AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE – CUT THE BULL
On Sunday pastor Jeremy Johnson continued our series “As For Me And My House” by posing the same question Elijah proposed to the prophets of Baal, “How long will you waver between two opinions?” The choice to follow God above everything else is a constant in our lives. Even Jesus was confronted with it.
Matthew 4:8-10 says, “Again, the devil took him (Jesus) to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’ 10 Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
Has the devil ever taken you up to a mountaintop? We often think that every mountaintop that we are led to we are led to by God but this scripture proves otherwise. Yes, God is with you in the valley and He’s with you on the mountaintop and can lead you to both but so can the devil. Wherever you find yourself ask God if He’s the one that has led you there. The Lord may be waiting for you to say, “For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” Whatever the world tries to offer is mediocre compared to what God Himself has for you. If He’s leading you He will prepare a table for you in the presence of your enemies! His blessings will overflow (Psalm 23). In order to live in a state of overflow we cannot allow ourselves to waver between two opinions. This is what Elijah was trying to show the prophets of Baal, “So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel.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.’ But the people said nothing (1 Kings 18:20-21).”
This is much like the American church today. We have tried to bring our culture (our ideas and opinions) to the word of God as opposed to bringing the word to our culture. We have given in to the idea that we only live once so we might as well live the way we want to live. That may sound good but the foundations of that belief system came from the founder of the satanic church. Their commandment is “do what thou wilt that be the whole law.” We are not meant to live our lives this way. We are meant to live as Jesus lived. Jesus lived for the will of the Father even when His will was not the same. It’s human nature to want to do what we want to do. But when we live apart from God we forfeit our destiny for some mediocre dream that could only be fulfilled by our own means. Instead of our divine destiny that can catapult us beyond what we could ever imagine or dream. The prophets of Baal knew this kind of living well. They did whatever they could within their own means to get their god’s attention:
22 Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.”
Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”
25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” 26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it.
Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.
27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.”28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”
34 “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.
“Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.
36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
38 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.
39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God! (1 Kings 18:22-39).
Elijah was among the minority that believed in God but His obedience led the prophets of Baal to the one true God. Obedience is no easy task but when you see what obedience can do it is well worth it. We need to repair the altar in our lives just as Elijah did so that others can see that through Jesus they can find the kind of peace and fulfillment they’ve been looking for. Choosing to be obedient to the Lord in the midst of others opinions including our own is the most powerful thing we can do. Our choice to follow the Lord allows generations to come to overflow with blessing. Following our own way will only lead us to a life of striving just like the prophets of Baal. There’s no striving with King Jesus. He is worth laying down our opinions for. He is worth following. He offers us life beyond this one. The other things we serve only offer us short term pleasure but He gives us eternity. Don’t waste another day wavering between Him and the world. Give Him your all today and see the table He has prepared for you!