“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.” (1 Kings 18:21)
In my Bible it is written over the top of this passage, “The Call to Decision.” In every person’s life there are moments when we have to make decisions and sometimes those decisions involve our walk with God.
Elijah was a prophet of God who lived during an evil age. Wicked rulers and weak religious leaders had led the people of Israel to worship a false god known as Baal. Baal was considered to be the chief god of the land of Canaan and as far back as the time of the exodus, the people of God struggled with the temptation to serve him. Even though they knew that Baal was an offense to Jehovah God, still many offered him sacrifices. What was it about Baal that made him so enticing?
Although pagan gods were often represented by images we call idols, worship of false gods went beyond false religion. The title ‘Baal’ means “master” or “owner.” Many believed that Baal owned the land and controlled nature. Many also believed that he was the giver of life and thus he could bless families with children. When we take all of this into consideration, it is easy to see how the Israelites could be led to believe that Baal could make them prosperous.
Most of us would never dream of purchasing an idol and falling down before it in worship; yet there are many false gods in our world today. The question we must ask ourselves is – “In what do I place my trust to take care of me? Is it my health? Is it my career? Is it my savings account? Is it my friends and family?” Or is it Jehovah God?”
Elijah asked the people, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” In other words, determine who you believe is the real God and serve Him.
Jesus said that “No one can serve two masters.” The word ‘serve’ refers to placing ourselves under something’s authority. Either we are living our lives and making our decisions under the authority of God and His Word, or we are living our lives and making our decisions under the authority of something else.
Jesus went on to say why we cannot serve two masters at the same time. “Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24) Though many believe that they can serve the God of heaven and the gods of this world at the same time, our Lord tells us that we can’t. Eventually we will give our allegiance to one or the other.
Today there is a growing movement, especially among many of our youth, to put more confidence in the wisdom of celebrities and professional athletes than in God and His Word. Therefore, the words of Elijah are as relevant to us today as they were thousands of years ago. “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”