If you thought that the influence of Baalism faded with the passage of time, think again. Baal may be a mere idol, an idea about fertility cooked up by eastern peoples, but the effects of this false religion is attractive to others beside people who live in an agricultural society, as did the Israelites. Baalism was arguably the deadliest threat to Israel’s faith in Yahweh. It was the focus of many cautions from Moses, Joshua and succeeding Israelite leaders. Baalism left it’s mark on the Jewish people to the extent that our Lord found it important to caution His hearers to avoid certain prayer practices. Among them are repetitious prayer, unnecessary ritual and self-flagellation. Baalism’s mark is clearly evident in the church’s prayer practices. Baalism’s mark is also evident in the sex-soaked culture of many nations. Well, here we are, 20 centuries later, and Baal is fully integrated into the Church of the Firstborn The lesson from Mount Carmel, reiterated by Yeshua, has likely never been understood in its relevance to prayer.
First, one cannot serve Baal and Yahweh, God and money. Limping between two opinions is absurd and pitiful. One must serve Christ or stop pretending to belong to Him. Secondly, one should not pray like a heathen, because Yeshua said so.
The showdown on Mount Carmel between Elijah and the prophets of Baal contains a sobering lesson for Christian leaders. What goes on when some churches are at prayer is incredibly revealing, especially with someone assigned to lead and the worshippers cannot hear the prayer leader, so that they can give an intelligent “Amen” at the end. Or have you not heard some sinful prayers and wondered “Where did that person learn to pray?”
It goes without saying then that the devil has something to do with so-called Christians who are locked in repetitious prayer, addicted to dramatic physical contortions, and joined at the hip with strange doctrines and fables, just like the Baalist.
These practices support the fact that there really is something to the influence of ancient customs on twenty-first century spiritual leadership. The high number of worship services that closely resemble Baalism cannot be attributed to anything Christian. The threat to Christian life from this development and trend is evidently serous.
Worship, as a specifically prepared event, lies at the heart of “what is happening in heaven”, hence, when we pray “Let Your kingdom come, let Your will be done” we are addressing a significant component of worship and prayer. At the centre of the heavenly court is the throne of God and the Lamb, where prayer and adoration are the main occupation. The request and performance of God’s will are at the centre of the vision of heaven.
Secondly, the Lord’s interest in us having a successful prayer life – expressed in His teaching and example – tells us of the essential place of prayer in the believer’s life. The flavour of Christian life is found in the communications between the believer and the Father. This is made possible through the work of the Holy Spirit.
Just how much the believer leads a stunted depends on how much the believer is communicating with the Father. We can discover the path to answering when we are able to sift the facts of successful and futile prayer.
Events on Mount Carmel
The Baalist happenings on Mount Carmel (and everywhere else) are a mere pretence. There is one God who has fire and water in ultimate control. Certain allowances are granted to the real power behind Baalism, the devil. He is able to perform deceptive wonders. They are wonders nonetheless. The showdown therefore provides an occasion where the people get to see the difference between (a) God and Baal (b) phony prayers and genuine prayers. It was to those ends that God commissioned Elijah to expose the prophets of Baal. The exposure occurred in the following manner.
(1) And call ye on the name of your gods, and (2) I will call on the name of the LORD: and (3) the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. (4) And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken. 1 Kings 18:24
This fourfold arrangement provides (1) evidence for Baal or God and (2) for the NAME of the deity to be voiced and acknowledged, (3) the production of the request and (4) the challenge of this arrangement was accepted by both sides. So the prophets of Baal prepared their invocation. It was all in vain. Baal had no fire.
The prophets of 21st century Baalism do not have any evidence of their God who is just waiting to do a miracle, and they have no evidence that God wants to stop people from suffering, for they themselves are vivid examples of brokenness. Their family lives are twisted as was Adam (and mine). They do not reverse every condition as they claim.
Most telling is not the absence of any miracle , but the act they put on they lie and put on an act when it comes to prayer just like the Baalist did on Mount Carmel. When they run out of clichés they mutter their favourite pseudo-glossolalic mantra which is predictably the same every weekend. How can a prayer life be so bereft of content that the same phrase is uttered every time prayer supposedly runs deep?
These modern Baalists can fool their comrades in folly, but no-one who has been instructed in righteousness will spend any time telling them they need a life. Elijah, conformably to his times, put them to death. We graciously leave them to their idols. A pastor who is stuck on the same recitation every weekend is strong evidence of an unregenerate life. A preacher who prepares a sermon that he cannot possibly give in one session is grossly incompetent. A preacher who thinks that stomping his feet, clapping his hands, and yelling has some specific effect on demonic forces is short-sighted and unlearned in things of the Spirit.
One of these days, the God of Elijah will put a cap on the showdown. He will say quite clearly to the 21st century Baalist, “Do I know you?” and they will claim to have exorcised demons, prophesied, and performed wonders in His name. He will turn them away and assign them to darkness. That is where charlatans and conmen belong: not in the pulpit, and certainly not at the gateway to eternal life. The Church is the ground and pillar of truth, There is no friendship between Baal and Yeshua.