1 Kings 16:32 And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria.
By Richard Lodwick
Here we will look at a terrible state of affairs in the history of Israel, under King Ahab, and his Baal worshiping wife, Jezebel. It would be well for you to read 16:30-33. Now, remember, Elijah was in hiding, on orders from God, because God stopped the rain in Israel for 3 1/2 years.
In 1Ki. 18, we have the confrontation of Elijah and the prophets of Baal, because of what we just read in our verse above. Ahab was as wicked a king as there was, and here is face to face with the most Godly man of the times. Ahab and Jezebel had their Phoenician deities of filth and debauched vulgarity. They had their worship centers all over Israel, and Elijah and God had had enough! These base sons of Belial, with their sexually debauched rituals, and child sacrifices were beyond belief and description! And in 16:33 we see there was a grove, which is filth beyond imagination! (Note, as you read the O.T. “Baalim” is the plural for Baal, that is many Baals). Also, “grove(s)” is most usually “Asherah” where the debauchery was not going to be overlooked by God! There was the worship of Astarte (Ishtar-Assyrian; Ashtoreth- to other religions). And, every time you see these words know that there is filthy pagan worship involved. Here, it had gone on as long as God was going to allow it!!!
Now, how did these pagan idols get into Israel? They were the gods of the Zidonians. Look at 1Ki. 16:31 again. See it? Now look at 18:4. She HATED the True God, AND God’s men and persecuted them fiercely! Did you notice the name of her father in 16:31? Ethbaal. Eth in front means either “in place of” or “vicar.” Look that one up in your dictionary. By the way, the Pope calls himself the “vicar of Christ.” Popery is traced back to… the Assyria, the Phoenicians, and even back to Nimrod (Micah 5:6)!
Now, look at 18:22-40. Elijah reared an altar to the LORD Jehovah, and the confrontation was about to turn real ugly for the Baal worshipers. True worship was demonstrated to the backslidden people, in no uncertain terms! When things get this far gone, with and among His people, God’s holiness demands His action! (Lev. 18:21, Is. 42:8)
I want us to notice the length Elijah went to prove these pagans wrong! He would leave NO doubt in the minds of the people. Note also, it was before their very eyes! An altar… of power and judgment! O, how far they had fallen, worshiping pagan gods & goddesses, even to the point of having their own temples of worship, AND doing it out in the open on hilltops in God’s face! (See 2Chr. 33:19, Jer. 17:3, 19:5, 32:35, & 48:35)
I believe we are there, in America, today! ALL OVER this land are all kinds of pagan altars, of many kinds, where false deities are bowed down to. O, not physically, perhaps, but the worship is still there, just like it was in Israel! And, it’s going on in Christian homes! America, repent… or else!