Testing God – Part I
1 Kings 18: 22-29 (NIV)
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.”
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.
Elijah was quite bold when he challenged the prophets of Baal to a duel. The challenge was to see whose god will answer by fire on the sacrifice that they both setup. The prophets of Baal readily agreed to the challenge. Elijah must have known that Baal would not respond as he knows that there is only one true God of the universe. He taunted them to shout louder and mocked them, saying that their god is deep in thought, busy or traveling! How can these prophets of Baal accept this challenge if they have never seen their man-made god, Baal, ever do anything in their lives? Did they think that due to the large gathering of the prophets of Baal, they would have a crowd influence and finally get Baal to respond?
There are times where we have been in that situation of following our own false god or idol. We frantically try harder and harder to get our false god to respond and maybe we will be lucky and get a response. Whatever idol or false god that is in our lives, whether it be our jobs, money, relationships or anything else that is put above our relationship with God will not get the response that we want. For the prophets of Baal, there was no response. If I’m not putting God first in my life, I should also expect the same. Elijah put God to the test, but he expected a response from God as he was committed to God. He thought he was the only remaining prophet for the true God.