June 8, 2016 - Baal

Taking the young bull that was turned over to them, they prepared it and called on Baal from morning to noon, saying,
“Answer us, Baal!”
But there was no sound, and no one answering.
And they hopped around the altar they had prepared.
When it was noon, Elijah taunted them:
“Call louder, for he is a god and may be meditating,
or may have retired, or may be on a journey.
Perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.”
They called out louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until blood gushed over them.
Noon passed and they remained in a prophetic state
until the time for offering sacrifice.
But there was not a sound;
no one answered, and no one was listening.

1 Kings 18:20

Elijah has challenged the priests of Baal to a contest to see whose god is real. 

Elijah mocks the priests of Baal for their anthropomorphic concept of the divine.  He suggests that their god might not answer them because he is meditating, asleep or vacationing.  The priests draw blood to appease Baal and to encourage him to listen.

Elijah’s God does not suffer from petty human limitations or motivations.  The God is Israel doesn’t get caught asleep or on vacation.  He doesn't fly into rages.  Above all else - and this is a principal theme of Scripture - He does not require blood or compliance with commands to inspire His love.  The God of Israel is not the god of courtesy, good behavior or even self-denial.  He is much bigger and more sovereign than that. 

Photo: Hubble Space Telescope. The Pillars of Creation (Part of the Eagle Nebula)