And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word. 1 Kings 18:21
This is one of my favorite stories. Israel, under King Ahab, was suffering through a drought that was dragging into its fourth year. This drought had been proclaimed by Elijah, who boldly declared there would be no rain or even dew except at his word. (17:1) The drought devastated the agrarian economy, and neither the king nor Jezebel the queen, nor the hundreds of prophets of Baal on her payroll had been able to do anything about it.
Israel was torn. Jehovah was the God of their ancestors and certainly they were bound to sacrifice and pray to Him, Baal was the god of fertility and crops. Wouldn’t it be wise to court his favor as well? It made logical sense. Hedge the bets. Cover the bases.
It is easy to read this account with a condescending smile. Who could be so foolish as to try and follow God and an idol? Everyone knows idols aren’t real. But we grab the latest self-help book to find peace, balance our lives, raise our self-esteem, overcome our past. We chase diets and success and follow plans and regimens. We buy apps and organizers and planners and monitors to streamline and optimize. We pull from everything culture tells us we should be. Then we go to church and small group and we disciple and we’re intentional and missional. Just like we should be. Covering all the bases. Checking all the boxes.
Late in the afternoon after the prophets of Baal had exhausted themselves trying to impress a god who could never hear, Elijah prayed, “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”
Then the fire of God fell.
A single man, singularly devoted to the one true God.
The one true God is unlike any other. He is a God who loves us intently, who desires a relationship with us, so much so that He came and lived among us. He is the Word made flesh. He is Immanuel. Don’t falter. Don’t waffle. Don’t be like the people of Israel who stood in silence. Be that one singularly devoted to the one true God.