Dancing for Baal
Diana Kerr

The story in 1 Kings 18 almost makes me feel bad for the prophets of Baal. In this epic showdown of Elijah versus Baal worshipers, a bunch of hopeless men strive desperately to elicit a response from their fake god.

In an attempt to call on Baal to prove his existence and light an altar on fire, these prophets make total fools of themselves. They dance around the altar, shout loudly, and even cut their bodies to get what they want from Baal.

They get nothing in return. “But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention” (1 Kings 18:29). It’s hard to read this account and not think, “Duh. What a joke. I could have predicted that. That’s what they get.”

And yet a glance in the mirror shows me dancing and shouting like a lunatic for my own “Baals.” I may be “smart” enough not to bow down to a chunk of stone or wood, but I bow down to other things. I dance for my own Baals—praise, success, perfection, reputation, and love. When my striving isn’t enough, I strive harder, craving validation and fulfillment through them. But none of those gods give me what only God can give.

I like Elijah’s approach a lot better: a simple word and God answers. A single sentence and God provides. The dancing and shouting for Baals will tire you out and get you nowhere. The real God doesn’t require a song and dance.


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