Elijah

4.1.1PROP:  A toilet
KEY SCRIPTURE: 1 Kings 18

Did you know that there is potty humor in the Bible? Your Sunday school teachers
probably forgot to tell you that. Or maybe they didn’t know. But there’s a really great
potty joke in the Bible, and most people never, ever notice it.

It happened during a confrontation between the prophet Elijah and the prophets of
Baal. Baal was the popular god in Israel during the reign of King Ahab and Queen
Jezebel. God had had enough of people worshipping Baal, so he sent Elijah to
challenge Baal and his followers.

The challenge was simple: Each side would build an altar and make a sacrifice.
They would then call on their god to send fire from heaven to burn up the sacrifice.
Elijah was nice enough to let the prophets of Baal go first. They started early in
the morning, worshipping and crying out to Baal for fire. For hours and hours, they
danced and called on their god. But Baal never answered.

Elijah sat back and watched as the prophets danced and called on their god. Then
Elijah did something you might expect to see at a sporting event today: He started to
trash talk the prophets of Baal! “Shout louder!” he said. “Maybe Baal is asleep and he
can’t hear you!”

Then Elijah said something else. The literal translation of Elijah’s words is “Maybe
he has gone aside.” Most Bible translations change these words to “Maybe Baal has
gone on a trip.” But in the original language, “gone aside” is a slang phrase, and it
does not mean “gone on a trip.”

Elijah was saying, “Maybe Baal is on the toilet!”

Now those are fighting words, right?

Of course Baal wasn’t on the toilet, and he wasn’t asleep. He wasn’t there at all—
exactly the point Elijah was trying to make. When Elijah’s turn came, he built his altar,
made a sacrifice, and had buckets and buckets of water poured over both. He said
one prayer, and foom! Fire fell from the sky and devoured the sacrifice.

It’s a great reminder that our God is a real God. He listens, and he answers our
prayers. And God will not take a backseat to false gods that we make up on our own.
So next time you take a seat on your “throne,” take a moment to thank God for the
reminder that he is still on his throne. (No, I don’t mean the toilet!)

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