Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Steadfast Elijah

"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).

The problem in Elijah’s day was religious syncretism. Syncretism means a mixture of principles, occurring when there are two religions existing in the same society. At first, these two religions will be in conflict, but then there will be those who try to work out a compromise position between the two.

Christians are naturally peace-loving, but the Christian cannot compromise his faith without betraying God. Thus, the Christian must stand against all forms of religious syncretism. This is what we see in the life of Elijah. The people of his day mixed true religion with Canaanite idolatry. They wanted to “worship the Lord but serve the Baals.”

Elijah was termed a “troublemaker” who refused to go along with this syncretism. He demanded that the people worship the Lord alone. “How long will you waver between these two views?” he asked. “Make up your minds.” I think much of the church today is like this. Too many Christians don’t know whether they want to get serious about the Lord or live comfortably in the world.

Elijah set up a confrontation at Mount Carmel. The priests of Baal built an altar to Baal, and Elijah built one to the Lord. There were 450 prophets of Baal, but Elijah was all alone. The prophets of Baal danced around their altar all day long and cried for Baal to send fire from heaven to consume his sacrifice. Yet, there was no answer. Then Elijah came forward, and quietly prayed once for God to send fire and consume His sacrifice on His altar, and the fire fell immediately. The people responded, “The LORD, He is God!” (1 Kings 18:39). Sadly, however, it was not very long before they forgot Him again.

Elijah is a man we can live by. He was not confused, nor was he paralyzed. He steadfastly resisted wavering in the face of conflict because of his confidence in God.

What area of life most consistently challenges you to compromise with society? Is it entertainment, materialism, self-centeredness, or some other issue? Consider how Elijah might react to such issues today. List two ways your reactions must conform to the biblical model.