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  The Great Bible Story #67
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Showdown at Carmel

Jacob Ninan
Just as Elijah said, King Ahab collected together 450 prophets of Baal on the top of Mount Carmel, while Elijah was alone there as a prophet of God. Elijah challenged the people who had come to watch, asking them how long they would hesitate to choose between Baal and God. He asked them to follow Baal or God, whichever was the true God.

At the top of the mountain Elijah got two oxen, and asked the prophets of Baal to cut one into pieces, make an altar and put the pieces on the altar without putting any fire under it. He would do a similar thing with the other ox. Then both sides were to pray for fire to come down from the sky and burn their offering. Elijah told the people that the God who answered with fire could be seen to be truly God. The people were excited with the idea.

Baal's prophets finished their preparation and started prayer. Since there was no answer they started jumping wildly, cutting themselves, etc., in their fervour. But nothing happened. Elijah began to mock them saying perhaps their god was sleeping or otherwise occupied! They went on from morning to almost evening, but there was no answer from Baal.

Now Elijah built an altar for God, cut the ox into pieces and put them on top of some wood on the altar. Then he made a trench around the altar and asked the people to pour water on the sacrifice till it flowed down and filled the trench! Now he prayed to God and asked Him to send fire to show the people who He was. Fire came from the sky and burnt up the sacrifice and the wood on the altar, and even licked up the water in the trench! Seeing this, all the people cried out that the Lord (Jehovah) was God.

Elijah now asked the people to quickly catch the prophets of Baal and kill them without letting them escape. He told Ahab that rain would come now. Very soon dark clouds developed and rain came pouring down.

When Ahab told Jezebel what Elijah had done to the prophets of Baal, she was furious. She said that she would make sure that Elijah would be dead within a day's time. Probably exhausted after the day's events, this prophet who had stood against the king and all the prophets now ran for his life, went into the desert, sat under a tree and wished he was dead. But God sent an angel to give him food after he had slept, and told him he had a long journey to take.

Then Elijah got up, travelled for forty days and came to the mountain called Horeb where he stayed in a cave.


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