1 Kings 18:21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
This is one of the most famous, and dramatic, challenges in the whole Bible, and actually, in all of human history. It really isn’t so surprising that the people weren’t up to responding to it. What stands out to me is Elijah’s boldness, the absolute assurance of his faith. He had experienced enough of God that in this moment there was no room for doubt anywhere in him. God has an easy time using someone like that! It seems very obvious that he was hearing from God clearly at this point, and that was enough for him. This sort of thing has happened many times throughout history, with a wide variety of results. Sometimes the results have been glorious victory on the spot, as happened here, but sometimes they have been the martyrdom of the servant of God. I am reminded of the story of a missionary family that was kidnapped in China about a century ago by a local warlord and his thugs. They were in a “kangaroo court” of sorts, being accused of subverting people with false religion, and the adults were speechless. However, the 12-year-old daughter spoke up with great boldness, called a spade a spade, and declared that they would have to answer to God Almighty for what they were doing. The people were stunned, and for a moment it seemed that they might release the family, but then the warlord gave the order and they were all killed, including the girl. The reason we know the story is that at least one of the men present was never able to shake the memory of what he had seen and heard, and later became a Christian, choosing to follow the God the girl had proclaimed. Whether the immediate result is triumph or martyrdom should not be the issue for us. Like Elijah here and like that girl, we need to be totally dedicated and obedient, leaving the outcome to our Lord.
I’ve never been presented with a situation like this. The closest I’ve come was when an acquaintance came to the church drunk, saying he was looking for a particular person to kill him, but somehow he couldn’t find him. I wasn’t sure who he was talking about, but I thought it might be one of our members, who was a former gangster. I told him that if he really wanted to kill someone he could kill me, because I knew I was going to heaven. Obviously he didn’t do that, and it was enough of a shock to him that I was able to talk him down. I hadn’t planned on getting into that situation, obviously, but the Lord gave me the boldness I needed when I needed it, and I’m grateful. I don’t know what lies ahead for me, but I do know that my Lord is more than up to it, so whether I am or not is beside the point. I am to focus on daily faithfulness, and leave everything else up to Him.
Father, thank You for this strong reminder. These are interesting days, on many levels. Help me indeed “not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,” (Philippians 4:6) submit everything to You, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!
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