Lesson 46

Elijah and The Priests of Baal

"If the LORD be God, follow him."
1 Kings 18:21

Elijah the Tishbite was a faithful servant and prophet of God. At that time Ahab was the king of Israel. His wife, Jezebel, who was exceedingly wicked, prayed to the gods of her father—Asherah, the goddess of wood represented in trees and wooden poles; and Baal, represented in stone pillars. She also brought hundreds of false prophets from her home in Tyre so they could teach the people to pray to them too. Worst of all, they killed the true prophets of Jehovah.

Elijah (whose name means "my God is Jehovah") boldly faced the powerful Ahab and told him there would be a great drought in the land for many years. This angered King Ahab and he sought to kill Elijah. But God was protecting the prophet and told him to hide near the brook Cherith where he sent ravens to feed him twice a day. Eventually the brook dried up. However, God continued to protect Elijah by sending him to the home of a widow and her little son who were almost out of food. Through Jehovah’s power, Elijah caused her containers of meal and oil to stay full until the rains returned. Later, he restored the widow’s son to life after he had died of an illness.

Finally Elijah returned to Israel, not to surrender to the king, but to show the people that Jehovah is the true God. He called together over eight hundred priests and prophets of Baal and told them to prepare a sacrifice to their god. Elijah also built an altar and a bullock was placed on each altar. Elijah and the priests would each pray for their gods to consume the sacrifices with fire.

All day long the heathen priests called upon Baal to accept their sacrifice. There was no response. The prophets called loudly and leaped up and down at the altar. Finally they cut themselves with knives, shedding much blood. Still Baal did not answer.

Elijah had several barrels of water poured upon his sacrifice until it was completely soaked! Then Elijah prayed to Jehovah and immediately fire came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifice, and even licked up the water in the trench around the altar. The people fell on their faces before Jehovah, convinced that he was the true God. All the priests and prophets of Baal were killed and the rains returned to water the earth.

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