They’d been running around in circles all morning, yelling, begging their god to answer them—to no avail.
So they screamed louder. Louder and longer.
And when screaming didn’t work, the 450 desperate prophets drew swords and started cutting themselves till they were a mob of sweaty, stumbling, blood-soaked oafs, still convinced their god would eventually answer them.
An entire nation looked on, with all their money on Baal. These prophets knew how to bend Baal’s ear, so it was only a matter of time before he answered.
Only one man stood apart from the motley crew, taunting: “Pray louder! Maybe Baal is relieving himself or traveling or sleeping! Louder!”
“They raved on . . . but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.”
Although thousands of years have passed since that showdown on Mount Carmel, Elijah’s culture is reminiscent of ours today. Like Baal, the gods of our age seem always to demand more—so the modern masses run in circles, screaming and bleeding like their pagan predecessors.
Theirs are fever-pitched cries that threaten to drown out what we God-fearers hold sacred.
They scream against the very existence of God. They run themselves ragged to redefine gender and marriage and family. They spill their womb’s blood at the altar of convenience. And still it’s not enough.
Deep down they scream because their gods won’t answer them. Their gods have no voice. And the silence is terrifying.
So…. more noise, more running, more blood.
The Bible tells us that Elijah was “a man with a nature like ours,” and his fervent prayers worked miracles.
He didn’t have to yell or scream. He didn’t throw a fit to make his point. He prayed. He obeyed. He waited on God to act on his behalf.
And when the prophets had worn themselves out and Baal didn’t show up, Elijah said, “Now come to me.” And he stacked the odds against God. He put God’s reputation so far out on a limb that only a miracle would do. Then he prayed:
“Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”
Only one who knew God well could courageously ask for such things. And in response to Elijah’s faith, God answered with fire.
“And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, ‘The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.'”
Dear One, we have the potential to influence our world as Elijah did. (After all, he had a nature like ours!) But in our clamor to be heard by the masses—to keep our seat in the political arena, to prove ourselves right, to demand fair treatment—we are in danger of forgetting our most precious position: a seat at the feet of Jesus.
He hears us.
He sees us.
He answers us.
Sure, to the world we look foolish and misguided in our faith, and we will be mocked and marginalized. But when we drop to our knees we’re talking directly to Elijah’s God, “the God who answers by fire.” We know the One whose voice “flashes forth flames of fire and strips the forests bare,” so we don’t have to strain our voices to vindicate ourselves.
But the godless masses—they have to scream. It’s their only hope of being heard. Their gods, they are forever blood-thirsty, forever demanding more. As one Proverb tells us, “Death and Destruction are never satisfied.”
But the One True God shed His Son’s blood so we wouldn’t have to bleed. Christ’s death so perfectly satisfied God that Christ could say, “It is finished.” No more running in circles for us. No more screaming.
And oh how the masses are dying to hear that good news.
As a former screaming, bleeding enemy of God, I long to reach out to those who are still running frantic and say to them, “Let me show you the God who created you, who hears you, who loves you.”
So send us, Lord. Send us to those who are exhausted from crying out to deaf-and-dumb gods. Even today may we speak Your words, may we be those who….
…bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Scriptures referenced: 1 Kings 18; Isaiah 64:4; Matthew 11:28; 1 Corinthians 3:18-21; Psalm 29; Proverbs 27:20; Isaiah 52:7; John 19:30