Creating Space for God – No Wavering
“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.’” –1 Kings 18:21
When Elijah steps up to challenge the people of the Northern Kingdom of Israel to choose between the Lord God and the god Baal, he knows the risk he’s taking. The God he serves has instructed him to set the stage for a showdown on Mount Carmel. But he hasn’t yet brought the fire. And before he does, Elijah will make plain the reason God has brought him to this place: “… so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again” (1 Kings 18:37b).
Drifting away from God is all too easy to do, given the push and pull of the culture in which we live today. Just as in Elijah’s time, there are numerous false gods and idols vying for our attention. Some are more subtle than others, of course. But they’re out there all the same, knocking on our door, insisting on our time, our money, our talents, our allegiance, and more.
Jesus echoes Elijah when he says: “No one can serve two masters. 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” (Matt. 6:24). He knew the challenge we face, which is why he said a little later, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matt. 7:13-14).
As the summer slips away and plans are in progress for a new school year, I find myself thinking more and more about Elijah’s question to the Israelites. And I’m compelled to ask: Am I wavering in my devotion to the Lord? What stands in the way of me being “all in” for God? What does it mean to seek first the Kingdom of God? (Matt. 6:33)
David understood the challenges of daily life when he prayed, “Lord, vindicate me, for I have led a blameless life. I have trusted the Lord without wavering. Test me Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind” (Psalm 26:1-2). And later in Psalm 139 he confesses, “…You perceive my thoughts from afar…Before a word is on my tongue, You, Lord, know it completely.”
The God who brought Elijah to Mount Carmel, sent Jesus to the cross, and gave us the Holy Spirit is the same God who calls to us, who pleads with us: Don’t waver; stay strong. Return to Me. The question is…will we listen and respond?