By Theodore Epp
1 Kings 18:25-29
As the majority group, the worshipers of Baal had been given first chance. Because there were so many of them it took them only a very short time to prepare the sacrifice. As is often the case in matters that pertain to God, however, the majority was on the wrong side.
When Elijah admonished these idolatrous priests not to put any fire under their offering, he was warning them that he would not stand for any tricks. They had often deceived people, but what they were now doing was out in the open with many eyes watching them. There was no opportunity given to these tricksters and imposters to use fire on the altar to Baal.
The frenzy of Baal's prophets reached its height at noon. In the excitement generated by the rhythm and speed of the priests' action, it would not have taken a great deal for the people watching them to have been swept off their feet emotionally and to have joined in the wild orgy. But Elijah was ready for this very thing. He very effectively used the weapon of sarcasm to expose the intentions of these evil men and at the same time to insure emotional stability among the observers.
It is possible that Israel had never seen such earnestness and enthusiasm at any previous time. But such things are no proof that the cause is good and true. Some people assume that such a display of zeal and fervor is evidence of spirituality; however, this can be far from the truth.
"The king is not saved by a mighty army; a warrior is not delivered by great strength" (Ps. 33:16, NASB).