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Elijah's contest with the prophets of Baal

Elijah challenges 850 false prophets to a contest on Mount Carmel.
Contributed by FreeBibleimages
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King Ahab and the majority of people believed a false god called Baal controlled the weather, not God. Three years had passed since Elijah had told King Ahab that there would be no more rain until God decided to bring it. For three years there had been no rain or dew throughout the land. God then told Elijah, ‘Go and present yourself to King Ahab as I am going to send rain.’ – Slide 1
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In the meantime, King Ahab had been searching for Elijah. The drought and famine in Samaria was severe and cattle were dying. The king summoned his palace administrator Obadiah and said, ‘Let’s search all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grass to keep the horses and mules alive.’ King Ahab went in one direction and Obadiah in the other. – Slide 2
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Obadiah believed in the Lord God and when Ahab’s wife, Queen Jezebel, had ordered God’s prophets to be killed, he had secretly hidden 100 of them in two caves and supplied them with food and water. As Obadiah was walking along searching for water, he suddenly saw Elijah. Obadiah fell to the ground before the prophet of God asking, ‘Is it really you Elijah?’ ‘Yes,’ Elijah replied. ‘Go tell King Ahab, that I am here.’ – Slide 3
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Ahab was afraid. ‘The king has been searching for you everywhere. If I tell Ahab that I have found you and then you disappear he will kill me.’ Elijah promised, ‘As surely as the God I serve lives, I will present myself to Ahab today.’ – Slide 4
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Obadiah went to fetch Ahab and the two returned to where Elijah was waiting. – Slide 5
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‘Is that you Elijah, the trouble maker of Israel?’ Ahab asked. ‘It is you who have been causing trouble by worshipping the false god Baal,’ Elijah replied. – Slide 6
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‘Now summon all the people of Israel to Mount Carmel and bring the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who eat with Queen Jezebel.’ – Slide 7
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So King Ahab sent word throughout all Israel for all the people to assemble on Mount Carmel. – Slide 8
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The King also told the prophets of the false gods Baal and Asherah to gather to join them. – Slide 9
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Everyone set off for Mount Carmel. – Slide 10
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Elijah addressed the large crowd that had gathered. ‘How long will you waver between two opinions? Make up your minds. If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.’ Everyone remained quiet. ‘There are 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah and just one prophet of God,’ Elijah pointed out. ‘Get two bulls, one for them and one for me. Let them prepare an altar, put wood on it, sacrifice their bull and place the meat on it. But they must not set fire to their sacrifice. I will prepare my sacrifice in the same way. Let the prophets call on their gods and I will call on the Name of the Lord. The god who answers with fire – He is God.’ – Slide 11
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Elijah instructed the prophets of Baal and Asherah to go first as there were more of them. They prepared the sacrifice and then started calling on their gods to set it on fire. They kept pleading and dancing round the altar from morning until noon but there was no sign of fire. – Slide 12
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At noon, Elijah began to taunt them. ‘Shout louder!” he said. ‘Perhaps Baal is deep in thought… or busy… or away traveling.’ – Slide 13
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The crowds watched on as Elijah mocked the false prophets. ‘Maybe Baal is sleeping and must be woken up,’ Elijah yelled. – Slide 14
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So false prophets started shouting louder and dancing more frantically to their gods. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention. There was no fire. – Slide 15
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As they became more desperate they slashed themselves with swords and spears to try and please their gods. – Slide 16
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Midday passed, and they continued their frantic shouting and dancing all afternoon until it was evening. They were exhausted. – Slide 17
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Elijah then gathered the people together and repaired an altar to God that had been torn down. The altar was made up of 12 stones, one for each of the 12 tribes of Israel. – Slide 18
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Elijah dug a deep trench around the altar. Then he ordered, ‘Fill four large jars with water and pour the water on the offering and on the wood.’ They did so. ‘Do it again,’ Elijah said, and they did it again.’ ‘Do it a third time,” Elijah ordered, and they did so. The water soaked the altar and filled the trench.’ – Slide 19
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At the time of evening sacrifice, Elijah stepped forward and prayed. ‘Lord God of Israel, let it be known today that you are God and that I am your servant. Answer me Lord, so these people will know that you are God, and are turning their hearts back to You again.’ – Slide 20
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Suddenly, the fire of God fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the soil and the water in the trench. – Slide 21
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The large crowd gasped in fear and amazement. – Slide 22
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Immediately they fell on their faces and cried, ‘The Lord—He is God! The Lord —He is God!’ – Slide 23
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Elijah commanded them to seize the false prophets and take them down to the Kishon Valley where they were put to death. – Slide 24
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