The Prophet Battle Royale…
In 1 Kings, chapter 18 is one of my favorite narratives in the Bible.
The nation of Israel was in the midst of 3 full years of absolute drought. The land had not received any rain for 3 years because the people had chosen to end their obedience and submission to God and His will and began to worship other gods.
In verse 21 Elijah returns to the people and says,
“How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
Baal was, supposedly, the god of the sun and storms. Baal was NOT the One, True God of the Israelites (& all Creation). The people abandoned their true allegiance to God and had been worshipping other gods and seeking “personal pleasures” and “freedoms” that were not (and, still ARE not) in their ultimate best interest or well-being.
1st hard question to ask ourselves…
Either in a journal/notebook or on the attached printout (here), write out your answers to the following questions…
What is my “Baal”? (In other words, what/who is it that pulls my attention, time, and obedience away from the One, True God?)
Right now we all feel a bit strange. Actually, I think it would be a bit strange if your life felt “normal” in the midst of Pandemic-2020. A bigger question might be…Do you feel empty or lost? There is a big difference between “strange” and empty or lost.
Empty, lost, without direction or purpose, without hope…those are all red flags for confused priorities. Don’t get me wrong, we all have seasons where we ask the existential questions of who am I? Why do I exist? And what is my purpose? That is normal to experience those things.
However, these questions may also be a warning indicator light on the dashboard of our life indicating something is not as it should be.
Yesterday I wrote about how, in times like this, we all long for some solid foundation…something we can rely on…something that we can truly depend on as Pandemic-2020 has seemed to stop or change just about everything. The words, “essential” and “non-essential” have been used & contemplated more than possibly any other time in history. The entire world has been required to question everything and whether it is essential or non-essential.
On social media I’ve read about…
How lost & hopeless people are without March Madness, NBA, golf, baseball, etc.
Businesses are closing. Jobs are lost.
The whole world’s economy seems to be on a razor’s edge…on the verge of collapse.
There is, understandably, much anxiety over finances.
The much needed vacations & getaways many of us rely on for our own physical & mental well-being have been (or will be) cancelled.
We are locked away with our spouses, children, parents for longer than we are used to (or equipped to handle!)
I often see family time like chocolate…essential in certain quantities, but too much is hazardous to your health!
Back to 1 Kings and one of the most incredible scenes in all the Bible –
Elijah taking on the 450 prophets of Baal in a prophet Battle Royale.
In verses 22-29 we see the truth about the false gods we worship…
When we are in desperate need of something REAL
(not just pleasure, entertainment, or status), “false gods” provide NOTHING.
(Empty, false things do not have substance or REAL significance.)
For some reason, since Adam & Eve, humans have collected & cherished empty boxes
searching for substance, purpose, and fulfillment.
In verse 30 it’s Elijah’s turn. This verse captured me for the first time after having read this story dozens of times…
Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down.
Elijah needed to repair and rebuild God’s altar that the people had torn down and forgotten.
The act of rebuilding God’s altar is an act of
Even if you know the story, read the rest of the chapter and see how God shows up when His people recommit, repurpose, rededicate, and resubmit themselves to Him, His will, His purpose, and His mission.
2nd set of hard questions to ask yourself…
What do I need to do to “repair & rebuild” my altar to the One, True God?
What AM I GOING to do to maintain God’s altar in my life?
One idea – perhaps you would like to join me and read 4 chapters/day – 1 OT, 1 Psalm, 1 Gospel, & 1 other NT…writing what stands out to you and/or questions you have.
Now, to end today’s Holy Week Reflection/Devotion…back to yesterday’s song.
Boundless – Phil Wickham
In your quiet place, listen to this song at least 5 times in a row letting the words sink in.
Add the answers to these questions to your journal/notebook or the printout…
What stirred in your heart, mind, soul while you listened?
What is your Loving Father, His Son – your Redeemer, and His Spirit – your Source of Life trying to help you see & know as you listen?
I miss you. Easter doesn’t seem right if we cannot be together.
Not gonna lie…I’m a bit sad about that!
At the same time, I know that God is up to something incredible in us, around us, and through us and our community! Let’s take this time and be deliberate about listening & paying attention to HOW He is inviting us to join Him in that great work!
Keep checking back for more Holy Week reflections…