And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. 1 Kings 18:21
Over three years of drought have led to severe famine. God tells Elijah it’s time to bring back the rain. But as is generally the case in the life of a prophet, it won’t happen in an ordinary way. It’s going to be a showdown between Elijah – the prophet of God – and the 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah (the false god of the king and people). The people worship God, but also the other false gods; they try to cover all the bases, hoping for the best. Elijah says they are “limping between two different opinions” and it’s not ok. It’s time to choose.
Each side will select a bull for sacrifice, cut it, and place it on the wood. The prophets of Baal will call upon their god to light their fire, and Elijah will call upon God to light his fire.
The Baal prophets go first. From morning to noon, they cry out to Baal. Crickets. Elijah starts to taunt them. “Cry louder”, he says. Maybe your god is relieving himself or taking a little nap, he mocks more. Ramped up cries to Baal with raving and cutting…and more silence. A false god never saves or keeps its promises.
Elijah’s turn. Not only does he put the bull on the wood, he has the people pour water over it three times, making it even harder to burn. Nothing is impossible for his God. Elijah prays to the Lord and immediately the sacrifice is consumed by fire from God. The One true God provides.
The people believe that God is the one true God and they destroy the prophets of Baal. Not long after, the rains come. God always provides. God always keeps His promises. If only we could cling to this belief and trust Him always, but we will soon see the roller coaster continues.
Questions: Do you find yourself “limping between two opinions” as Elijah said to the people…trusting God a little, but also seeking other “idols”? Do you find yourself not necessarily anti-God, but worshiping a few other added things just for good measure?