Summary: The Bible is filled with calls for us to "make a decision." Choose whether our God, or the gods of this world are better... then live like what you believe. What does the world offer, and why can
OPEN: An evangelist in South Africa had a van with this sign on the side that said this:
“Where will you spend eternity?
Most people don’t decide till the 11th hour.
Our service begins at 10:30.”
That evangelist’s van was telling people that there was a “decision” to be made.
It asked: Where you gonna go when you die?
Will you spend your eternity in heaven or in hell?
You get to make the choice.
You get to make that decision.
Now, some people don’t make the decision until the 11th hour but we’re going to make it easy on you – we have a service at 10:30.
Implied in that clever message was this:
Make a decision.
Decide where you’ll spend eternity (we want to help)
The Bible is filled with scriptures that tell us to make a decision.
When God had brought Israel up out of slavery in Egypt He told them: “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now CHOOSE life, so that you and your children may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19
When Joshua had led Israel to conquer the Promised Land “ "Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then CHOOSE for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:14-15
Isaiah declared: "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? LISTEN, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Isaiah 55:1-2
Listen to me! Choose that which satisfies!
And that was essentially what Jesus said: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 KJV
If you want to have that which satisfies: Choose God’s kingdom and righteousness/ place God and His priorities first in your life and you’ll be taken care of.
So, when Elijah stood on the mountaintop challenging the prophets of Baal and Ashteroth, he echoes the very same cry God has always put before His people: CHOOSE!
“How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21
MAKE A CHOICE!!!
As I was preparing this sermon it occurred to me that the in the previous chapter, Elijah didn’t talk to anyone other than the King. He appears out of nowhere, tells the king there is going to be a drought and there will be neither rain nor dew until he says otherwise… and then he leaves. He doesn’t return until now… 3 ½ years later.
BUT now, he doesn’t talk just to the King. He addresses the entire nation of Israel. He tells King Ahab to assemble these 950 prophets of Baal & Ashteroth at Mt. Carmel and then stands and makes a public challenge before all the people of Israel.
He says to them: “Choose!”
“If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
MAKE A CHOICE!
Why address the entire nation?
I believe Elijah did that because that’s what he’d come to do. He had come to help the people of Israel make that very decision.
Yes, he came to confront and convict King Ahab.
Yes, he’d come to confront and destroy the false prophets
BUT the primary reason he’d come back was to preach this message to this audience
Make a choice! Decide who you will follow.
Why challenge Israel this way?
Because the Israelites had gotten into the habit of trying to live in two worlds. They were TRYING to follow BOTH God and Baal. They probably prayed to Yahweh and some of them may have gone down to Jerusalem to worship. BUT the altars of Baal and Ashteroth were more convenient and it was obvious the government didn’t like their God. Many of the prophets of God had been put to death by Queen Jezebel.
So they decided to compromise.
They decided to mix and match their gods.
They prayed just enough to God to feel comfortable but they spent a lot of time down at the altars of Baal and Ashteroth.
But Elijah appears before the nation and tells them