Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday's Word-The View from 30,000-Part 3

So, you believe that there COULD be A god...

Which one should you choose?
The opportunities are endless...
And, contrary to SOME beliefs, they are NOT ALL THE SAME GOD!
(but that's a WHOLE OTHER can of worms...)

I don't know about you, but I want MY God to be:
All Knowing!
I want MY God to be someone who knows more than I KNOW!
I want MY God to be someone who has a better plan than I HAVE!
You know, THE ORIGINAL?!

Wednesday's Word is comin' atcha from 1 Kings chapter 19 today! Yep, that's FIRST Kings! (It's on page 297) !) In this time, this king named Ahab was ruling, and the nation of Israel was primarily worshiping this god called "Baal." Ahab followed a line of atleast five other kings of Israel who "did evil in the sight of the Lord." But, the Bible says this about Ahab: he "did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him...more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel to anger than did all the kings of Israel before him." (1Kings 16: 30, 33) And, Ahab, was on a manhunt for a prophet of God named Elijah....and Elijah "turns himself in."

Elijah told Ahab to assemble all of Israel on Mt. Carmel, and to make sure he brought the 450 some-odd "prophets" of this god, Baal, along. Check it out:
God-1 prophet.

So, they all assemble, and Elijah says, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." (1Kings 18: 21) I see all these people considering the true God. They get SO close to making their minds up and then they waver.

Is it fear?
Is it not wanting to give up control?
Outside influence?
Not wanting to give up their current lifestyle?

That was a pretty BOLD statement by Elijah! He's so confident in his God that he could say with authority to choose between the two. Whoever is REAL, choose Him! How did he do this? He basically says:
You prepare a sacrifice to YOUR god.
I'll prepare a sacrifice to MY God.
"The god who answers by fire-he is God." (18:24)
Everyone agreed.

The 450 prophets of Baal went first. They prepared this sacrifice and then began to call on Baal (all 450 of them). They called out and danced from morning until noon. No answer. I love Elijah's response around noontime (a little bit of sarcasm):

"'Shout louder!' he said. 'Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is asleep and must be awakened.'" (18: 27)
Love it! Can you hear it now?
(think of your best radio voice)
"BAAL! The Traveling god!"

Then these "prophets" shouted louder and started slashing themselves with swords and spears! These guys continued in their "frantic prophesying" until it was time for the evening sacrifice.
No answer.

Now it was time for Elijah to prove to these people his God was FOR REAL! He built his altar with stones and dug a trench around it. He told some people to fill four large jars full of water and to pour it on the altar. So, these people would have had to carry these jars to a water source, fill it, and carry it back. Remember, they're on top of a mountain, so unless there was a top-o-the-mountain lake, they may have had to travel somewhat to find a water source. Elijah had them do this three times. This would have given the water enough time to soak into all the wood on the altar, and the bible tell us that there was so much water that the trench they dug was full of water. By this time, I think we can safely assume it's either dusk, or dark since the other prophets threw in the towel around the time for the evening sacrifice, at which point Elijah began building the altar and called for the people to gather the water.

At this point, Elijah calls on his God one time:

"Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again." (18: 37)

"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." (18: 38)

What a sight THAT must have been! A fireworks display straight from God! God proved Himself after a long day of waiting, hoping, worshiping this false god. And the people's reply?

"They fell prostrate and cried, 'The Lord-he is God! The Lord-he is God!'"
(18: 39)

See, these other "gods" cannot prove themselves. They do not measure up! They are not THE ONE, TRUE GOD! FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY PEOPLE TRIED to call on a god that simply did not exist. ONE MAN called the ONE God, and BAM! God showed up. He proved Himself.

He has been tested.
He showed Himself to be true.
Like Elijah said,
"if the Lord is God, follow Him."

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