Drinking Deeply

Thursday, November 10, 2005 at 10:45 PM

Elijah and the prophets of Baal

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is that of Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18:20-46. Just the faith and complete trust in Elijah for deliverance before all the opposing servants of false Gods encourages me and always convicts me of how too often I lack faith and are not bold about who I serve.

Random fact: Elijah - Eli jah - "God (my)" "YHWY" -> My God is Yahweh. What a great name.

Because I love the story so much, I decided one day to try to write it from a first person perspective. Of course, I read a lot of my own thoughts into this, so it is by no means Scripture, but a fun excercise none the less. I've only got half of it finished, will finish the second half tomorrow.

He stood silently, robe flapping in the wind. He was weary. He had traveled a long road to get to where he was, and he knew a long road awaited him. But today he was here.

A crowd was gathered. Thousands watched. People meeting up old friends, old enemies. A fight occurred and people started shoving, but it was soon quieted.

The false prophets filed in. In two slow moving columns they parted the crowds and approached where he stood. They numbered around 450. They carried with them their tokens and ritual staffs and other relics, cheap pieces of pottery crudely molded by old men who had nothing better to do.

He was alone. He turned to the crowd and a hush fell over them. "How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him."

He was angry. But sad at the same time. These people had been led astray, they had turned from the one true God to those that were false. They committed idolotry. To the things that slandered and blasphemed God. Who did they think they were?

But today that was all going to change. He wasn’t afraid. As he saw the 800 priests milling about preparing their rituals, he smiled. Victory was at hand.

Silence. No one answered his challenge. No one offered up a word. He knew they were going to do that. They were all afraid. They felt like something was wrong, but that was the way it was always done, and these priests didn'’t do anything wrong anyways. Elijah spoke again again, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the LORD, but Baal's prophets are 450 men. Let two bulls be given to us, and let them choose one bull for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. And I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood and put no fire to it. And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the LORD, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.

The gauntlet was laid. The challenge set. A collective gasp went through the crowd. Some didn't understand, they thought it was some show.

No, it wasn'’t just entertainment, he was serious. Deadly serious. Finally, someone stepped forward and answered him, "“It is well spoken."”

Preparations began in earnest. "Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it." He said to the false prophets. A bull was quickly brought forth and was given to the prophets of Baal. They prepared it, chopping it, laying it upon wood, and began to chant. And chant. The crowd watched and waited. 10 minutes passed, 15, no response. They got louder and louder, soon the noise could be heard from a mile away. People started whispering to one another, but no one could tell over the yelling and screaming that was going on. O Baal, answer us!" But nothing happened.

He smiled. He knew. There was nothing behind the relics, there was nothing behind the chants, the prayers, the staves. There was nothing. But the people didn'’t know, at least not yet. He decided to stir them up a little bit and said, "Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened." The prophets shot him angry glances, wanting to run over and kill him right there, but the muttering of the crowd stayed them. They yelled louder, the pulled out their swords and lances and cut themselves. Still silence. The bull sat there, collecting flies and doused in oil. Nothing.

(finished tomorrow)

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