It was the Superbowl of preachers. It was a big contest, but it wasn’t fair. On one side, 400 prophets of Baal would try to persuade their god to “fire-up” the sacrifice laid out on the altar. You remember the story don’t you. They had quite a prayer meeting on the top of that mountain! They prayed long and they prayed loud; they prayed hard proud. They started in the morning and went all day. I’m sure there was a lot of battalogeo and polylogia. There was flowery speech, magical incantation and a lot of it.
And after a while the praying wasn’t enough so the Bible says that they “leaped about the altar they had made.” Well, it was all getting kind of funny to Elijah. O yes, I didn’t tell you. He was the One preacher of Jehovah who was taking on all 400 of Baal’s boys. And this prophet was in a mocking mood.
He said, “Hey, boys, you’re just not yelling loud enough. Come on! Let me hear you now! You’ve really got to use your diaphragm. That Baal dude is out in the back yard meditating, or else he’s busy or, I’ve got it! He’s in Bermuda at a luxury resort getting a massage and you’re going to have to really scream to wake him up.
Well, that just got those prophets really going. They began to scream and they picked up knives and lances and began to cut themselves until the Bible says that the blood gushed out.
Now, what was going on here? These “heathen” were engaging in “vain repetitions” and “much speaking.” Why were they doing that? Because they were trying to get the attention of a non-existent God.