Had any phone calls from God lately?? I still can’t figure out how Pastor Greg got his phone to ring at just the right moment in his sermon this past Sunday, but the guess that makes the most sense is his wife called him (since she’s in the praise ensemble and could have triggered the call as the message went along). What do you think?
Phone calls from God aside, the story of Elijah’s encounter with the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal is riveting, isn’t it? I mean, what an incredible display of faith on Elijah’s part, and what an awesome display of power from God!!! As I thought some more about the scene described in 1 Kings 18:25-29, I put a box around the words “frantic prophesying” in my book. Desperation takes different forms, doesn’t it? Especially when we want to hear from God.
But then the Holy Spirit spoke into my heart. He reminded me of the words from Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God” and Isaiah 30:15 – “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength….’” Words that reflect the opposite of what we see happening to the prophets of Baal. Words of hope for those of us who get a bit frantic from time to time.
Elijah threw down a competitive challenge, to be sure, a challenge that called out the pride and arrogance that idol worship can foster. And when he had totally humiliated the prophets of Baal (“But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.”), he turned to the people of Israel and did something I find endearing. He said to them, “Come here to me.” (Oh, do you hear the sweet call of the Savior?) Then he “took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, ‘Your name shall be Israel.’” I find that incredibly significant, don’t you? With those stones, each of them carefully being put in place to build the altar “in the name of the Lord,” Elijah is reminding the people of their identity.
Sadly, it isn’t enough. In spite of falling on their faces to worship the one true God that day, the people continue to ignore the words of the prophets God sent. And remember that verse in Isaiah 30:15 that I mentioned earlier? It too ends with, “but you would have none of it.” We’re a stubborn lot, all of us. But we don’t have to be, you know? Repentance is only a sentence away.
Lord, turn our hearts today to seek you first and to turn from worshiping the idols of this world. Lead us in the paths of righteousness, and help us to find our rest in you alone. Amen.
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