1 Kings 18: Deception – Part IV
Saturday, June 11, 2016
The Prophets of Baal
Today’s Noontime is a story we hear read out to us at least once during the liturgical cycle; it is the story of the people’s relationship with God that takes place during a time when Yahweh’s prophets were being persecuted. It is also a time of high political intrigue when the kingdom brought together under David’s leadership has split in two. Ahab, Jezebel, Obadiah, and Elijah find themselves caught up in the kind of turmoil that guarantees suffering.
Elijah, the only surviving prophet of Yahweh, appeals to the people, and allows God to work through him to remind the split nations that despite their petty squabbles God is in charge. The prophets of Baal bring all of their power and influence to bear and still they cannot best Elijah and Yahweh. This is a good story and it deserves enough reading that we can apply it to our own lives.
What or who might be the Baal prophets in our lives? Who is it we believe more than God who created us and cares for us beyond all human capacity? Who is it we follow more eagerly than Jesus who redeems and saves us daily? And who is it we love more intensely than the Spirit who guides us and counsels us every minute of our day and night?
The humor with which Elijah pits the Baal gods and their prophets against Yahweh makes today’s reading entertaining and authentic. We may want to look for the humor in our own struggle to survive the droughts and famines of our days. And we may want to ask ourselves the same question that Elijah asks his audience: How long will you straddle the issue? If the Lord is God, follow him; if Baal, follow him.
Written on June 14, 2010.