Summary: Elijah’s classic battle with the Ahab and the false prophets has one theme: God wants His people to connect with Him.
When it means goings against the flow
“Connecting with God…” series
20So Ahab summoned everyone in Israel, particularly the prophets, to Mount Carmel.
21Elijah challenged the people: "How long are you going to sit on the fence? If GOD is the real God, follow him; if it’s Baal, follow him. Make up your minds!"
Nobody said a word; nobody made a move.
22Then Elijah said, "I’m the only prophet of GOD left in Israel; and there are four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. 1 Kings 18:20-22 (MSG)
Three mischievous boys went to the zoo one day for an outing, since they had been at school all week. They decided to visit the elephant cage, but soon enough, they were picked up by a cop for causing a commotion. The officer hauled them off to security for questioning. The supervisor in charge asked them to give their names and tell what they were doing at the elephant cage.
The first boy innocently said, "My name is Gary, and I was just throwing peanuts into the elephant cage."
The second added, "My name is Larry, and all I was doing was throwing peanuts into the elephant cage."
The third boy was a little shaken up and said, "Well, my name is Peter, but my friends call me Peanuts."
Elijah must have felt like Peanuts. His friends, his own people, the people of Israel, did not side with him at all. The fact is no one made a move. So he stood there alone, saying "I’m the only prophet of GOD left in Israel.” On the part of everyone else, there was indecision. There is no movement one way or the other. No one wanted to commit themselves and find out later that they stood with the losing side. They knew the stakes were high. That the losers could very well have their heads chopped off. Defying the king of Israel, Mr. Ahab’s or defying Elijah, who claims to be the prophet of the God of Israel, what will the people do? Elijah challenged the people to go against the flow…
If the majority is right, at least according to the numbers game, then the right side to be on is the one with the 450 prophets versus one of the God of Israel. If you go with the flow, the folks there would be wise to choose Baal’s 450 wouldn’t they? But is that the right side?
It was a confusing time. People there literally in the original language were said to be “dancing” between Baal and God. They wanted to stay somewhat “neutral”, playing it safe, non-committal. I had that experience, when I was in a Grade 5 government exam in Malaysia, I prayed to all the gods I know, from the gods of Islam, Buddha, Moses, Jesus, just to play safe and get all my bases covered. But to stay there is also a choice, a choice of not fully obeying God who says “there are no other gods”. And God wants and desires a full and devoted commitment. People want to play safe, they think that idea is great. But it’s a losers’ mentality. It’s not a great option. It was idolatry in the first degree!
Think about this. What if your spouse or fiance or boyfriend/girlfriend were to dance around you and another lover, would you be pleased? Would u not want full-undivided devotion? If they say “I half-love you”- is that OK with you? If they chose to do nothing will u feel loved, treasured or would u feel betrayed, would u not feel wounded, hurt and would u not want to claim your lover back?
What God is after is not popular opinion or majority vote! What God is after is the undivided love. Loyalty in the first degree! BUT It goes against the flow of the time, because mixing up Baal worship and God worship is in style! But that hurts God, because God is love. And He will not want to share that love. He has chosen Israel to love and they spurned Him.
And God used a widow in in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon (1 Kings 17) to teach His people the meaning of faith. Elijah performed two miracles here for this widow– flour and oil never ran out in famine time. And second miracle - her dead son came back alive. And this is how it happened… And she proclaimed faith in God as a result! This how it went down, according to the Bible...
21And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the LORD, "O LORD my God, please let this child’s life return to him." 22The LORD heard Elijah’s prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he came back to life! 23Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother. "Look, your son is alive!" he said.