We remember this passage (I Kings 18:21) as Elijah's condemning challenge to God's people living under the godless, or, better, the multigodded reign of King Ahab. Remembering the drama—the showdown—of chapter 18—Israel, in the third year of a God-appointed drought, His judgment, gathered at Mount Carmel where Baal's priests had erected an altar unto him, and Elijah, unto the living God. As we read this account, we are in awe of Elijah's faith as he ridicules, then taunts the priests of Baal. Our hearts are challenged by Elijah's singleminded faith in God as he has his offering doubledrenched and then calls upon his God to glorify Himself by sending fire to the soaked altar. We are blessed as we witness our faithful God's response to His servant_not only did He send fire, He sent it in such abundance that it consumed the entire altar—wood, meat, rocks, water—EVERYTHING! . . . and Israel fell on its face.
This brings us to the point of this column last month: Who, or what, has our heart—who, or what, are we "on our face" before? Are we as Elijah, singleminded toward the Lord, or are we as idolatrous Israel: not rejecting God, but not rejecting those things which others around us worship, either.
Remember, an idol is anything that has our attention at the expense of our devotion to God; idols do not have to be evil images housed in shrines. In our day, idols can be things that God would otherwise consider good—our loved ones, jobs, homes, recreation, reputation, investments (or lack thereof), etc.—the things to which our mind naturally goes when we are quiet. Please don't misunderstand—God does give us great latitude to enjoy the life/possessions He provides. My point is that He gives us NO latitude to enjoy them at the expense of our devotion to Him!
The reminder, then, again this month: we can't have it both ways. Our choices today (toward the Cross or with the crowd) do make a difference with the Lord. By His very nature, He must either commend or condemn them. The opportunity and responsibility remain ours.
". . . choose you this day whom ye will serve . . . " (Joshua 24:15)