The prophet Elijah chides the people of Israel, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him” (1Kings 18:21). The people had no answer. Many secretly believed in the Lord, but there was public advantage in Baal worship. Sin always comes with benefits. Most, however, simply saw no difference. Why could not the Lord be God, and Baal, also. Two paths up the same mountain.
Why must I choose? Because God is true, Baal is a lie, and King Ahab would have Israel follow a lie. Because the truth brings life, and a lie leads to destruction and death. The Lord warned Israel through Elijah, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word” (1Kings 17:1). The true God holds the rain, so he chides Israel, if you would follow Baal, ask him for water. Now, three dry years later, Elijah calls the question, “How long will you go limping?” This wishy-washy way of compromise and indecision must end.
One foggy night at sea the captain of a ship saw what looked like the lights of another ship heading toward him. He signaled the ship, “Change your course ten degrees to the south.” The reply, “No. You change your course ten degrees north.” “I am a captain in this navy,” he insisted, “so you change course ten degrees south.” Answered the light, “I am a seaman first class. Change your course north.” Infuriated, the captain blustered, “I am a battleship. Change your course immediately!” The final response came, “I am a lighthouse. Your call, captain.” It is important to know what you are up against.
It was time to decide, so Elijah clarified the choices. 450 prophets placed a bull on the altar and cried to Baal for fire. From morning until noon they pleaded, but they knew inside they were calling to nobody. For three minutes or three hours or three days they could beg, but nothing comes from nothing and there is no god in Baal. Elijah prepared his bull, adding dramatic touches, such as drenching the altar with water, for effect. He spoke to God, but only once, because his God was there. Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench (1Kings 18:38).
Your call, Israel.
My God, I am glad to boast in You. Truth that You declare, I speak with confidence. When You say something will happen, I know it is as true as if it had already occurred. What you say will happen, happens. I trust in You and You alone.
Let the truth I know become the praise I declare. I stand by this, that I know the God of Creation, who exercises justice and kindness and righteousness on this earth. That I know Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord. That I know the Truth and the Truth has set me free to live a life of wonder and worship.