Summary: I Kings 18:21 There is more to this story then just Israel turning to God at the last. Much, much, more. For you see this restoration of the promised children could not have taken place except they had been told that they could not serve both God and B
"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 Kings 18:21 (quickview)
In the word of God, his Holy eternal word, we read many admonitions to be different, set apart, sanctified in life, word, and spirit. Our text above is just one of these.
Here Elijah, the prophet of the Living God, has sent for all Israel, not only the people but also the false prophets of Baal as well as the king Ahab. He demanded that they come to Mount Carmel and there determine who’s god is the one true, almighty God. I’m sure we all know the story; the false prophets try and try to beckon the power of their gods, but to no avail. Then in the power and demonstration of the Holy God, that precious redeemer of all the world, Elijah ascends the mount and prays unto God, and a fire devours the offering, the wood, and the water. Then Elijah instructs all Israel that they should “Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape” (vs. 40). And Israel destroys all 450 of them, for “when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.” (Vs. 39).
Yet there is more to this story then just Israel turning to God at the last. Much, much, more. For you see this restoration of the promised children could not have taken place except they had been told that they could not serve both God and Baal. Elijah did not try to word his message so that no one would be hurt, rather, he’s whole intention was to disrupt what the people had been doing.
Just think of it for a moment. Here is Israel, the chosen people of God. Once they were the only nation that truly worshiped the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the Lord of all things therein. Now, they were a pagan land, just as in the days of Moses, before they had received even one letter of the Law. How far they must have fallen and how fast. We are left with one burning question. “Why?” The answer is much simpler then people today want to think.
Israel did not fall from the knowledge of God because they had lost His word, but because they wanted what the world had to offer more then the promise of the only wise God. So they turned to idols, dumb idols, that can neither talk, nor walk; but instead of being alive are dead, for they are the creation of man. The workmanship of hands of clay, yielding no life, only death to those that fall prey to their lies. So was the condition of Israel when Ahab met Elijah along the way.
When Elijah was given his chance to speak, he withheld not a word, but instead told all the children of Jacob that they must this day choose to whom they will yield they bodies, minds, and souls. He clearly defined the line between the ways of wickedness and the ways of righteousness. There were no catchy lines, no hour long sermons, just plain and simple words that everyone, young and old, could understand. There was no time left to play games, it had come to a point that sin must needs be revealed, lest all hope had vanished for those of the promised seed.