Summary: God’s display of love and power demands a response.
- Everybody loves a good showdown. A tough battle... mano e mano, one on one. And since it’s the beginning of the new year which means there are hundreds of lists out there. I though I would take us down memory lane and come up with what I think are the top ten showdowns, or battles in American History.
#10 The USA Hockey Team versus the Russians in the 1980 Winter Olympics.
#9 The "Thrilla in Manilla." The highly touted and hyped boxing match between Muhammed Ali and George Foreman.
#8 Pepsi vs. Coke. Have you taken the taste test? My wife claims she can tell the difference.
#7 The famous Gun Draw between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Do you remember that one from your US History class?
#6 The Gunfight at the OK Corral. You probably saw that in the movies.
#5 For you college basketball fans... the Battle of the Border, The Fighting Illini vs. Missouri Tigers.
#4 And who as a kid didn’t run around their neighborhood with cap guns playing Cowboys and Indians.
#3 The North versus the South and I don’t mean North Fulton and South Fulton.
#2 Al Gore verses George W. Bush (Round 1) and then Al Gore versus George W. Bush (Round Florida). And who knows maybe there will be a Round 3 in 2004.
#1 And of course, without question, the number one showdown in American History according to Damien’s Associated Press poll is the 2000 World Series featuring the New York Mets and the New York Yankees.
- Well, if you were to add a second number one battle of all time, I think it would have to be battle that all of us face in our lives. The battle between right and wrong, between good and evil, moral and immoral. And some times the battle lines are clear, and we know exactly what we should do and what we shouldn’t... we just have to make a choice. But, then there are those other times when the battle line is a little bit hazy, and we want the best of both worlds. We want the assurance of heaven, we want the good standing with God, but we also want to live how we want to live, do what we want to do, without any repurcusions, without any consequences, without any concern for what God would have us to do.
- We want God’s approval, but we also want man’s approval. We want God to provide and protect us, but we don’t always want to trust him with everything. We want to say that God is the most important person in our life, but we don’t always live as if he is. We want the best of both sides, we stand in the middle, right in the middle of the battlefield. And so, the battle wages on!
- And what a battle it must have been! The Battle of the Ages! The Battle of the Gods! Of course, the battle I am now referring to is found in I Kings 18. Elijah has been preparing for this moment for the past 3+ years. He has gone to the wicked king of the Northern Kingdom, King Ahab. He delivered the message that there would be no rain or dew. He has been in seclusion for about a half a year, with the ravines providing meat and the brook providing water. After the brook went dry, he went north to Zarephat where he stayed with a widow and her son. God provided for them by giving them an unlimited amount of oil and flour. And now it is time for Elijah to once again face his nemesis. To face his enemy, not really his enemy, but God’s enemy.
- After all, the Scripture says in a number of places (I kings 16:30,33; 21:25) that King Ahab was the most wicked King Israel had ever had. He was blatantly evil, and outright enemy of God. And so with fire in his eyes, Elijah sends his servant Obadiah to set up a meeting between he and Ahab. It reminds me of the movie "Braveheart" when William Wallace the fiery leader for the Scots goes out to the middle of the battlefield to meet with the leaders of the opposing armies. Well, you can just picture King Ahab facing the man who delivered the deadly words 3 and a half years ago, "no rain, no dew." And so Ahab says to Elijah (16)... "Is that you, you troubler of Israel?"
- The real troubler of Israel was not Elijah, it wasn’t really even the Lord, though he’s the one who caused the drought. It was Ahab and his wife Jezebel. Due to their sinful leadership, and immoral lifestyles they had caused great trouble in the land, which is exactly what Elijah reminds him of... (17-18).