Summary: A sermon that points out the dangers of procrastination.

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"No Man's Land"

1 Kings 18:21

INTRODUCTION: The term "No Man's Land" is most commonly associated with the First World War although the phrase "no man's land" actually dates back until at least the 14th century. Its meaning was clear to all sides: no man's land represented the area of ground between opposing armies - in this case, between trenches. For newly arrived novice soldiers No Man's Land held a certain allure. Such troops were cautioned against a natural inclination to peer over the top of the trench into No Man's Land. Many men died on their first day in the trenches as a consequence of a precisely aimed sniper's bullet. The composition of No Man's Land could rapidly change as front lines shifted as a consequence of battles and actions. It was at its most static however along the trenches of the Western Front where from late 1914 until the Spring of 1918 the war was not one of movement but rather one of attrition.

If you look in a dictionary you will find references to this idea and also the following: "It is a place between acceptance and rejection."

No Man's Land was not however barren of activity. During nightfall each side would dispatch parties to spy on the enemy, or to repair or extend barbed wire posts. Reconnaissance missions were similarly common. Injured men trapped in No Man's Land would often be brought in under cover of darkness, as were corpses for burial. Consequently artillery shelling of No Man's Land was common, quickly reducing it to a barren wasteland comprised of destroyed vegetation, mud-soaked craters - and rotting corpses.

The most dangerous place on any road is the middle!

Elijah had it right. He defined compromise for us in a biblical fashion -- to be divided in opinion, and action.

A woman getting onto a sky lift was given instructions that the moment the lift's chair touched her backside she was to sit down and lift her feet from off the ground. Instead when the chair came against her she sat down but was nervous about the height of the lift. Her hesitation caused her to keep her feet firmly planted on the platform. She wanted to see the magnificent view from the top of the lift but also wanted to be firmly attached to the ground. With her feet on the platform, the seat began to wind back and then like a slingshot hurled her off the platform causing severe injury to her legs and back. Indecision is a dangerous thing.


In the passage that we have read this morning, King Ahab and his wicked wife, Jezebel had turned Israel to Baal worship. Because of their backsliding God sent Israel three years of drought and famine. They called upon Jehovah to deliver them, but continued to worship Baal. On top of Mt. Carmel, Elijah confronts Israel for their teeter tottering between a commitment to God and a life yielded to a false deity. He calls them to move off center and to decide whom they will serve. Just as in Elijah's day, there are many that are uncommitted and unaware that their indecisive straddling is hazardous to their spiritual health. There is a fable of a hungry donkey that was put between two bundles of hay. It looked at the one, then at the other, and could not decide which to eat first, till it died of starvation. Just about as foolish are those who halt between two opinions till they die in their sins. Let's examine the risks and dangers of being uncommitted, and the call to commitment. Gerald Flury

a. The crisis

Because of their backslidings God had sent a drought upon them that had now lasted for three long years. Crops were failing, cattle were dying, the streams and rivers were dried up, there was famine and its twin pestilence in the land, people were suffering and it was clear that the hand of Jehovah was against them.

b. Their conflict

Their problem was straightforward. On the one hand they knew that the drought and its effects were the direct result of the work of God and on the other hand they feared Ahab and Jezebel in particular. They dreaded Jehovah, and therefore could not totally abandon him; they feared the king and queen, and therefore thought they must embrace the religion of the state.

Luke 16:13 "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

Revelation 3:15-17 "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou were cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:"

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