Elijah's Challenge
1 Kings 18:24
And call you on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answers by fire, let him be God…

Moses challenged the necromancers of Egypt, Elijah challenged the priests of Baal, Christ challenges the world. At first the challenge was more strictly physical, now it is intensely spiritual. What religion produces the highest and finest type of character? That is the challenging question! Where, in Christian or in pagan lands, have we the finest men, the purest character, the most sensitive honour? Where are schools, hospitals, asylums, and charities of every kind most abundant? That Christian countries are disgraced by some of the foulest crimes possible in human life, may but show that their very foulness and atrocity never could have been so vividly seen and so cruelly felt but for the enlightenment and culture furnished by Christianity. In any other countries they would have been matters of course; in Christian lands their abomination is seen by the help of Christian light. To-day Christianity appeals not to a few sectarian prophets, or a few bewildered speculators, nor to a few scientists who are wild with boy-like joy because they have found a bird's nest, but have never seen the bird that built it; Christianity makes its appeal to the great, broad heart of human nature, to the common sufferings of the race, to the indestructible sentiments of mankind — to the people first and the prophets next, and calls upon the people in all their multitudinousness to force their mumbling prophets to bring the mumble that chokes their throat to distinct and calculable articulation, and to compare the noise of charlatanism with the music of Divine teaching. In Elijah's day the people said, "It is well spoken," and of Christ it is said, "The common people heard Him gladly." Full opportunity has been given to men to show the worth of their idolatries and superstitions. In this controversy the prophets of Baal had the first chance. Elijah stood back that they might do their best. False religions cannot complain that they have not had field enough. "There was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded" (ver. 29). It is precisely so with every false creed, every false science, every false prophet to-day. There is nothing to show! All effort ends in silence. Prodigious exertions finish in prodigious emptiness. Of every teacher, other than Christian, we ask: Where are the sinners whom you have released from the torment of remorse? Where are the mourners whose tears you have dried? Millions of men praise Christ. Sinners will stand up thick as armies, filling the valleys, thronging the hills, declaring that in Christ they have found the joy of pardon.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.

WEB: You call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of Yahweh. The God who answers by fire, let him be God." All the people answered, "It is well said."

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