Summary: IT WAS A DAY to be remembered, when the multitudes of Israel were assembled at the foot of Mount Carmel, and when the lone prophet of the Lord came forward to defy the four hundred and fifty priests of the false god.
Title: Elijah’s Speech to the Undecided
Text: "How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him; if Baal, then follow him."—1 Kings 18:21.
IT WAS A DAY to be remembered, when the multitudes of Israel were assembled at the foot of Mount Carmel, and when the lone prophet of the Lord came forward to defy the four hundred and fifty priests of the false god.
If we could look at that scene with our mind’s eye, we would find it very interesting. But instead of doing that, lets consider whether or not we can learn a lesson that will help us to improve ourselves.
What we have upon Mount Carmel and the plains surrounding it are three kinds of people. First of all, there is the devoted servant of God, one single prophet. On the other hand, there are the determined servants of Satan, the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. But, the vast majority belonged to a third group. They were those who had not fully decided whether to worship Jehovah, the God of their fathers, or Baal, the god of Jezebel. On one hand, their ancient traditions led them to fear God, and on the other hand, their desire to appease their queen, led them to bow before Baal. Many of them therefore, were secret and half-hearted followers of God, while they were the public worshipers of Baal. All of them, at this juncture, were hesitating between two opinions.
Elijah does not address his sermon to the priests of Baal; he will have something to say to them after a while. Neither does he have anything to say to those who are the servants of God, since they are not there; but his speech is only for those who are hesitating between two opinions.
I believe that we may have these three classes here this morning. We have, I hope, a majority who are on God’s side; who love God and serve him. It’s possible that there are a few who are on the side of the devil, who don’t follow any religion, who hate God and those that are His witnesses; because they are both inwardly and outwardly the servants of the devil. But, the greatest number of people here, belong to the third class—the hesitators. Like empty clouds they are driven here and there by the wind; they lack convictions, and they are dead spiritually. Procrastinators, wishy-washy men and women, undecided persons, it’s to you I am speaking this morning—"How long halt ye between two opinions?"
I pray that the question will be answered by God's Spirit in your hearts, and that you will be led to say, "No longer, Lord, will I hesitate; today I have decided to follow you, and I am your servant forever!"
Our text for today is 1 Kings 18:22-38.
22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.
23 Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it.
24 Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.” So all the people answered and said, “It is well spoken.”
25 Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.”
26 So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us!” But there was no voice; no one answered.
Then they leaped about the altar which they had made.
27 And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.”
28 So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them.
29 And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice.
But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.”
So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down.