One of Elijah’s Greatest Hits

Posted: July 13, 2021 in Christian, Israel

Most, if not all of the folks that have ever picked up a bible is somewhat familiar with King Ahab, Jezebel and Elijah, but how many people are familiar with Elijah’s propensity for showmanship in his service for The Lord?

In both 1st and 2nd Kings, we read of Ahab, the seventh King of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Israel had some very crummy kings, but Ahab wins a nomination for one of the worst of the lot. One of his first horrible decisions he made was to align himself with Sidon, by marrying Jezebel, the daughter of the king of Sidon. When Jezebel moved to Israel, she just happened to bring the worship of her gods Baal and his consort Asherah with her, along with 450 priests of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah. Baal was a chief god amongst her people and Asherah was some sort of “mother god of fertility”.

It is pretty clear to me reading the account of King Ahab and Jezebel that Ahab’s wife Jezebel dominated him and ruled the roost while Ahab seemed to do nothing but pout when he didn’t get his way. Not only did Jezebel introduce these strange gods to the land, but she made sure the worship of Baal was enforced throughout the land of Israel and set up altars and groves of worship in the high places around the landscape and ordered the prophets of God be killed1. One of the attributes of Baal was control of the weather and the people were supposed to offer sacrifices to him to create favorable conditions for their crops and animals. Before you know it, we find Ahab building a temple to Baal in Samaria, the capitol of the northern kingdom of Israel, and it was after this abhorrence that The Lord decided enough was enough and sent His prophet Elijah to have a chat with King Ahab about actions and his gods.

To prove which god actually elicited control of the weather, Elijah informed Ahab that the One True God was shutting up the heavens (which means no rain) for three years, causing a huge drought throughout the land. For three years the prophets of Baal went through all their rituals and gyrations to try and make it rain and for three years the only thing they achieved was to look like a bunch of clowns before the starving populace whom also had turned their backs on The Lord.

Finally at the end of three long, painful years, God sent Elijah back to Israel to see King Ahab and to issue a challenge to the 450 priests of Baal, as well as 400 prophets of Asherah to come to Mount Carmel to see who’s god could actually control the weather by making it rain and to save face, Ahab had his priests and prophets agree to the challenge.

Almost like an old west showdown, the day of the challenge came and on Mount Carmel Elijah challenged the priests, in front of a horde of spectators, to see whose god could build a fire under their respective altars. For most of the day, the priests and prophets of Baal prayed, hooted, hollered and slashed themselves while Elijah mocked their efforts as he lounged around sipping tea, doing crosswords and playing solitaire.

Finally, by late afternoon, it was Elijah’s turn and after he rebuilt the broken down altar of The Lord, and had his servants douse the altar with so much water it filled the surrounding trenches. After all this had been done he prayed to the one true God and The Lord sent down fire that consumed the burnt sacrifice on the altar as well as all of the water around it. Suddenly the people that had allowed themselves to be duped by the false priests and prophets, started praising the Lord and Elijah ordered them to seize all 850 priests and prophets which he then killed by his sword.

Afterward, Elijah told Ahab the Lord decided to end the drought and it began to rain upon the land for the first time in 36 months. Now I don’t know where Jezebel was throughout all this but it apparently came as a shock to her when Ahab informed her that all her priests and prophets had been put to death by Elijah, which didn’t go over very well with her, for she swiftly sent word to Elijah (to paraphrase) that by sundown tomorrow either he would be dead or she would be (again, it sounds like a gunfight challenge). Elijah and his servants escaped to Judah and Jezebel wasn’t able to exact her revenge, though her promise that it would be either him or her would come back to bite her in the end.

Of course, even though it looks as I am giving Elijah the credit, all of the prophesies and miracles that Elijah performed came directly from God and I believe Elijah’s gift of flair and drama came directly from the Lord also. All praise should always go to The Lord, regardless whose hand or mouth is being used to transmit His will. Elijah had a challenging, fruitful and spirit filled life in service for The Lord, but this awesome display of showmanship is most definitely Elijah’s greatest hits.

Jim 7-12-21

(1) The man in charge of Ahab’s house, Obadiah, was a God fearing man and secretly hid 100 prophets of The Lord in caves, thus saving them while apparently neither Ahab nor Elijah were aware they were still alive.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s