ELIJAH VERSUS THE PROPHETS OF BAAL
1 Kings 18:17-40
By David J. Riggs
A. Elijah's confrontation with the prophets of Baal comes in a
very low time in the history of the people of Israel.
1. Assassinations and murders were the order of the day.
2. Ahab was the king of Israel at this time and none surpassed
him in doing evil. 1 Kings 16:31-33; 21:25
B. God often used drastic measures (great miracles) when
faithfulness to Him was at a low ebb.
C. Elijah stood against four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal,
and four hundred prophets of the Asherah. 1 Kings 18:19
1. Thus, on the one hand, we have hundreds of prophets and
thousands of people who followed their teaching and
worshiped at their shrines.
2. On the other hand, we have one lone messenger of God.
a. This lone prophet is about to teach this idolatrous
multitude some great lessons.
b. These lessons are for our benefit as well. Rom. 15:4
I. THE GUILTY OFTEN FALSELY ACCUSE THE INNOCENT. 1 Kings 18:17-18
A. Elijah plainly tells Ahab who was the true troubler in Israel.
1. The wicked are very good at falsely accusing and persecuting
the righteous. Gal. 4:29
2. Those who do not come to the light hate the light. John
3. "By which he condemned the world." Heb. 11:7
a. One's righteousness renders another's wickedness
B. Forsaking the commandments of the Lord is the true cause of the
heartache of many.
1. Prov. 11:19; 13:15
2. Though things may seem well with those who sin, calamity
and destruction will eventually come. Eccl. 8:12-13
3. The wages of sin is death, and it will always pay up.
II. WE MUST MAKE A DEFINITE STAND. 1 Kings 18:21
A. Most people today go along with the majority, as back then.
1. How about us? Will we follow denominational error or
2. Will we make a definite stand on issues confronting the
a. There will always be various issues confronting each
generation. Will we go along with the majority or will
we examine the Scriptures carefully and stand therein?
b. That which made the Bereans great, can also do the
same for us. Acts 17:11
3. Also, we need to make a definite stand regarding total
commitment to God.
a. Many are following various types of Baals today. The
four "s" words say it all: Sex, Silver, Science, Sports.
2 Tim. 3:4; Phil. 3:19
b. Elijah's question is just as applicable and forceful
today as it was then.
(1) No one can serve two masters. Matt. 6:24
(2) Many have hewed out broken cisterns for
themselves today. Jer. 2:13
III. WE ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO SHOW KINDNESS TO THE UNWORTHY. 1 Kings
A. We are to show kindness, and gentleness to those who are
worthy, but not to the unworthy. Matt. 7:6; Prov. 26:4
B. At times a little scorn and derision might be in order. Let's
look at some other examples:
1. Micaiah's answer to Ahab. 1 Kings 22:15
a. He told him exactly what he wanted to hear.
b. He knew he would not listen, no matter what he said.
2. Isaiah displays how the people were fools. Isa. 44:15-18
3. Amos 4:4 -- Amos really didn't want the people to do this,
but he wanted to show them what they were doing.
4. God would make Ezekiel's forehead like flint stone. Ezek.
3:8-9 Sometimes, we need to be stubborn when it comes to
holding to truth.
a. Matt 16:4 - They did not have the faintest idea what the
sign of Jonah represented.
(1) If they had followed Jesus, they could have seen
many signs. Jesus would not work miracles just to
please these unrighteous and hypocritical people.
b. Matt. 21:23-27 - They came to expose Jesus to the
people as one having no authority.
(1) However, they demonstrated they were unworthy
of judging regarding authority because they
couldn't answer a simple question regarding the
authority of John.
IV. THE POWER OF GOD IS AWESOME. 1 Kings 18:30-39
A. Some of the great people of faith "quenched the violence of
fire." Heb. 11:34
1. Consider the great deliverance of the three in the fiery
furnace. Dan. 3:27,29
B. Here in our text, God uses the power of fire once again.
1. It not only consumed the wood and water, but the stones of
which the altar was made.
C. We often forget the magnitude of the power manifested by Jesus.
1. Example; the raising of the dead. Luke 7:11-16
a. I often think of this miracle when I am in a funeral
b. What could Jesus do regarding the person lying in the
V. THE VENGEANCE OF GOD IS SEVERE. 1 Kings 18:40
A. Idolatry was punishable by death. Deut. 13:10; 17:2-5
B. Our God is a consuming fire. Heb. 12:29
1. God will punish all false religionists - all those teaching
and practicing error. 2 Pet. 2:1-3
a. They are not punished at this time, not because their
offense is less grievous than the prophets of Baal, but
because God is longsuffering. 2 Pet. 3:9
b. However, they will be punished and that punishment will
2. God will punish all unfaithful members of the church. Matt.
C. God will render vengeance at the last day.
1. It will be a fearful thing for all those who fall under His
VI. GOD IS STILL SEEKING TO TURN HEARTS BACK TO HIM. 1 Kings 18:37
A. God loved these worshipers of Baal enough to perform this great
sign to bring about their conversion.
B. Even though God is severe, He is also loving and full of mercy.
1. Isa. 55:6-7; Micah 7:18-19
C. God wants all to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.
1 Tim. 2:4
1. Those of us who are serving the gods of this world, who
have succumb to the wrong master, need to be converted.
2. Let us not be servants of sin. Rom. 6:16
A. There are many lessons to be learned from the stories of the
1. We have gleaned these from Elijah's confrontation with the
prophets of Baal:
a. The guilty often falsely accuse the innocent.
b. We should make a strong stand for what is right.
c. We are not obligated to show kindness to the unworthy.
d. The power of God is awesome.
e. The vengeance of God is severe.
f. God still seeks to turn people to Himself.
B. May we take these lessons to heart and apply them as the need