The Lord God or Baal?

from Lynda Lindsey

Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing. I Kings 18:21

“Get two bulls for us. Let them 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. 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.”   I Kings 18:23-24(a)

Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—-He is God! The Lord—-He is God!”  I Kings 18:38-39

Elijah, God’s prophet and spokesman to wicked King Ahab and the king’s equally wicked Queen Jezebel, disgusted by the corruption and depravity of idol worship, put a challenge to the people. Which God would they serve, God or Baal? Elijah’s confrontational question to the people: how long will you waver between two opinions?Wavering is indecision about opinions or courses of action. Elijah desired God’s people to take a stand, to stop being indecisive about God, to return to true worship, and to renounce loyalty to all counterfeit, pagan gods. 

A challenge is a query to explore the truth or validity of an issue and then act on what is proven right. In this case sacrifices would be prepared by the Baal worshipers and by Elijah, each side calling upon the name of their god or the Lord God. The god who answered by fire—-he is God. So it ensued that the Baal worshipers called on Baal from morning until evening. They danced, they shouted loudly, they slashed themselves frenziedly, blood flowing in crimson rivulets.  To no avail. There was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention. Silence.

Elijah, next up, repaired the ruined altar of the Lord. He dug a trench, arranged the wood, and laid the offering on top. Three times he had four large water jars drench the sacrifice, filling the trench. He prayed. Powerfully, yet simply, he called on Israel’s God to show Himself as God and turn the people’s hearts back to true worship. And God answered! I AM showed Himself in power, righteousness, purity, and holiness!  Fire fell from heaven, consuming everything! Everything! The people fell face down, crying out in reverent fear, “The Lord—-He is God! The Lord—-He is God!

Modern culture may be too sophisticated to serve Baal. But we have our own idols. The only blood necessary is the crimson tide that flowed from Jesus on the cross. The question remains: The Lord God or Baal? What say you?