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Archive for April, 2009

The United States is not a Christian nation any more than the Northern Kingdom of Israel was a godly nation in the days of Elijah.  King Ahab and his father had made sure of that by not merely carelessness with God’s commands but actually having ”forsaken the commandments of the Lord” (I Kings 18:18).  As it says in Nehemiah 9:26, “they…cast Your law behind their backs.”

 

          So Elijah comes along to chide Israel, God’s people for turning godless, right?  No, hear what he said: “Elijah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you hesitate between two opinions?  If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.  But the people did not answer him a word.” (v.21)  The challenge that Elijah gives these wayward people is actually an idiom, or word picture, in the original language.  As Charles Ryrie conveys it the question should read literally, “How long are you hopping between two forks?”  Picture someone, who is not well endowed with balance high up in a tree, trying not to fall as he jumps between two branches, wanting to discover which is easier to perch upon.  Their choice was between the covenant keeping God, the Creator, Who was the Originator and Sustainer of Israel on the one hand.  On the other hand is Baal, whose name means ‘lord’, an idol who is the fertility god and rainmaker and highly favored in the palace to the risk of life and property if you did not worship him.  So the people ‘play both sides’ or ‘ride the fence’ as we say.  “The people did not answer him a word.”  What can they say?  He has described their procedure.  When you are desperate or needy apply to this God for help; when it’s safe and convenient declare for that one. 

 

And how is it different in America?  “I believe in God.  I go to church.  I’m a Christian.”  But all too frequently under the surface you will find a humanist, who is one who “upholds human [as opposed to God’s] reason, ethics, and justice, and rejects supernaturalism.”  Based on this stance they are apt to say things like the following. “If it’s an unwanted child wouldn’t everyone be better off if it were aborted?”  “God could have created using evolution.”  “How I dress is my own business.”  “I just couldn’t live with him/her.”  And in numerous other ways we ignore God’s Word for our own preference.  Elijah’s challenge to you, America, is declare for God and live for Him or stop pretending and live for your idol, yourself.  God hates vacillation, for He says, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm…I will spit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16). 

 

See where complete departure from God gets you.  Of course, many are refusing to acknowledge God and our society is coming apart at the seams, beginning with the family.  Elijah challenges those people as well:  “Elijah said to the people, “let them [the prophets of Baal] choose one ox for themselves and cut it up, and place it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other ox and lay it on the wood, and I will not put a fire under it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD, and the God who answers by fire, He is God.” And all the people said, ‘That is a good idea.’” (v.22-24)  The prophets of Baal dance and sing, pray and yell and cut themselves all day long, “but there was no voice and no one answered” (v.26).  The path we as a people are taking is failing as fast as the day comes to an end.  We will not succeed apart from God because there is no truth for living life there.  And we will not succeed in wavering between two opinions.

Americans, Burke County residents, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (Acts 3:19).  It is a good way and a way of life and truth.

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