And it came to pass after many days…” So starts the triumph of Elijah over the priests of Baal, and the return of rain to a desert land. Many days here is a matter of years, and the kingdom of Israel has suffered under a famine.
In the nearly 50 years since Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973, more than 62 million human babies, each made in the image of God, have been slaughtered on the altar of convenience.
“I have not troubled Israel; but you, and your father's house, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and have followed Baalim.” So answered Elijah when the king, Ahab husband of Jezebel, blamed the prophet of God for the dryness of the land. And he challenged Ahab, and the Baalimites, and the people of Israel, to come to Mount Carmel and see there what the Lord might do.
Now the nation waits for a decision from the United States Supreme Court regarding Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, one that may overturn Roe. In doing so it would reveal a nation not only divided de facto but de jure over the very nature of the human being.
“How long halt you between two opinions?” So asked Elijah of the assembled people, whether they would choose to serve the Lord or Baal. And Baal’s prophets were 450, and Elijah was only one. The challenge was simple: The prophets made an altar, and the prophet made an altar; and the prophets took a bull, and the prophet took a bull; and the prophets sacrificed the bull but did not set it alight and they called on the name of their god to consume their offering. And nothing happened.
We received a foretaste of all this last September, when Texas’s effective ban on the murder of babies after the sixth week of pregnancy provoked the shrieking anger and despair of votaries observing the desecration of their temple.
“Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or peradventure he sleeps, and must be awaked.” So mocked Elijah. And when the prophets of Baal failed to summon a response from their master, we read they cried aloud, and cut themselves with knives so that the blood gushed out. And though they were many and persisted until the evening, from Baal there was neither voice, nor answer, nor any regard.
Since the leak of the draft opinion regarding Dobbs, there has been an encore to the impotent tantrums of last fall. In a bizarre recent display outside Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s house, women affiliated with a group called “Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights” processed in pants made to appear soaked in blood while carrying baby dolls. Allegedly an illustration of the consequences of “forced births,” the performance looked more like a reminder of the essential violence of tearing babies apart in their mothers’ wombs.
“Come near unto me.” So said Elijah to the people of Israel, and he repaired the altar of the Lord that had broken down. And he prepared the sacrifice, and ordered that the assembly should douse it in water, that most precious thing in their dry land. And he prayed.
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“Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that you are the Lord God, and that you have turned their heart back again.” Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, “The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God.”
Not every tantrum reserves its harm for the flailing child. We know now that, whatever the final ruling in Dobbs, no matter how limited, a national storm is coming. A pro-abortion domestic terrorist group called “Jane’s Revenge” already wages a firebomb campaign against crisis pregnancy centers across the country. Activists can and will be summoned into the streets to sow chaos and destruction in retribution for even the mildest protections of life. Even the long looked for, long prayed for full overturn of Roe will only be the beginning of a new chapter in a spiritual war. But let those who labor hope in every win.
“Go up now, look toward the sea.” So said Elijah to his servant, for he had promised rain to Ahab and to the people of Israel. And as Elijah prayed, the servant went up and looked and, seeing nothing, returned, and Elijah sent him forth again, seven times. “And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, ‘Behold, there arises a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand.’”