Kings And Prophets Of The Bible – Northern Kingdom (Israel) – 1 Kings18

Prophets of Baal were Defeat at Mount Carmel and the victory of the LORD. I Kings 18:20-40

V. 20…All the children of Israel….and the prophets together on Mount
Carmel: The troubler must be exposed, and the forces and the prophets
behind the troubler must be challenged.

Mt. Carmel: The contest was to take place on Mt. Carmel a prominent peak
in a range of mountains stretching about 13 miles/21 Kms. long southeast
from the coast of the Mediterranean Sea (See the map). The Canaanites
built sanctuaries to pagan weather gods, which is the ideal place to confront
such gods to show the superiority of the LORD over Baal.

V. 21…How long will you falter (limping): The classic challenge of Elijah. As
for the people, they may know deep down in their heart that Jehovah is
God, but probably out of fear they followed Baal.

LIMPING: The rare Hebrew verb “pasakh” occurs again in v. 26, where the
prophets of Baal “limped around the altar.” The irregular steps of their ritual
dance portray an inability to move properly. The worship of the people is no
better than the worship of these prophets, as they refuse to choose
between the Lord and Baal but look to retain both options. – ESV Study Bible.

V. 21…I alone am left a prophet of the LORD but Baal’s prophets are 450
men: The odds of 405 to 1 would be almost impossible. But nothing is too
difficult for God. alone am left…There were prophets of the LORD still existed in Israel at that time. 100 prophets were kept by Obadiah and later God tells Elijah that there are 7000 remnant prophets. So, Elijah’s belief is that he is the only one willing to take a public stand against the prophets of Baal.

V. 23: Choice was given to them to choose one among the two bulls.

V. 24:…The God who answers by fire, He is God…: God Jehovah is known for His association with fire (lev. 9:24, 10:2, Num. 16:35). On the other hand Baal was thought of as a god who controls fire and lightning. But the issue here is, which of these claims about control over fire is true? …So all people answered and said, “ it is well spoken.” It is a typical mass mentality that says, we will follow if you win.”

V. 26:…O Baal hear us!… The word ‘hear’ is also interpreted as ‘answer.’

V. 27:…meditating,…busy…on a journey…,sleeping and must be awakened: After about hours, Elijah begins to taunt them with some disrespectful suggestions to show the limitation of their gods.

V. 28 & 29:…cried aloud and cut themselves… Cutting is self-mutilation to manipulate Baal into action.

V. 30:…repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down… Neither God nor the prophets supported such worship in high places other than the Temple of God. But this occasion is an exception. In verse 38, we see the LORD Himself devoured even the stones with the fire which gives us the idea that the LORD has destroyed the Altar itself.

V. 31:…twelve stones… Though the kingdom was divided, in spiritual matters, and in God’s mind they were one.

V. 32:Trench around…four waterpots, and pour it…. Baal prophet did not pour water on or around the altar.

V. 33:…put the wood in order…cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood… Sacrifice is ready.

V. 34:…2nd time…3rd time… Pouring water is to show the power of the Fire of the LORD.

V. 35:…water ran all around…filled the trench with water… The whole area is saturated with water so that there is no room for anybody to claim a natural combustion. When this offering is consumed in fire, it must be the Lord’s doing.

Vs. 36 & 37:…Hear me, O LORD, hear me.. Such a bold public prayer with confidence and faith in the God he worships.
2 purposes:1. The people may know that You are the LORD God, 2. You have turned their hearts back to You again. 

V. 38:…Fire of the LORD fell and consumed.. The fire of the LORD consumed, 1. The burnt offering, 2. The wood, 3. Stones and the dust, 4. Licked up the water. Consuming the stone is an extraordinary thing. When God does something, He does leave HIS signature.

V. 39:…all the people…fell on their face….The LORD (Jehovah), He is God.. The people realized Jehovah as God after the sign from heaven and through the act of God.