into pieces
and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull
and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 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—he is God.”

Then all the people
said, “What you say is good.”

 

 

The Lord is often associated with fire in the OT. Other
ancient sources suggest that Baal was thought to control fire and lightning.
The question here is, who really controls the fire?
[1]

 

To make a comparison between Yahweh and Baal, the people
would have two sides both making the same claim. So how do you prove which god
is the true one?

 

1 Kings 18:

25 Elijah
said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first,
since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light
the fire.” 26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it.

Then they called on the
name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there
was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had
made.

27 At
noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely, he is a god!
Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and
must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed
themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood
flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic
prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no
response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

 

 

What an exhausting attempt by the priests to summon Baal.
But that is the nature of false religion. When you are committed to falsehood,
you will double down out of blind commitment to your ideology.

 

So, what can we make of Elijah’s provocation? Why does he
taunt them and make suggestions of why Baal wasn’t answering?

 

The gods of Canaan, Mesopotamia and Greece were
understood to possess many human characteristics, including vices and some bodily
functions. Elijah was therefore taunting the prophets with their own possible
explanations for Baal’s indifference. A passage in the Baal Cycle from Ugarit
describes the challenge of finding Baal when he is not in his house, and
another text describes his death, an integral part of the annual cycle
.
[2]

 

But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid
attention. Eventually bad ideas can lose their attractiveness. The people have
been watching this drama unfold without any results except priests hurting
themselves. These same people had believed the lie about Baal being able to
bring the rain and fertility, but now they had to wonder.

 

 


See also....
The Spirit Of Christmas

[1] The ESV Global Study Bible ©2012 by Crossway. All
Rights Reserved

[2] NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible ©2016 by
Zondervan

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