In I Kings 18 we have the incredible story of God and Elijah having a contest against Baal and his prophets. This is a classic showdown to prove who is the one true God. The prophets of Baal are jumping around, shouting, cutting themselves to no avail, while Elijah makes wise cracks. Then Elijah steps up and has water poured all over the sacrifice and the altar, says a simple prayer, and God sends down fire consuming the sacrifice, the water, and even the rocks. The people’s response says it all, “…they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God.” (I Kings 18:39)
What amazes me is Jezebel’s reaction in I Kings 19:1-2, “Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, ‘So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.”
Verse one says that “Ahab told Jezebel ALL that Elijah had done…”. I believe that ALL must include the useless efforts of Baal’s prophets and his lack of response. ALL must include the immediate and overwhelming response from God. ALL probably includes the people’s response as well but Jezebel only focuses on the death of her prophets. She seems to ignore the purpose of the contest, the outcome of the contest, and what the outcome proves. In fact, it is somewhat humorous that she invokes her already proven useless “gods” in her threat to Elijah.
I don’t know exactly why Jezebel couldn’t see the evidence and the truth that was right in front of her face. Maybe it was her anger or hatred, maybe it was her pride or selfishness, maybe a combination of many things. What I do know is that I can, and have, fallen into the same trap. I have allowed my pride, anger, and selfishness to blind me to relatively simple truth. I don’t know how many times God has tried to reveal sin in my life or in my motives and I’ve pushed it away and convinced myself that I was “justified” or I was “OK”.
My experience is that all truth comes from God but He will use various means to present that truth to me. Sometimes it is my wife making an observation about my reaction to a situation. Sometimes it is an innocent question from one of my children. A brother or sister in Christ might send me a text or write me a note. Most often truth is revealed in the quiet of the morning during my daily bible reading. Regardless of the means by which God reveals His truth to me, am I listening? Is my heart open and ready to receive the reality of my situation? When God does His work on me it can be painful, embarrassing, and even downright shameful . My first reaction is usually to justify myself, rationalize my behavior, or even attack the messenger. In the end, however, all those reactions are simply a rejection of God and His truth. I pray that I can get out of the way of His work in my life. I pray that, however painful it might be, that I will embrace the changes I need to make so that I can be molded into the image of Jesus Christ and bring glory to my Father.