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Summary: The people of Israel are standing between two altars during the time of Elijah. We are also facing the same choices today. Different forms but the same spirit. Like the Jews, are you still stuck in the middle?

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STUCK BETWEEN TWO ALTARS

The Problem of Indecision

1Kings 18:20-40

The people of Israel are standing between two altars during the time of Elijah. We are also facing the same choices today. Different forms but the same spirit. Like the Jews, are you still stuck in the middle?

THERE ARE TWO ALTARS MENTIONED HERE:

1. THE FIRELESS ALTAR OF BAAL

2. THE FLAMING ALTAR OF THE LORD

I – THE FIRELESS ALTAR

Are we still offering sacrifices to the FIRELESS ALTAR today? To better understand, let us expose the characteristic of this FIRELESS ALTAR.

1. IT OFFERS OPEN OPTIONS BUT PROVIDES NO SATISFACTION.

20So Ahab called all the Israelites and those prophets to Mount Carmel. 21Elijah approached the people and said, “How long will you not decide between two choices? If the LORD is the true God, follow him, but if Baal is the true God, follow him!” But the people said nothing.

THIS BAAL WORSHIP GAVE THEM ALTERNATIVES:

1. It gave them access with dignitaries and Royals

2. It gave them legal rights to enjoy the luxury of sin

3. It provide them exemption from persecution

4. It offer them financial support from the queen

Opportunities and the offer of choices make the people confused in the middle

THE KID IN THE CANDY BAR (illustration story)

A kid walked into a candy store with his dad and was amazed by the display of delicacies on offer.“What should I choose? What should I choose? What should I choose?” He asked himself.“Come on son, we don’t have all day,” his dad said.“These are my favourites. No wait, these are my favourites.” He walked along the aisles, picking up bags and putting them back. He just couldn’t make up his mind.“Quick son, make up your mind, we have to go,” His impatient dad said.

Frantically, the boy ran around the store, his eyes moving from one shelf to another, but all of the options looked so good and he couldn’t make a decision. Eventually, the dad had enough, grabbed his son by the hand and they walked out of the store empty-handed.

The young boy had tears in his eyes. He wanted them all, but ended up with nothing because he couldn’t choose just one.

We’re that boy! The world is that candy store! We have a multitude of options available to us, but if we don’t make a decision about our career, education, relationships, investments, church or other important issues, we end up empty-handed.

Sometimes we worry about making the wrong choice. But the bigger danger is that we make no decision at all and end up going nowhere and doing nothing.

At Starbucks, a customer ordered a decaf Grande sugar-free vanilla nonfat latte with extra foam and the milk heated to 140 degrees. Suddenly, his choices made me unhappier about my own. I began to covet. I wasn’t sure what I wanted anymore. I became anxious and indecisive. I wasn’t sure I was ready to commit — either to my kind of coffee or to his. Was this really freedom of choice, or slavery to it?

What if we take the same multiplicity of trivial options we have at Starbucks, and apply them to bigger questions: where we should work, where we should study, where we should live, whom we should marry, or whom we should worship? It seems that the more options we have, the more afraid we are of choosing. We become enslaved to being noncommittal. We don’t want to make a mistake or cut down our options. In fact, we may become so fearful of making a choice, we simply refuse to choose. As we do that, we are worshiping an idol. A false god! One of the Baals of our culture! In fact, his name is “open options.”


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