There is a series on social media that shows various musicians from differing genres playing or singing passages that showcase their creative and technical prowess. It is entitled, “When ‘Famous Musician’ Takes it to the Next Level!” Nearly everyone, including myself, who views these series is amazed by the astounding ability for these artists, at the top of their profession, to take it to another level that was not even thought possible. But why stop there? What about God? Does He ever demonstrate His greatness and take it to the next level?
The Bible has numerous examples when Almighty God takes it to the next level. I am intrigued by the following two examples, each dealing with the prophets of the false god Baal. The religion of Baal worship was carnal and evil. The debauchery of their deviant sexual practices would make today’s pornography industry appear tame. Yet, the most vile practice was child sacrifice, called passing the children through the fire. Living children were placed into the arms of a red hot brass sculpture of Baal, burning to death in front of chanting priests and their horrified families. This is but one of many of the hideous actions that the worshippers of Baal were convinced would gain favor with their god. The Israelites were often seduced into following this religion and God dramatically demonstrated His Absolute power over this false god and religion.
Elijah and the Prophets of Baal
1 Kings 18:20-40
Jehu Strikes Down the Prophets of Baal
2 Kings 10:18-27
In both of these examples, God destroyed the priests and prophets of Baal with unquestioning dominance. In the example of Elijah, the priests of Baal cut themselves for hours beseeching their god to answer their cries to bring fire down from heaven and consume their animal sacrifice. When it was clear that their god would not answer, Elijah then directed his priests to flood the altar with copious amounts of water, completely drenching the sacrificial animal. Elijah then prayed to God to demonstrate His power. God immediately answered with fire from Heaven, completely consuming the animals, the stone altar, and even all of the water! In the example of Jehu, after killing the prophets of Baal, God directed the Israelites to destroy the temple of Baal, turning it into a public toilet!
In these two examples, God demonstrates just a small glimpse of His omnipotence. Detractors and critics of the Bible decry that God must be petty and susceptible to fragile human emotions like jealousy to appear to callously kill these worshippers of Baal. They are asking the wrong question. Instead of questioning why God killed these false prophets, they should ask why did God allow them to continue for so long to mislead and commit so many atrocities?
If God desired, He could annihilate the entire world of all living creatures. We are all sinners and deserve this fate because we chose to disobey God and live a life of our volition rather than under God’s authority and guidance. Only by God’s grace and mercy does He continue to allow mankind to commit evil upon one another and profane the Name of the Almighty God. We may not worship Baal but we are still vulnerable to worshipping false gods such as money, fame, and success. He desires to give all of us an opportunity to repent of our sins and turn to Him.
Because of the sinful things they say,because of the evil that is on their lips, let them be captured by their pride, their curses, and their lies. Destroy them in your anger! Wipe them out completely! Then the whole world will know that God reigns in Israel.
Psalms 59:12-13 (NLT)
When God acts it is because He has extended His mercy to us as long as He has deemed possible. When that happens, God will no longer listen to our prideful excuses of how we should do things our way instead of obeying Him. God has heard enough of our curses and lies. We should know better than to tempt God into action because when He does act, He definitely takes it to the next level.
And I pray that no one will have to experience this.
Turn away from the false gods of this world and turn to the only True God, Jesus Christ, as your Lord and Savior.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.