Back in 1 Samuel, we read one of the most treasured stories of the Old Testament, David and Goliath. David carefully chose 5 smooth stones from the brook that ran with deep cut banks on either side; hidden from the giant who had entered the valley stretching between the camps of the Philistines and the Israelites. Silently speaking to Yahweh, David crossed the stream and rose above the banks to the grassy meadow where the Rephaim awaited him with a spear the size of a weavers beam. And then the trash talking began.
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel” (1 Samuel 17:45-47).
Now, the great sin of the Kings that followed after David was their willingness to worship other gods; like King Ahab led astray by his wife, Jazabel. Enter Elijah, the great prophet of the desert in 1 Kings. “He was as a fire, and his word burnt like a torch” (Sirach 48:1.) Elijah is sent to challenge Ahab and the people: “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him”.
Elijah challenges the priests of Baal, all 450 of them show up. Each side builds for themselves alters for sacrifices. Each will call upon their gods, or God to bring fire down to consume the sacrifices, each has prepared. As the Priests of Baal carry on even mutilating their bodies in the process, the trash talking begins. Elijah taunts them: “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.” (1 Kings 18:27). The Priests fail. When Elijah prays, God answers: “Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!”’(1 Kings 18:39.) The Old Testament tells us much about God’s jealousy; His desire for us to honor, trust and worship Him alone. Ain’t it so!