Monday, June 16, 2008

Who is Listening to you?

Last week I came across a story very familair to me in the 1 Kings 18. It's a favorite of mine, I confess. It's where Elijah has a show-down with the 450 evil prophets of Baal. His boldness stirs me. Usually my focus is on Elijah when I am in this chapter. But not last week. Last week I was so moved by the lost state of these people, and the parallels with the lost people in our society today.

Here's the set up: 3 year drought in Israel. Evil King Ahab and Queen Jezebel in leadership. Most of the people are following the baal worshippers, as preferred and promoted by the Queen. A Superbowl between the prophets is called for, the whole nation is watching and waiting. So Elijah addresses the people " "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." Now look at their answer (sound familiar?) But the people said nothing."

Now Elijah sets the terms and the baal worshippers take the bait: " Then Elijah said to them, "I am the only one of the LORD's prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. Get two bulls for us. Let them choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire—he is God." Then all the people said, "What you say is good."

The Challenge gets going: Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. "O Baal, answer us!" they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. At noon Elijah began to taunt them. "Shout louder!" he said. "Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened." So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention."

Note how they felt compelled to treat themselves by cutting and slashing as they danced and called on their god. Some god, huh? He left them high and dry. It just spoke volumes to me of how we in our culture have our own false gods. We give all to them, and they leave us high and dry.

It is not enough that I know the true God. and that He hears me. I am ever so thankful for that. But, I desire greatly to see many, many comforted and set free by knowing the truth. That they may put their hope in the True God and then have the joy of a life lived like this: we call, we humble ourselves, we stake our claim of faith in Him, in His Word, and His character and He hears us, because He actually loves us, He actually is with us always, He actually is for us!

Here's what happened when Elijah called, and its what will happen in our lives, and our communities if we will call on Him. "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again." Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD -he is God! The LORD -he is God!" That's the kind of Abba Father we have -we call on Him, and He answers us!

What do you need His fire to consume or bring His reviving warmth to today? Your worries? Mistakes? Bad habits? What do you need His warmth to revive? Your faith, your finances? Your family? How about your zest for life, your dreams or your health? Call on Him! Let His fire come! It won't hurt you! I promise!


luvmy4sons said...

Your title made me want to scream:"No one!" Seems so much of what i say around here falls on deaf ears. Then a I read...well, I need His fir e to revive a slam assurance that all is well. I feel like my life lately is spinning so fast...there is so much to do...and I cna't do it all...I can't keep up...I need Him. And He does answer. He answers before I call. I need to take my eyes off myself and think of those who call out to a god that will not answer. Great post!

Sharon Brumfield said...

I love this story too. My first memory of this story is my Dad telling it.
We serve a powerful on time God!
Elijah was willing to look like a powerless fool while the others tried to prove they were right....I like that.
His life has some powerful lessons.
And I like that although he did some mighty things in Gods name....he still showed that he was not perfect.
There is hope for me yet~ ;)

Looking for a little fire of God in my life today!

Denise said...

Thanks for sharing this sweetie, I love this story.

Tiffany said...

You really have a way with words. I loved reading this. It's just what I needed this morning!~Blessings!

freetofly said...

Leslie - Praying that He is warming your heart with comfort and assurance, peaceful assurance! Hoping for great weather for your graduation party this week!

Sharon - How awesome that you got to learn this from your Father! What a gift to learn at such an early age! I will have to pop over and see if there is news from you!

Denise - thanks!

Tiffany - thank you! Hoping your family is doing well!

What Does it Mean Anyway? "Free to Fly"...

Well, it's like this: Here are some of the Webster's Dictionary definitions of Free: a : having the legal and political rights of a citizen b : enjoying civil and political liberty c : enjoying political independence or freedom from outside domination d : enjoying personal freedom : not subject to the control or domination of another2 a : not determined by anything beyond its own nature or being : choosing or capable of choosing for itself...having a scope not restricted by qualification 7 a : not obstructed, restricted, or impeded ...Now, here are some of the Webster's Dictionary definitions of Fly:1 a : to move in or pass through the air with wings b : to move through the air or before the wind or through outer space c : to float, wave, or soar in the air ... a : to take flight ...6 : to work successfully ...Examples which apply from Websters: fly high : to be elated - fly in the face of or fly in the teeth of : to stand or act forthrightly or brazenly in defiance or contradiction of

What does this mean in my life? This means that in life we are meant to be free. While historically mankind has not always enjoyed the opportunity to fully appreciate what that means, we are so indescribably fortunate as to live in a time of the greatest spiritual, physical, financial and political freedom ever known. Freedom doesn't come cheap, nor does it come easy. But the best things in life don't come that way do they? As I write this I am struck by how this sounds like a political statement, and for me this is much more of a spiritual thing, but, same goes for that (political that is). Freedom doesn't come easy. And it's worth whatever fight you have to make to overcome in your life in order to live a life that succeeds. Now the questions is - what is success for you? What is your standard? In my mind what is needed is a definite target - because you can't hit and maintain a moving target. A stable, rock-solid, anchor with no variable, yet multi-faceted. Something pure, just and worthy. If you look at any web page of news you can see that our society is certainly lacking in this area. What a great time to live as a rebel! Nowadays to be a rebel, all you have to do is be willing to engage in the battle of life, while anchored to Christ!