One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18. Here is a summary of the passage:
There was a great famine in the land of Israel under King Ahab, who had led the Jews into a period of idolatry. The prophets of Baal-who numbered four hundred and fifty-were made the spiritual leaders of Israel under Ahab’s leadership. The prophets of the true God were banished to live in caves in the surrounding mountains. God sent word to Elijah to confront the king to rectify the situation…
So, Elijah headed off to speak to Ahab face to face. He was not greeted warmly. Ahab insulted him upon arrival, calling him a “troubler of Israel.” Unflapped, Elijah let the king know that he was the one who had brought trouble because of leading the people to idol worship.
Elijah then decided to lay it all on the line. He told Ahab to assemble all the people in the surrounding region to mount Carmel. Then, he issued a challenge to the prophets of Baal. He basically said, We are going to make two altars. You call on your god, and I’ll call on mine. The one who sends fire from the sky is the true God, then everyone will know who they should be worshipping.
I know. Elijah was a freaking gangster.
So, the masses assembled for a great spiritual bout. The prophets of Baal were given the floor first. They pro- ceeded cry out to their false god day and night, cutting themselves and dancing around their altar like morons. But, nothing happened of course. Not so much as a single spark or ember comes from their altar.
To build the drama, Elijah decided talk a little trash. He asked the false prophets if their God was traveling or asleep or on the toilet. Then, Elijah decided to get serious. He told them to cover his altar with hundreds of gallons of water, just to make sure everyone knew there was nothing remotely flammable on the altar.
Then, Elijah prayed to Jehovah…
And God answered by sending fire from the sky.
His inferno was so all-consuming that it burned up everything-even the hundreds of gallons of water surrounding the altar. Everyone in attendance turned back to the true God. The false prophets were then killed, and rain came to the land. The people were saved from the famine.
I read this story and it seems ridiculous at first glance that the Israelites ever worshipped Baal. But when I looked deeper into this passage I realized Baal worship actually may have made “sense.” See, Baal was a weather diety, and the true God had yet to end the famine. So rather than wait patiently on Jehovah, the Israelites took a more “practical” approach to solving their problems. Unfortunately, they put their faith in a man-made answer (Baal), and one who would ultimately let them down.
Idolatry is just that-trusting in man-made answers. And though science or reason or man-made philosophies may make some sense on paper, we are men who must walk by faith, not by sight. In every aspect of life, though some may think it foolish, we call on a God who always provides for us, and who will always prove idols to be false.
What problems do you face currently? Are they financial? Are they physical? Are they relational? Walk as Elijah did. Defy the trends, philosophies, and “reason” of this age. The one true God will show, with fire if necessary, that He is the only solution you require.
The Tin Soldiers is a book for men. That is, men who are need of a little spiritual boost. That is is, men who don’t like to read. That is is is, men who are searching for answers to the problems that just won’t be fixed with man-made solutions. Grab a copy in print here and as an ebook here.