The Mockery of Baal — 1 Kings 18:25-29, 36-39

27 Apr

The image above is from Revealed: A Storybook Bible for Grown-Ups by Ned Bustard. The image is called “Prophets of Baal” as was created by Diego Jourdan Pereira.

1 Kings 18:25-29,36-39
Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “You go first, for there are many of you. Choose one of the bulls, and prepare it and call on the name of your god. But do not set fire to the wood.” So they prepared one of the bulls and placed it on the altar. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning until noontime, shouting, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no reply of any kind. Then they danced, hobbling around the altar they had made. About noontime Elijah began mocking them. “You’ll have to shout louder,” he scoffed, “for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is daydreaming, or is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be wakened!” So they shouted louder, and following their normal custom, they cut themselves with knives and swords until the blood gushed out. They raved all afternoon until the time of the evening sacrifice, but still there was no sound, no reply, no response. At the usual time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command. O Lord, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O Lord , are God and that you have brought them back to yourself.” Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The Lord —he is God! Yes, the Lord is God!”

Dear God, before I get into the image the Pereira created to go with this story, I want to focus for a minute on something that struck me while I was reading it. The prophets of Baal went to the links of cutting “themselves with knives and swords until the blood gushed out.” The thought that I had that I don’t think I have had before is, how many times have I sacrificed myself waiting for an idol to pay off? Yes, looking back it seems like their custom was ridiculous, but is it any different than what I do when I expect my money, my job, my marriage, or my kids to do something for me. When I give and give and give to them not out of love but out of expectation of them, isn’t that just as foolish?

Now, back to this image, I’ll be rank and SA that I cannot make heads or tails of it. Is the large man in the picture Elijah? Are those images of Baal or the prophets of Baal under his arms? I see the bull’s horns on the bottom right. I see the Sun. But I’m not sure what else it is I’m seeing.

Father, at the end of the day, I just need to be reminded that It is easy for me to make idols–even an idol of you. Not the real you, of course, but of the you that my mind wants to create. The you that I expect to give me what I want and do what I want you to do. Making an idol of that image of you is as bad as making an idol out of anything else. I want to worship the real you. The powerful you. Not the you that does what I want you to do. I certainly need a God whom I serve, not one that serves me.

In Jesus’ name I pray,



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