There are stories that are timeless classics. They have action, intrigue, a good hero, a strong villain, a powerful conclusion, and a timeless message.
1 Kings chapter 18 has such a story. In this story, after years of moral and religious decline, God finally says “Enough!” and He calls for a showdown.
The prophet Elijah presents the challenge. Two offerings: one for the God of Israel and the other for Baal. Two representatives: Elijah versus four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. One objective: the God who answers by setting the offering ablaze is the true God.
The prophets of Baal work feverishly. They shout, they dance, and they even cut themselves. And they do this all day long, but nothing happens.
Finally, Elijah quietly prepares his alter and his sacrifice. Then, he does something unexpected. He saturates everything with water so there is no human way for the offering to be set ablaze. Lastly, he prays a short and simple prayer to God, and God sends a fire that completely disintegrates everything!
That’s a great story!
But the purpose of the story is not that we’re supposed to be doing dramatic acts of faith like Elijah. The purpose is to call people (then and now) to a decision. “How long are you going to waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him! But if Baal is god, then follow him.” (1 Kings 18:21)
And the sad part of the story is that, when Elijah asked the question, the people didn’t respond. They didn’t choose. (1 Kings 18:21) It took something dramatic to get them to choose.
All Scripture and all life call us to this decision. To choose a path. To choose a god. To make a commitment. To follow something or someone.
What have you chosen? Whom will you choose?