Last night I spoke at the closing campfire for the week of middle school camp. The theme for the week was ‘Weird’. So naturally, I went with the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. This story typifies a weird person in the Bible because the Scriptures tell us that all the people were wavering in their worship of God. In fact, they were simultaneously worshipping Baal. Elijah stood up against 450 prophets of Baal and challenged them to prove Baal was in fact god. They were not able to do so.
After hours of humiliating failure, Elijah took his turn. Not before throwing out one of my favorite verses. In the midst of their efforts he taunts them by suggesting that maybe Baal is busy taking a loop.
Elijah rebuilt the altar to God with 12 fresh stones, symbolizing the 12 tribes. Dug a trench around the altar and ha the entire thing (altar, cow, wood, trench and ground) drenched by four pitchers full of water being dumped on it three times. He then simply asks God to prove he is God. A fireball flames from Heaven and consumes everything. All water, dirt, stones, wood and cow.
No question who won.
The people immediately chase the false prophets and slaughter them. Their hearts are turned back to God.
Sadly, this wasn’t the end of idol worship for Israel. It took the destruction of the Temple and the captivity to cure them. After that, they became hyper-focused on the rule-following they missed the Messiah.
I wonder what idols we worship that obscure out vision and our hearts?
What kind of showdown will it take to turn our hearts?
When are we gonna be weird and not go with the crowd?
Are we brave enough to stand like Elijah?