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Elijah and the prophets of Baal

1 Kings 18:1-40
Elijah invites the prophets of Baal to a contest on Mount Carmel.
Contributed by Sweet Publishing
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When the people of Israel started to worship idols, the prophet Elijah delivered a message from God to King Ahab. ‘There will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years until I say so.’ – Slide 1
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For the next three years no rain fell. Harvests failed and there was famine everywhere. – Slide 2
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Elijah had hidden in the Kerith ravine and been fed by ravens. When the brook dried up God then told him to travel north out of the country where he was fed by a widow living at Zarephath. In the third year with no rain, the Lord told Elijah to go and present himself to King Ahab. – Slide 3
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Elijah left Zarephath and travelled south into the land of Israel where King Ahab had been searching for him. The people in Samaria where King Ahab lived were desperate for food and water. They had prayed to Baal thinking that this false god controlled the weather and harvests. – Slide 4
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King Ahab called his palace administrator Obadiah and said, ‘Go to all the springs and valleys in the land. Maybe we can find some grass to keep the horses and mules alive.’ (Obadiah still trusted in the Lord. When Queen Jezebel had ordered the Lord’s prophets to be killed, he had hidden a 100 of them in two caves, 50 in each, and had secretly supplied them with food and water). King Ahab and Obadiah went in opposite directions searching for water supplies. – Slide 5
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As Obadiah was walking along, he suddenly met Elijah. Obadiah bowed to the ground and asked, ‘Is it really you, Elijah?’ ‘Yes,’ Elijah replied. ‘Go tell King Ahab, I am here.’ Obadiah made Elijah promise to stay where he was while he fetched the King. – Slide 6
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Obadiah rushed to find King Ahab and told him he had found Elijah. – Slide 7
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When the King saw Elijah he accused him of being a troublemaker. Elijah replied, ‘I have not made trouble but you and your family have by abandoning the Lord’s commands and worshipping Baal. – Slide 8
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‘Gather the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel,’ Elijah demanded. ‘And bring the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah.’ – Slide 9
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So King Ahab sent messengers throughout all the land telling everyone to assemble on Mount Carmel. The 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of the false god Asherah were summoned also. – Slide 10
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Elijah addressed the large crowd on Mount Carmel. ‘How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him. But if Baal is God, follow him.’ The people remained silent. – Slide 11
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Elijah continued, ‘I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has 450 prophets. Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one, cut it into pieces and put it on an altar of wood. But they must not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on an altar with wood. But I will not set fire to it. Then, you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.’ The people agreed to the contest. – Slide 12
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The prophets of Baal chose their bull, cut it into pieces and placed it on the wood on their altar. From morning until noon they danced around the altar shouting, ‘Baal, answer us!’ But there was no answer. – Slide 13
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At noon Elijah began to taunt them. ‘Shout louder!’ he said. ‘Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and you need to wake him up.’ – Slide 14
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So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, until their blood flowed. Mid-day passed and Baal did not send fire. They became more frantic and continued pleading to Baal until evening. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention. – Slide 15
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Elijah then gathered the people around him and rebuilt an altar of God that had fallen into ruins. He placed the 12 stones and dug a trench around it. Then he sacrificed the bull and placed the meat on the wood. Elijah then gave a strange order, ‘Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood. When they had done that, Elijah ordered them to do it again and then a third time. Altogether 12 large jars were poured over the altar and the water ran down to fill the trench. – Slide 16
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At the time of the evening sacrifice, Elijah prayed, ‘Lord let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant doing what you have commanded. Answer me, so these people will know that you are God and will turn back to You again.’ – Slide 17
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Suddenly the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil. It also licked up the water in the trench. The people fell face down to the ground and cried, ‘The Lord he is God! The Lord he is God!’ – Slide 18
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Elijah gave orders for the false prophets of Baal to be seized and taken down to the Kishon Valley where they were put to death so they could no longer mislead people into evil ways forbidden by God. – Slide 19
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Slide 20