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Summary: Elijah broke into the atmosphere of human history like a comet. We have no story of his birth or background. His coming was as sudden and mysterious as was his going in the flaming chariot.

Elijah was the Luther of the Old Testament. He was God's

man of the hour to begin a reformation and lead the children

of Israel back to God. For about 50 years devotion to God

had been decreasing. Ahab was now king in Israel, and he

was more wicked than all who had gone before him. He

married Jezebel, who was the daughter of the king of Tyre,

and he let her erect altars to Baal all over the hills of Israel.

She was a heathen to the core, and she tired to wipe out all

worship of Jehovah by persecuting the people and killing the

prophets of Jehovah. With Jezebel promoting it, and Ahab

protecting it,

Baal worship became popular among the people. There was a real

danger that the people of God would be swallowed up in

idolatry. Baal was a non-existent god, but he was having a

great influence in the lives of people. Everywhere the people

would go they would see altars to Baal. Jezebel put a great

deal of wealth into these altars. Their beauty and the

elaborate ceremony of the 850 false prophets appealed to the

people. Certainly all of this worship must please God is what

they thought, and almost unconsciously they began to think of

Baal as their god.

It was time for God again to act in history and

reveal Himself as the only true God. This He did, and as

always, it was through a man of God with courage and

conviction. Elijah broke into the atmosphere of human

history like a comet. We have no story of his birth or

background. His coming was as sudden and mysterious as

was his going in the flaming chariot. Out of the blue he

appears before Ahab. He said to him that there would be no

reign for 3 years, and then he disappears. Now after 3 years

of famine, during which Ahab searched the land for him,

Elijah comes again and calls for a showdown that will settle

the issue once and for all as to who is God. Will it be Jehovah

or Baal? Ahab accepts the challenge, and so all the people

and the false prophets gather on Mt. Carmel. We want to

examine this great incident in the light of three characteristics

of Elijah that qualified him for this great battle.

I. HE WAS A MAN OF CONVICTION. v. 21

As soon as the people are gathered Elijah comes and does

two things. He charges them with compromise, and then he

calls them to commitment. He says, "How long will you halt

between two opinions? How long are you going to go limping

back and forth between Jehovah and Baal? How long are

you going to try and lean both ways?" This lack of conviction

that leads to compromise is one of man's greatest curses. To

halt between two opinions is to have no opinion. It is to

decide for nothing. It is a position of folly when it comes to

choosing one's loyalty to God. D. L. Moody said, "I firmly

believe that more men are lost by indecision than by anything

else." G. Campbell Morgan said, "I have a great deal more

hope of winning that man who serves the devil well then the

man who stays half-way between God and the devil, and does

not know which to serve."

You can be a Democrat one year and a Republican the

next. You can golf one year and bowl the next. You can work

in an office one year and a factory the next. In politics,

sports, and business, and many other facets of life, you can

change your tastes, opinions and convictions, but when it

comes to faith it is either Jehovah or Baal. It is either the

God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, or the Baal of

money, power, pleasure, or some other idol. It cannot be

both, for you cannot serve God and mammon. To be

undecided is the worst decision of all. Dante in his Devine

Comedy has a place outside of hell, which he calls the Inferno

of Contempt. It is for those "without blame and without

praise." To be neither good or bad, nor hot or cold is the

most dangerous thing in the world.

Elijah was no Mr. Facing Both Ways, but he was a man of

deep convictions. His name fits him perfectly for it means

"Jehovah is my God." He is a man of conviction and he calls

the people to stop being undecided and make a commitment.

If the Lord is God then follow him, and if Baal is God then

follow him, but make a choice and stop trying to play both

sides. It will not work in religion any more than it will work in

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