Summary: This is a message that is from the Elijah series. It deals with compromising spiritual life because of the peer pressure that comes in association with idolatry.
1 Kings 18:17-21 (KJV) And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?  And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.  Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel's table.  So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.  And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
I. INTRODUCTION—THREE PROPHETS
-During this era of Israel’s history, God used three prophets to speak specifically to the people and to their kings:
• Elisha—2 Kings 3-9
• Micaiah—2 Kings 22
-God used all three of these men in unique ways. All three of them were unexpected, uninvited, and un-credentialed. But all three of them had a divine anointing and boldness on their lives that Jehovah had placed there.
-Elijah comes along and shows the reality of abundance in a world that is governed by scarcity. That took place when he was sustained at the brook Cherith by the ravens. Once he moves on to Zarephath, an empty barrel of meal and cruse of oil, was not a match for God’s sustaining hand. But it is especially true when we see God giving him power over death of the widow’s son.
-While we may want to look at Elijah as a bold man of God who was unfeeling and uncaring about the overall plight of the nation, this is not really the case. Elijah demonstrates great pastoral care when he helps the widow in 1 Kings 17. But all of that will drastically change when he goes from comfort to confrontation in 1 Kings 18.
II. HOW LONG THE HALTING?
-The madness of Ahab is seen when he looks to Elijah, that godly preacher, and asks him if he is the one who is troubling Israel. Ahab had allowed his spiritual discernment to be totally wiped away because of the influence of his wife and the weakness of his own flesh.
A. The Cry of a Preacher
1 Kings 18:21 (KJV) And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long . . .
-God in all of his grace and mercy has sent a preacher, a prophet to come and help Israel. He did not send a political figure or an environmentalist or a global warming expert to find a solution to their problem. . . God sent a preacher!
-Israel needed someone to come and ask them “how long?”
-The Bible is full of “how longs”?
Exodus 10:3—How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me?
Exodus 16:28—How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?
Numbers 14:11—How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?
Numbers 14:27—How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me?
Joshua 18:3—How long are ye slack to go to possess the land, which the LORD God of your fathers hath given you?
1 Samuel 16:1—How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel?
Psalm 4:2—How long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing?
Psalm 62:3—How long will ye imagine mischief against a man?
Psalm 74:10—O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? shall the enemy blaspheme thy name for ever?
Psalm 94:3—LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?
Proverbs 6:9—How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
Jeremiah 4:14—How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?
Jeremiah 31:22—How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter?
Matthew 17:17—O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.
-That is a good question to ask. . . How long? But it is especially good when the cry of “how long” comes from a man that God has sent to us!
A. W. Tozer—The world is waiting to hear an authentic voice, a voice from God—not an echo of what others are doing and saying, but an authentic voice.
E. M. Bounds—What the church needs today is not more or better machinery, not new organizations or more novel methods. She needs men whom the Holy Ghost can use—men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. . . He does not anoint plans, but men—men of prayer!