1 Kings 18:26-29
And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.
These gods like Baal were mere creations of people’s imaginations. They were stories, figments, and yet the people were so wholly dedicated to them. They served them, worshiped them, gave them offerings. And here, in this sort of showdown between Elijah and the prophets of Baal, their cries disappear into thin air. There is no one to hear, no one to respond, no one to accept the offering, because Baal is nothing but a name and an idea.
God, on the other hand, is very real. He is a God who hears, who sees, who knows, and who acts according to His own will. He wasn’t just a name or an idea, words in a book, a list of rules to follow. He is a real being above and beyond our understanding of all that He is. And He responds to Elijah’s prayer, and He shows His power, and He consumes everything with His fire. And He shows Himself to a doubting, unbelieving, backslidden group of idol worshipers, and they can’t help but say, “He is the God.”
There is no other. These idols we fashion are made up. They are nothing. They do nothing. They are names and ideas and things we conjure up that are totally separate from the real God who sees us and knows us and is at work in our world. No matter our crying or the appeals we make to them, we will get the same response those prophets got—no voice, none to answer, none to regard. But what a difference to cry out to the living God, to seek His face, to look for Him and to Him for the answers we need. He is there and will respond. Many things can take the place of God in our hearts, but they can never replace what only God can actually do in our hearts and lives.