This week’s HafTorah portion is taken from 1 Kings 18:1-39. Listen in as Dr. Jeffery Myers talks about the confrontation between Elijah, the prophet of YHVH and the 450 prophets of Baal.
Follow along in the AUDIO PODCAST, by clicking on the play button below, and reading along with the notes, as you listen to today's Parashat:
Lion of Judah Speaks: Haftorah Portion - I Kings 18:1-39
Lion of Judah Ministries
Dr. Jeffery L. Myers
Sometimes we shake our heads as we read the history of Israel in the Tanakh! How could they have been so ignorant, so hard hearted to have missed all of the mighty acts of YHVH, to have forgotten where they came from and how HaShem brought them out with an outstretched arm? How can His people, for that matter you and I, be ready to revert to idolatry as a means of trying to find personal security? They had seen His power, handiwork, heard His voice, and was given His revelation to be called His people by YHVH’s very voice. YHVH sent His revelation and still they seem to be ready to follow after other gods that in reality don’t exist. There is only ONE GOD, the God Almighty!
The first commandment is very clear in Exodus 20:1-3: “Then God said all these words: I am Adonai your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the abode of slavery. You are to have no other gods before me.” In this week’s haftorah we are told about the confrontation between Elijah, the prophet of YHVH and 450 prophets of Baal. Let me set the stage: The Hebrew people were at an all-time low. Queen Jezebel, who introduced Baal worship to the northern tribes, was on a quest to kill all the prophets of YHVH. We see a parallel story happening now as that same spirit is operating to silence the people of God today. That evil spirit is running amuck not only in our society but in the House of YHVH. She is calling what is evil good and what is good evil.
In the I Kings narrative, she was successful in killing almost all of them. She encouraged the worship of the Baal deity as well as other forms of idolatry. To prove that YHVH alone is in control and provides sustenance, Elijah decreed a drought on the kingdom and no rain fell for 3 years. Instead of taking responsibility for their disobedience and acknowledging the sin of worshipping other gods and having idols in his life, King Ahab accused and blamed Elijah for causing hardship and bringing famine to the Israelites. Our consequences are always somebody else’s fault!
However, Elijah told Ahab the truth, that the famine was because he turned away from YHVH and worshipped Baal. So true for us today, we want to blame everything and everyone for the society, culture, and government we have but the truth is that YHVH’s people have been slowly turning away and going after their own desires, following their own lusts. We have created idols in our lives, put them in first place and we worship at the seat of our wants and have snubbed our nose at the One True Yah. We again worship Baal at the encouragement of the Jezebel spirit.
Elijah told Ahab that if he wanted the famine to end, he needed to accept the challenge of a showdown! He summoned all of Israel to Mount Carmel, together with the prophets of Baal. Elijah, Baal’s prophets, children of Israel, spectators of all kinds gathered atop of Mount Carmel. Elijah spoke rebuking the people of Israel, uttering the famous words, “How long are you going to jump back forth between two positions? If Adonai is God, follow Him; but if it’s Baal, follow him!”.
Elijah is not addressing Baal’s prophets but the children of Israel who have allowed this idolatry to continue. The voice of Elijah is speaking to the Kehillah today, not the world! We have opened the gates to this apostasy! We are the ones that need to comeback to our senses and decide which side we follow, if we serve Baal, then continue on, if we serve YHVH, then it’s time we go after Him. Seek Him while He may be found!
Elijah proposed a challenge…build an altar, place the sacrifice, cut it up, place it on the wood, but don’t put fire on it. “Call on the name of your deity and he will call on the name of YHVH, and the God who answers with fire, He is God!”
The people agreed to the challenge and the prophets of Baal were first. They called out with a loud voice, yet no answer. They jumped and pranced around their altar, yet no answer! They cried louder and louder and begun to cut themselves, yet no sound, no answer! Elijah taunted them! Then Elijah commanded the people to come near to him, so they would see with their own eyes there was no trickery.
He built an altar, laid his offering upon it, surrounded it with water, poured water over the sacrifice, again and again, until the whole trench was filled with water. It was at the time the minchah afternoon offering was brought in the Temple and Elijah called out, “Hear me, Adonai, hear me, so that this people may know that you, Adonai, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back to you.” The fire of Adonai fell. It consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “Adonai is God! Adonai is God!”
We see in the parshah the sin of the golden calf and the forgiveness the children of Israel received from YHVH. The haftorah also tells of a sinning people that return to YHVH. In the parshah, the Israelites sinned with a calf (a young bull) and in the haftorah, it was through two bulls that they were put back on the right path.
How does it happen that YHVH’s people who have seen and sensed the Presence of YHVH, believers, could worship idols? I know that we don’t have typical idol worship as an issue today, in the same way Elijah dealt with idols. However, we find ourselves worshipping money, honor, power, or fame. All for personal gain, it is the same as idol worship!
We seem to wavier in our actions toward Torah. We follow His commandments most of the time but occasionally we do our own thing when convenient. Kehillah, we need to repent, to return to the ancient paths of truth! We need to search the truth of the Word and embrace with extreme clarity…God is God! God is God!
We can no longer be satisfied with the pop-culture definition of YHVH, which is in a way, engaging in idolatry. Because the worship of the god which the culture has defined is the worship of “another god”. We must strive to know Yeshua as He is revealed in Scripture, not as modern society has redressed Him to fit the needs of the time. Our golden calves, our worship to Baal may be less obvious, but they are there nonetheless.
How, then, can we guard against idolatry? How can we prepare ourselves now for the unknown events of the future? We must refuse to accept the idolatry of our culture, recognize how much YHVH hates idolatry, develop a personal relationship with Yeshua not just a corporate one, be willing to repent and turn around and decide whom you will serve!!
Begin now to seek the face of YHVH, be willing to follow His instructions no matter the cost. Walk in His will and in His Torah instructions, instructions of life! Discern what is right and wrong by studying the Word rightly! May we strengthen our resolve in our service to YHVH and recognize His true oneness. Open your ears and hear Elijah herald the coming of Mashiach, which will happen when we all proclaim, “Yah is Yah! Yah is Yah!” May Yeshua return soon!