No Excuse for Lack of Faith Published week of August 16, 2020
In 1 Kings 18, the prophet Elijah asks the so-called people of God a crucial question. In verse 21 he challenges them, saying, 'How long will you waver between two opinions?' His reasoning is rather blunt and to the point, 'If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal is god, follow him.' In other words, 'Quit straddling the fence and pick a side!'
Even to us today in the church, God has made it clear in His Word that we cannot love both Christ and the world (see Matthew 6:24). The genuine Christian cannot claim to follow Jesus and hold onto the former way of thinking and living. This is what the Israelites were trying to do. They wanted to worship both God and Baal. I starting thinking about this and I have concluded they were struggling with a lack of faith. God’s people were “covering their bases,” so to speak. Just in case God was not who He said He was, they also offered sacrifices to the gods of the world.
Elijah decides to get to the bottom of their unbelief through an amazing encounter with the prophets of the false gods. In doing so, he is forcing God’s people to choose a side. Their whimsical back-and-forth lifestyle was totally unacceptable to a holy God. What happened next was somewhat of a showdown between Elijah and Baal’s prophets . . . and more importantly between Baal and Jehovah. Guess who won? God won with resounding victory.
When Elijah prays to God to burn up the sacrifice (which was drenched in water, along with the altar), he asks God to answer, Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. (1 Kings 18:37). Think of all God had done for the people of Israel in revealing Himself to them over and over throughout their family history. Furthermore, consider all of the evidence they had of His existence and His character.
He had chosen them out of all the peoples of the world, by His will and not because of anything they had done (Abram and Sarai). Don't forget, He had made a covenant with them and had never failed to honor His word, even when they were unfaithful. However, they still didn’t believe fully in their God.
What about us today? Are we much different? Do we wholeheartedly worship God and God alone, trusting in His character; or are we, like the Israelites, double-minded in our faith? We have so much more than the Israelites of old, for we have the cross and the empty tomb which should be all the evidence we should ever need.
Dear Father, I confess that I am double-minded at times, trying to follow You with a divided heart. Please forgive me for my lack of faith. Help me to trust You more and to serve You with all of my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.