Have you ever used the phrase “At the end of the day…”?
In I Kings 18, The Bible records an incident that has profound implications for our day. The prophet Elijah confronts the prophets of Baal. Here is the indictment against the false prophets (and by guilt of association…) the people of God. They had chosen to follow the Baals.
Prior to such apostasy three other things had taken place;
- The people of God had abandoned the one true God
- They had deliberately forsaken the faith of their fathers
- They did it because they wanted to make a name for themselves
Elijah literally called them out.
How long will you waver between two opinions? As I read the phrase ‘two opinions’, I thought of James’ warning in his letter in the New Testament
If any of you lacks wisdom he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double minded man, unstable in all he does James 1:5-8
Paul uses the phrase ‘tossed to and from by every wind of doctrine’
Led by the Lord, Elijah challenges the prophets of Baal, and… by extension the people of God. He tells the people and their prophets to prepare a sacrifice. Cut the wood.. cut the bull…but don’t light it. I’ll do the same and we’ll see Who is Who. The God who answers by fire from heaven is the real God.
The prophets of Baal prepared the sacrifice…
First they called out…(crickets)
Then they raised the volume and Shouted…(crickets)
Shout louder Elijah taunted them…”maybe your god is sleeping, or deep in thought or traveling”
Doubling down on stupid…the prophets of Baal shouted even louder and began to slash themselves
The sad but predictable result from trusting in Baal describes the hollowness of those who today want to approach god on their own terms
- There was no response
- No one answered
- No one paid attention
At the end of the day…
Elijah then repaired the altar of God which was in ruins (an altar by the way which was to have no tool of man used on it) He waited until the time set by God for the evening sacrifice (not his own discretionary whim)
His prayer is not harsh but compassionate
Oh Lord God of Abraham and of Israel, let it be known today that You are God in Israel and that I am your servant and that I have done all these things at Your command. Answer me Lord Oh answer me, so these people will know that You Oh Lord, are God and that You are turning their hearts back again
The Scripture succinctly reports what happened next. “Then the Fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.”
When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried The Lord He is God—The Lord He is God!
Os Guinness, in his book, Impossible People CHRISTIAN COURAGE and the STRUGGLE for the SOUL of CIVILIZATION makes this powerful observation It is found in the chapter, All on our own and All up to Us.
The universe has a created order, including right and wrong, true and false, male and female, and therefore it has an ethical and social ecology just as it has an environmental ecology. Respect this order and the result will be the blessing of a multilevel prosperity, but reject it and the outcome will be the curse of deepening chaos and disaster. In short there is an ethical equivalent to the second law of thermodynamics. Like all systems and institutions, nations and civilizations lose energy over time, and the idea of ever-innovating, self-engineered perpetual growth is a mirage. Social construction is anti-Jewish, anti-Christian, and ultimately, anti-human.
Let the contest between claims begin. Os Guinness, Impossible People (Kindle Version) p. 1813