Summary: This sermon examines a man who did not compromise even when virtually everyone around him did.
Some of you are familiar with Maxine, the cartoon character who has an irreverent outlook on life.
Recently she said, “Everyone concentrates on the problems we’re having in this country lately: illegal immigration, hurricane recovery, and alligators attacking people in Florida. Not me. I concentrate on solutions for the problems. It’s a win-win situation.”
And what are her solutions? Here are Maxine’s solutions: “First, dig a moat the length of the Mexican border. Second, send the dirt to New Orleans to raise the city above the levees. And third, put the alligators in the moat along the Mexican border! That will solve illegal immigration, hurricane recovery, and alligators attacking people in Florida!”
Easier said than done!
But that is often what we hear from political candidates. They are quick on promises but slow on delivery.
We are currently in a series titled, “How Would Jesus Vote?” We are examining key issues that confront us today and asking how Jesus would vote, if he were here.
Today, I want to conclude this series on “How Would Jesus Vote?” with some final thoughts.
To that end I want to draw your attention to one of the most remarkable confrontations in all of history. It is the narrative of the Prophet Elijah’s confrontation with King Ahab and the prophets of Baal. Let us read 1 Kings 18:1-46:
1After many days the word of the LORD came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, “Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain upon the earth.” 2So Elijah went to show himself to Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Samaria. 3And Ahab called Obadiah, who was over the household. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly, 4and when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid them by fifties in a cave and fed them with bread and water.) 5And Ahab said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs of water and to all the valleys. Perhaps we may find grass and save the horses and mules alive, and not lose some of the animals.” 6So they divided the land between them to pass through it. Ahab went in one direction by himself, and Obadiah went in another direction by himself.
7And as Obadiah was on the way, behold, Elijah met him. And Obadiah recognized him and fell on his face and said, “Is it you, my lord Elijah?” 8And he answered him, “It is I. Go, tell your lord, ‘Behold, Elijah is here.’ ” 9And he said, “How have I sinned, that you would give your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me? 10As the LORD your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my lord has not sent to seek you. And when they would say, ‘He is not here,’ he would take an oath of the kingdom or nation, that they had not found you. 11And now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord, “Behold, Elijah is here.” ’ 12And as soon as I have gone from you, the Spirit of the LORD will carry you I know not where. And so, when I come and tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will kill me, although I your servant have feared the LORD from my youth. 13Has it not been told my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the LORD, how I hid a hundred men of the LORD’s prophets by fifties in a cave and fed them with bread and water? 14And now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord, “Behold, Elijah is here” ’; and he will kill me.” 15And Elijah said, “As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today.” 16So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him. And Ahab went to meet Elijah.
17When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” 18And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the LORD and followed the Baals. 19Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
20So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. 21And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. 22Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the LORD, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. 23Let two bulls be given to us, and let them choose one bull for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. And I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood and put no fire to it. 24And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the LORD, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.” 25Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” 26And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. 27And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 28And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. 29And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.