Talk about final.
There was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention. (I Kings 18:29, ESV.)
The prophets of Baal had been at it all morning and most of the afternoon, hopping around the altar, calling on their god, slashing and cutting themselves into a frenzy. They begged their god of lightning to send fire to light the sacrifice. But Baal, not being a real god at all but one they built with their hands, did nothing at all.
There was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.
It was the perfect setup, of course, for a dramatic display of Yahweh’s power. Answering Elijah’s prayer, God sent down a blast of fire that ate up the offering and altar, stones, and dust, and lapped up the water in the moat around it. “The Lord [Yahweh] is God!” the people cried. There was nothing else to say.
For there was no voice at all from Baal. No one answered; no one paid attention.
There may not have been much to fear from Baal, but Queen Jezebel was a formidable opponent. She put a price on Elijah’s head. He fled into the wilderness and prepared to die.
What happened next shows that the Lord is much more than a strongman (read it in chapter 19):
- He sent an angel to feed and encourage and strengthen Elijah
- He took the initiative to go to where Elijah was
- He took a personal interest in Elijah’s emotional state, asking twice why he was there
God is nothing like Baal
I love the contrast between God and Baal! This story shows that the false gods of this world – the things we look to for security and strength – cannot hear us at all. We can spend our lives and our substance trying to get the attention of money and power, status and reputation, and so on: but they will not pay attention, or answer, or even speak.
However, our God is a God who loves us. He notices our plight, he reaches out to strengthen and help us, he pursues a relationship with us.
Go into the quiet to hear him
Notice that after helping Elijah to see that he was NOT in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire — three things the prophet might have hoped would take care of his nemesis — God spoke to him in “the sound of a low whisper” (ESV), “a still small voice” (RSV). Maybe he didn’t offer words of comfort as far as the surface meaning of the words went, but I expect what he said was an enormous assurance. He spoke a command that was full of promise. Elijah would do what God had him to do and he would not be alone. He could let go of his fear and let God work.
Take the Word to heart
- Do you feel alone in your faith?
- Is there something you fear?
- Have you been looking for help from someone or something other than God?
Spend time today soaking in 1 Kings 18-19. There’s a lot more there than I’ve written about here! Find a quiet place to read, and ask him to speak. Then listen for the low whisper of God.
God bless you as you spend time in his Word!
© 2020 Sarah Christmyer