Bible Society of South Africa

The Question is: How long will you waver between two opinions? – 5 July 2022

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

21Elijah went up to the people and said, “How much longer will it take you to make up your minds? If the LORD is God, worship him; but if Baal is God, worship him!” But the people didn't say a word.

1 Kings 18:21GNBOpen in Bible reader

How easily do you make a decision? Would you be tongue-tied if someone asked you to decide who you believed God was: the LORD, Creator of the universe, or Baal, a statue formed out of wood which He had created, by a human being? Not all decisions are straightforward, but maybe discernment is more complex than it appears.

Fear may have provoked their silence, and political correctness, because King Ahab and Queen Jezebel worshiped Baal; or perhaps they were put on the spot if, although Israelites, they had been engaging in the pagan Canaanite fertility rites and had ignored God’s commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)

Elijah was clearly not confused and insisted that they recognise their double-mindedness. He had no trouble discerning the difference between truth and falsehood, and he was quick to obey God’s instructions – something that conflicted Israelites found very difficult to do – especially when living where pagan worship was upheld.

But devoted Elijah, boldly facing Ahab while prophesying a drought of many years, (1 Kings 17:1) humbly waiting to be fed by ravens night and morning (1 Kings 17:2-6) when God had instructed him to hide in the Kerith ravine, and obediently staying with a widow and her son during the famine when instructed to, grew in faith. He witnessed God’s continual replenishing of the flour and oil throughout the famine, sufficient to keep them all alive, (1 Kings 17:12-16); and was instrumental in God’s miracle of resurrecting the widow’s son when he became ill and died. (1 Kings 17:19-21)

By the time the showdown with Ahab, Jezebel, the four-hundred-and-fifty prophets of Baal and the people came, which showed God’s power decisively, (1 Kings 18:16-19) Elijah was bold and empowered. When God sent down fire from heaven which consumed the sacrifice, and everything around it, so phenomenally, “all the people fell prostrate and cried, ‘The LORD – he is God! The LORD – he is God!’” (1 Kings 18:39), at last giving their answer

Are we any different to them?

Serving God sincerely can never be half-hearted, but many of us are unaware of when we put other people or things before Him, and succumb to political correctness, or our own whims, to suit another context. Can we walk with God and grow in faith like Elijah when we’re not sure where our true allegiance lies? Do we have to wait for fire from heaven before we decide?

Jesus taught, “No-one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” (Matthew 6:24) He also scolded the church in Laodicea for being lukewarm: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!” (Revelation 3:15-16)

Have we decided where we stand?

Prayer: “Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.” (Psalm 119:33-37) Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.18.10
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