Choosing Sides

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The Lord tells the people of Israel to pick a side. You cannot straddle the fence. You cannot love both Christ and the world.

When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, ‘The LORD – He is God! The LORD – He is God!’”  1 Kings 18:39 

God has made it clear in His Word that we cannot love both Christ and the world. We cannot claim to follow Jesus and hold onto our former way of thinking and living. This is what the Israelites were trying to do in 1 Kings 18. They wanted to worship both God and Baal. What this really boiled down to was a lack of faith. God’s people were “covering their bases,” so to speak. Just in case God was not who He said He was, they also offered sacrifices to the gods of the world.

In 1 Kings 18, Elijah asked the people of God a crucial question. In verse 21 he challenged them, saying, “How long will you waver between two opinions?” His reasoning was quite simple…”If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal is god, follow him.” In other words, “Quit straddling the fence and pick a side!”  

Elijah decided to get to the bottom of their unbelief through a heated encounter with the prophets of the false gods. In doing so, he urged God’s people to choose a side. Their back-and-forth lifestyle was unacceptable to a holy God – and so is ours. What happened next was somewhat of a showdown between Elijah and Baal’s prophets…and more importantly between Baal and Jehovah. And God won with resounding victory.

When Elijah prayed to God to burn up the sacrifice (which was drenched in water, along with the altar), he asked God to answer, “So these people will know that You, O LORD, are God, and that You are turning their hearts back again.” Think of all God had done for the people of Israel…all of the evidence they had of His existence and His character. And yet still they doubted…their faith wavered.

He had chosen them out of all the peoples of the world, by His will and not because of anything they had done. He had made a covenant with them and had never failed to honor His word, even when they were unfaithful. And yet, they still didn’t believe fully in their God.

What about us today? Are we much different? Do we wholeheartedly worship God and God alone, trusting in His character; or are we, like the Israelites, double-minded in our faith? We have the cross and the empty tomb. And that is all the evidence we should ever need.

Dear Father, I confess that I can be double-minded, trying to follow You with a divided heart. Please forgive me for my lack of faith. Help me to trust You more and to serve You with all of my heart.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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