Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention. I Kings 18:25-29 ESV
Those who lavish gold from the purse,
and weigh out silver in the scales,
hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god;
then they fall down and worship!
They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it,
they set it in its place, and it stands there;
it cannot move from its place.
If one cries to it, it does not answer
or save him from his trouble. Isaiah 46:6-7 ESV
Many years ago a huge ship named the Titanic was sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, and it crashed into an iceberg. There were wireless operators on the Titanic who were able to send messages to other ships, and they sent many messages after the ship started to sink. An early one began: “Come at once. We have struck a berg.” Other messages followed, such as, “We have struck an iceberg and sinking by the head,” and “We are putting passengers off in small boats. Women and children in boats. Cannot last much longer. Losing power.” Other ships received these messages and some of them tried to reach the Titanic to help, but the ship was too far away, and no help could arrive until it was too late. Many people fell into the icy water and drowned.
The prophets of Baal wanted Baal to send fire down to their altar to prove his power. They called out to their god, and as the day went on they prayed more and more desperately, but there was no answer. They called to him most of the day, and danced around the altar. They even cut themselves and let the blood run, thinking that would please Baal and make him answer them. Elijah started to make fun of them and told them to keep calling. But no matter how much they shouted and prayed to Baal, there was no answer. Baal didn’t answer the prayers of the priests because he wasn’t real. When the 450 priests prayed to him, there was really no one there to hear. Baal was a god of fertility, a god who was supposed to bring rain and help the crops grow, but for three years there had been no rain. There was a terrible drought, and people and animals were hungry and thirsty.
Only the true God could send rain or hold it back. Our God hears all our prayers and is able to answer us and help us. We never have to worry that God won’t listen to us or that he can’t help us. He showed us how much he loves us by sending Jesus to be our Savior. Jesus died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven, and because of that we are God’s children. God listens to our prayers and helps us the way a good father listens to and helps his children. We can be sure that he will always answer our prayers in the way that is best, and that he will always love us.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for hearing our prayers and helping us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.