Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 18

A test of Baal’s powers

1 Kings 18:23-24

The people believed that Baal was an extremely powerful god. That was why they had accepted the religion of Baal as the new official religion of their country. They wanted the power and wealth that the religion of Baal offered to them.

Elijah insisted that they were following a false and evil religion. Only the true God who made heaven and earth has all power. Formerly, Israel’s people had served him, but now they were turning to a false god.

So, Elijah boldly proposed a test of Baal’s powers. A sacrifice is an animal that people offer to God, or to a false god. They kill the animal, and then burn some or all of it as a gift to God, or to the false god. If Baal was truly a powerful god, there would be no need to light the fire. It would please him that his people had offered that gift. So, he would send the fire to burn it. In that way, he would take their gift for himself.

In Genesis 15:9-17, the true God sent the fire that burned Abraham’s sacrifices. In Isaiah 6:1-6, Isaiah saw much fire in heaven. Deuteronomy 4:24 even describes God as a fire. Clearly, God can send fire from heaven.

Deuteronomy 6:16 warns that we must not test God. So, we must not place ourselves in a difficult situation and then demand God’s help. Elijah was not doing that. God had sent Elijah into this situation (18:1), and Elijah was obeying God’s instructions. Few people, even in the Bible, understood God’s instructions as clearly as Elijah did. So, Elijah was doing what God wanted him to do.

Next part: Prayers in the religion of the false god Baal (1 Kings 18:25-26)


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