Just Like Jezebel Conclusion
What does it take to convince someone that he believes a lie? Cold, hard facts? A visible, bona fide, supernatural occurrence? Sometimes even these don’t work. They didn’t work with Jezebel even after the greatest showdown in history. And unfortunately, they don’t work with others who, in some respects, are just like her today.
For three and a half years God withheld the life-giving rains that the northern kingdom of Israel so desperately needed. The severe drought produced acute famine. Yet Jezebel, King Ahab’s Sidonian wife, murdered the prophets of Jehovah, the true and living God who alone could bring rain, and promoted worship of the Canaanite idol Baal that could do nothing. Finally the Lord summoned His prophet, Elijah, telling him the time had come to confront King Ahab (1 Ki. 18:1).
What resulted was a spectacular confrontation on Mount Carmel between 450 prophets of Baal; 400 prophets of Asherah, another Canaanite deity; and Elijah, the prophet of the living God.
And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lᴏʀᴅ [ʏʜᴠʜ] is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word. Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the Lᴏʀᴅ; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lᴏʀᴅ; and the God who answers by fire, He is God” (vv. 21–24).
Baal’s prophets went first. They prepared the bull and, from morning to noon, jumped and leaped around the altar, cutting themselves with knives and lances, “as was their custom,…until the blood gushed out on them,” shouting and screaming and crying out to their impotent god (v. 28). But no one answered (v. 29).
It must have been a sight. Hundreds of men cavorting like animals, bleeding and hollering in a futile attempt to provoke a nonentity into action. Elijah watched and ridiculed. “What’s the matter with your god?” he asked (loosely paraphrased). “Is he out to lunch? Maybe he’s asleep and you need to wake him up, or he’s out of town” (v. 27). We might as well add, “Maybe he’s at the mall or stuck in traffic!”
Finally Elijah had had enough. He built a stone altar; made a large trench around it; put the wood on the altar; and cut the bull and laid it on the wood, commanding that 12 potfuls of water be poured on the sacrifice, drenching it completely (vv. 32–34). “So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water” (v. 35).
Then Elijah extolled Jehovah (ʏʜᴠʜ) and asked Him to show that He alone was God. What happened next only the Lord of Hosts, the Mighty One of Israel, could have accomplished:
Then the fire of the Lᴏʀᴅ fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lᴏʀᴅ, He is God! The Lᴏʀᴅ, He is God!” (vv. 38–39).
Elijah killed the false prophets and told Ahab to get going because, after three and a half years of blistering drought, God was sending a thunderous rain.
Ahab hurried home and told Jezebel everything that had happened on Mount Carmel (1 Ki. 19:1). He told her of the dramatic contest, of Baal’s inactivity, of Jehovah’s spectacular feat, and of the demise of the prophets of Baal. The facts were on the table. Baal not only failed to end the drought, but he also failed to consume his sacrifice and protect his prophets. There was not a single shred of empirical evidence that even proved Baal existed.
Did Jezebel now embrace the truth? Far from it. Furious, she sent word to Elijah that he was as good as dead (v. 2). Her arrogance and pride had so hardened her against the truth that she didn’t even consider that the same God who struck His altar with fire could strike her as well.
The Lord, of course, protected Elijah. Concerning Jezebel, however, God promised, “‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel’” (21:23). And so they did (2 Ki. 9:30–36).
Apart from everything else that can be said of this vilest of women, Jezebel is one of Scripture’s most vivid examples of someone who witnessed the power of the Most High God and categorically rejected it, willfully choosing to believe a lie. In that respect, many people are like her today: They (1) exchange the truth of God for the lie and worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator (Rom. 1:24), (2) do not like to retain God in their knowledge (v. 28), and (3) practice evil and approve of others who do the same (v. 32).
The path is an easy one to follow because it is the natural inclination of the heart: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9). Jesus said, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (Jn. 3:19).
Today animosity toward the God of the Bible grows exponentially. He is being eradicated from our culture by people who are willing to believe everything conceivable except the truth because they love darkness rather than light and their deeds are evil.
The Pharisees asked Jesus to prove He was the Messiah (Mt. 12:38; Mk. 8:11). But they had already seen Him make the deaf hear, the lame walk, and the blind see. Yet they accused Him of performing these miracles in the power of Beelzebub, and they refused to believe (Mt. 12:24).
Someday Jesus will sit on His throne in Jerusalem, meting out perfect, instant justice throughout the world (Isa. 9:7; 11:3–5). Yet a multitude, “whose number is as the sand of the sea,” will rebel against Him (Rev. 20:7–8). They still will refuse to believe.
Today a Baha’i temple sits on Mount Carmel. The Baha’i faith believes Krishna, Buddha, Zoroaster, Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, the Bab [1819–1840], and Bahau’llah [1817–1892] “are divine teachers sent by one God to educate humanity through teachings and laws suited to its stage of development….Baha’is believe that religious revelation will continue in the future to provide guidance to an ‘ever-advancing civilization.’”1
It seems to me civilization has not advanced at all since the days of Jezebel.
- “The Baha’i Faith,” May 2001 <www.bahaiworldnews.org/terraces/bahai.en.html>.