Royalty and Ruin


Priests of Baal Keep the People Deceived

Against the assurances of hundreds of idol-worshiping priests, the prophecy of Elijah stood alone: If Baal could still give dew and rain, then let the king of Israel worship him and the people say that he is God. Determined to keep the people in deception, the priests of Baal continued to call on their gods night and day to refresh the earth. With a zeal and perseverance worthy of a better cause they lingered alongside their pagan altars and night after night prayed earnestly for rain. But no clouds appeared in the heavens, no dew or rain refreshed the thirsty earth. RR 43.4

A year passed. The scorching heat of the sun destroyed what little vegetation had survived. Streams dried up, and moaning herds and bleating flocks wandered in distress. Once-flourishing fields became like desert sands. The forest trees, gaunt skeletons of nature, afforded no shade. Dust storms blinded the eyes and nearly stopped the breath. Hunger and thirst affected people and animals with fearful mortality. Famine, with all its horrors, came closer and still closer. RR 43.5

Yet Israel did not repent or learn the lesson that God wanted them to learn. Proudhearted, fond of their false worship, they began to look around for some other cause to blame for their sufferings. RR 43.6

Determined to defy the God of heaven, Jezebel united with nearly all of Israel in denouncing Elijah as the cause of their misery. If only they could put him out of the way, their troubles would end. Urged on by the queen, Ahab began a diligent search for the prophet. He sent messengers to surrounding nations to seek for the man whom he hated, yet feared. In his anxiety he required an oath from these kingdoms that they knew nothing of the prophet’s location. But the search was in vain. The prophet was safe from the malice of the king. RR 44.1

When her efforts against Elijah failed, Jezebel determined to kill all the prophets of Jehovah. The infuriated woman massacred many, but not all of them. Obadiah, the governor of Ahab’s house, “had taken one hundred prophets,” and at the risk of his own life had “hidden them, fifty to a cave, and had fed them with bread and water.” 1 Kings 18:4. RR 44.2