Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Elijah's Demonstration of the One True God

1 Kings 18 is the opening for this message by Craig Groeschel of lifechurch.tv. Above anything else, God wants to have our hearts, our focus and our love. "You shall have no other Gods before me." "Above all else we are to love God with our heart soul, mind and strength." Satan, throughout history has been putting false gods in front of God's people to distract them from Him and His blessings. But false gods promise what only the true God can provide. Money is a good example. Many of us believe that if we have enough money, we'll be happy and secure.

In the life of Elijah, many people were living idolatrous lives; worshipping false gods. Elijah was called to confront the evil king Ahab and his wife Jezebel. Even though he warned them, the people continued to worship the god of prosperity, Baal. So, Elijah tells the king that it would only rain if Elijah spoke the words. Immediately after this, however, God takes Elijah to the Kerith Ravine to work on his heart. God shows Elijah that He provides by bringing food via ravens and water via a brook. Eventually, the brook dries up and God guides Elijah to the home of a woman, who feeds him with food that is multiplied by God. Then the woman's son dies and God shows Elijah the power of His healing by raising the son from the dead through Elijah.

We next see Elijah back before King Ahab in 1 King 18:17-18 - "When (Ahab) saw Elijah, he said to him, 'Is that you, you troubler of Israel?' 'I have not made trouble for Israel,' Elijah replied. 'But you and your father's family have. You have abandoned the LORD's commands and have followed the Baals.'"

Elijah was confronting the popular idea that there were many gods. As Christians, we are monotheistic. Elijah was in a time of polytheistic beliefs. But even with our belief in one God, in today's society, many people still worship false gods. People worship the false gods of money, materialism, sports, careers, hobbies, children and our image. But we don't recognize our false gods because we, in our minds, are just "living".

Craig admits that there are false gods even in his own ministry. He is leery about his tendency to idolize the ministry itself and its growth. Sometimes, his family can move to the top of his list and he can care more about them than God. He is honest with the audience and says future security is a common god of his which takes away his reliance on God.

Continuing, Elijah, in front of Ahab says with all the authority of God, "People, it is time to quit wavering between the gods." Then, Elijah says they are going to have a good old fashioned showdown. "Now, summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table." So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. Elijah went before the people and said, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." But the people said nothing.

If Elijah were alive today, would he not say the same things to us? Would he not tell us to quit wavering? He would say to either sell out to God or to sell out to a false god. If your false god (little g) is your god, then sell out to it. If money is your false god, get into massive debt, steal if you have to and don't ever give again because that would diminish your own

If image is your idol, then get into your image 3 hours a day. "Tan it, tweak it, puff it, tuck it, lift it, twist it, curl it, color it or whatever it is you do, do it. Ignore the fact that you're going to die."

If sexual sin is your thing, then don't let a marriage stop you, go for it. Find whoever you can and live for the sex. Find out what it can do for you.

If your house is your idol, take on debt, hire a landscaper, hire a house cleaner and hire a pool guy. Do all that is in your power to immaculate your home.

BUT....if God is your one true God, then serve Him with all of your heart. Can you feel the power of Elijah's words? It was a true show down. He tells the people to decide firmly who they will serve. For those wavering, he challenges them to watch the power of their gods.

"Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire—he is God." Then all the people said, "What you say is good." Baal was the sun god. If anyone could bring fire, it would have been Baal.
At noon, Elijah began taunting the people about their false god. "Shout louder!" he said. "Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened." So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention. The people continued dancing throughout the day

Some of us don't dance before false gods all day long. We do it for a lifetime.

Elijah didn't dance to get God to bring down fire, he prayed. "At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: 'O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.'"

When it was Elijah's turn to demonstrate the power of God, Elijah had instructed the people to douse the altars with water three times. Amazingly, the moment Elijah prayed to god, a fire came down and consumed the wood, the stones and even the soil! Can you imagine the shock and awe of the people when they saw this? No wonder the prophets of Baal were then ordered to be put to death! They were misleading the people.

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