1 Kings 18: Elijah versus 450 Priests of Baal

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 109–110

Three years of drought did not seem to soften the hearts of King Ahab or the Israelites. In 1 Kings 18 we read about a dramatic event where the Lord, through Elijah, powerfully showed that He is a living God, as opposed to the powerless idol Baal that most of the people worshiped.Of special importance in this story is the idea that Baal was supposed to be the god of fertility, meaning he was the god that made crops grow by giving rain, sun, good soil, and so on. Baal should have been able to send the people rain, but he couldn’t because he is a false god and has no power (see D&C 29:28–29). So there was no rain for three years—just as Elijah had said. The incident in this chapter when Elijah and the priests of Baal met on Mount Carmel is really a way to show that the Lord—not Baal—has power over the elements.
Elijah calls down fire from heaven

Understanding the Scriptures

1 Kings 18

Fountain (v. 5)Springs of water that come out of the ground 
Groves (v. 19)Places where false gods are worshiped through immoral practices 
Halt (v. 21)Pass over 
Bullock (vv. 23, 25–26)Male cow or ox 
Girded up his loins (v. 46)Tucked his cloak in his belt so he could run faster 

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study 1 Kings 18.

Activity A iconWhat’s Wrong with This Question?

  1. 1.

    What do we learn about Ahab from the question he asked Elijah in 1 Kings 18:17?

  2. 2.

    Give an example of how you think some people today have the attitude Ahab showed.

Activity B icon“How Long Halt Ye between Two Opinions?”

  1. 1.

    What impresses you most in this story found in 1 Kings 18:19–46?

  2. 2.

    As Elijah did, modern prophets have asked us to choose between the Lord’s ways and the ways of the world that have no power to save. Give three examples of issues where modern prophets have asked us to choose between ways of the world and the ways of the Lord.

The World’s Way

“How long halt ye between two opinions?” (1 Kings 18:21).

The Lord’s Way

Activity C iconConvinced?

Notice the reaction of the people in 1 Kings 18:39. Write about what most convinces you that “The Lord, he is the God.”