(NIV1984) 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.’
“But the people said nothing.”
“Elijah went before the people” (NIV1984, 1 Kings 18:21)! There still hasn’t been rain, and there won’t be until after (SPOILER) this display and the following massacre (END SPOILER). But Elijah already presented himself to Ahab. So what’s going on here? Was this already planned before Elijah went out? Did he know this was going to happen first, or did he just run with it as God led him?
Secondly, it’s cool how this ends up “before the people” (NIV1984, 1 Kings 18:21). It’s not just a decision made by rulers and prophets but by a people who become fully convinced that the LORD is God. But they start out here saying nothing. Do they not already know the truth and thus are uncertain, or do they really already know and are just ashamed of their actions?
I guess, for me, this is something that God calls some of us (all of us?) to eventually – to decide between two masters. Of course there’s constantly that decision between Him or sin. But I think – at least for me, I have a hard time with idols. It’s easy for me to, like, not consciously worship, but start depending on something other than God.
And here Elijah is calling the people out – you’re going “between two opinions” (NIV1984 1 Kings 18:21). This reminds me of James talking about and the doubting man who is blown about by the sea (James 1:6). It’s a different context in James – he’s talking about people asking for wisdom, and Elijah is talking about people who are wavering between God and an idol. Total different circumstances. It’s just…interesting to me – that connection, for me, is there.
And, eventually, God calls us to choose between the two – between Him and whoever or whatever else we put our dependence on – just like He does with the people here.
I don’t know if He does it in the same way as here – but He does prove Himself day in and day out as more than enough and better than anything else we could ever try to put our dependence in. He alone deserves our trust in this. He alone can save.
And at first – the people say nothing. They have no response whatsoever. But God’s display here – it is wonderful and powerful and so amazing that the people, in the end, only have one overwhelming response.
I’m excited to get there with you guys – but it’ll take a few days. First we’ll be looking at the display itself, the comparison, the contrast – and I’m looking forward to seeing it again!