God Vs Baal

God Vs Baal
Pastor Stephen "Red" Shumate
May 27th, 2018
Photo by Sean Pierce on Unsplash

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God vs Baal
I Kings 18:1-19:1

Many of us are familiar with this story found in I Kings, when Elijah, challenged the prophets of Baal.  At this point in the history of the Children of Israel, they had turned their backs on God and had begun worshiping Baal.  In fact, at this time there were 450 prophets of Baal and only 1 Prophet of God (Elijah). 

So, to get their attention and draw them back to Himself, God caused a drought to happen.  BTW – Baal was supposedly the god of rain and storms.  But no matter how much they prayed to Baal, there was no rain.  So finally, they talked with Elijah and Elijah asked them the question… “How long will you waver between two opinions?  If the Lord is God, follow him.  But if Baal, follow Him.” (I Kings 18:21)

Basically, he was asking them, how long are you going to keep flip flopping between who you worship.  Then he says, let’s settle this once and for all and he sets up a challenge for the prophets of Baal to call on Baal to stop the rain, and he would call on The Lord and whoever answered, then that is who they would worship from that point on. 

So that is what they did, they set up one of the greatest showdowns in all of history.  Actually it wasn’t really a showdown since Baal doesn’t exist, but none the less it was a big deal.  Needless to say, God did show up and accepted Elijah’s sacrifice, then they all began to worship God and He brought back the rain.

So, what can we learn from this story?  
And how do we apply it to our own lives?

Now, I don’t honestly think anyone here worships Baal or has wooden idols that you bow and pray to in your home, but I do think that wavering between faith in God and faith in other things sneaks into our life without our being aware of it because Satan has cleverly disguised it. 

This wavering can present itself in our lives in a million different ways. Maybe we say that we believe God will supply all of our needs, but then we give our job priority over God.  Maybe we say we believe God forgives, but then try to earn His forgiveness.  Maybe we say that we are "All-In" when it comes to faith in God, but if we examine our actions we realize we only have 1 foot in the pool. 

One of the biggest dangers of this wavering is when we lie ourselves and believe that we don’t waver.  Our mind tells us one thing (the thing we want to believe that we don't waver) but our actions will tell us something different.

Our mind will tell us, yes, I’m 100% Jesus.  But then when it comes to giving to the poor, we are counting the pennies. 

Our mind will tell us, Yes, I’m 100% Jesus, but then we have hate in our heart.

Our mind will tell us, I’m all in with Jesus, but when it comes to sharing the gospel, we often find ourselves too busy. 

Our mind will tell us, I’m am sold out to Jesus, but our actions will tell us I’m sold out to myself… and we only "do" Jesus when it’s convenient.

Our actions will sell us out and can give us clues to where our hearts are.  Our actions can show us that we are of two minds.  But we shouldn’t be of two minds and God, through Elijah, tells us here… If you are IN then be IN… If you believe in God, then believe IN God… 

Elijah was all in.  This is one of the reasons I love this story, because Elijah doesn’t joke around.  He doesn’t leave himself an out.  He is bold in what he says and does here…  I mean if God’ doesn’t show up, he’s done.  If God doesn’t light this thing on fire, then egg on Elijah’s face and he has no more credibility.  Elijah is all in… and then some.  He even poured water all over the altar that God was supposed to burn up.  There is no coming back from this if it doesn’t work… Elijah is all in.

And I think that is what God calls us to do everyday and in every situation…to be all in.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think God is calling us to prove to the world of his Godliness like he called Elijah to do, but I do think He calls us to be this bold and this “All-in” in stepping out on faith and in our relationship with Him and in sharing the gospel. 

Being ALL IN is hard and in fact, probably impossible…but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try and we shouldn’t push ourselves to be more all in than ever before.  But I’m afraid too many of us, have gotten to the point where we play everything safe.  We only do those big things that God calls us to, if we have a net and we have a back up plan.  But that is not faith… faith… is believing without seeing.  It is acting on what we believe about Jesus, without having seen the nail prints first hand. It is all about jumping because we have FAITH in Jesus Christ.

The only security we need, the only safety measure we need to make sure we have in place… is that when we are getting ready to jump without a net, we need to be sure that what we are about to do is what God is calling us to do.  But once we have this confirmation, then we must stop living out our faith scared, and instead we need to live like Elijah and live out our faith with boldness. We must learn that true faith is jumping even when we can’t see the net.

Are you of two minds or are you all In?

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