Study from God’s Word… 1st Kings, Chapters 17 - 19 … Passage for Reflection: 1st Kings 18: 21… NIV Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
My Journal for Today: Reading about Elijah, God’s Prophet in troubled times, being a man called by God to show the power of God when God’s people had wavered in faith, makes me wonder sometimes why God doesn’t do business today the way He did in the Old Testament. But then I realize that Elijah was merely an arch-type of Jesus; and now, having the chronicles of the Great One, the God-Man, Jesus, in our New Testament, we have all the power we need in the Person of the Holy Spirit, imparted to Christ’s Bride, the Church, to do business in a world which now, as it was in Elijah’s day, is in the midst of a famine, … though our famine is one of spiritual faith not one where the rains do not fall.
But we can learn much from the stories of Elijah, related in today’s focus passages from Chapters 17-19 in 1st Kings. And when you come to today’s verse, highlighted by Dr. Smith in his devotional for this date, can you sense the Prophet’s frustration with God’s children? Yes, … there Elijah was, seeing God’s people wavering between their traditional beliefs in the God Who had delivered them from Egypt and the indulgence of the flesh they got when they followed the promises of Baal, with worship which involved such things as sexual satisfaction in the priestesses of Baal who were prostitutes.
As Dr. Smith points out today, the phrase “waver between two opinions” in today’s verse is the Hebrew “pacah shena’yim ca’iph,” which can be pictured by birds hopping between branches, not knowing where to land. And Dr. Smith aptly asks his readers to empathize; because we’ve all been driving in traffic, frustrated by being behind a driver ahead who wavers between two lanes ahead of us, not knowing which lane to follow. Or as parents we see teens today, knowing in their heads that drugs are deadly, yet relenting to the temptation to give meth a try. And then they get hooked; followed by hating themselves for becoming addicted. They are flighty birds, bouncing between branches, not knowing where to land.
And everyday I deal with men, … men like I was once, who ride what I call the “repentance rollercoaster.” They know, as Christians, that sexual sin is lethal, … yet, they can’t seem to internalize that surrender to God’s power from His Spirit will give them the empowering grace they need to overcome the pull of the flesh which porn or same sex attraction holds in their lives. They are, as Dr. Smith, calls it, “spiritual schizophrenics,” … wandering birds who can’t decide which branch to land on … the one promised by God or the one which give such fleshly satisfaction offered by Satan.
Can anybody reading this identify? Well, as we read in these Chapters in 1st Kings, Elijah, was a strong Prophet of God, calling God’s people to the way of the Lord and showing God’s infinite power to take charge in the world; but Elijah was also the weakling who needed to be shown by the same God that the LORD would provide Elijah His enabling and providential grace when the Prophet became weak and needed help.
So, I hope we can all get the messages conveyed by God’s truth, through His word, in these chapters. And helping us to examine ourselves, my devotional author prompts me to ask myself (and you ask yourself), "Is my attempt to keep one foot in the world (or the flesh) while keeping the other on high ground robbing me of an inner peace I’ve never known (or desire to have)?" My words were added in the parentheses; but I think you get the idea. We so often can be spiritual schizophrenics as our lives are lived out as the modern definition of “insanity,” which is “… trying to do the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.” That’s what Elijah was challenging God’s people to realize in today’s study verse; and it is the truth we all need to answer for ourselves today.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, thank You for showing me the answer to this question in my life. Help me to carry my testimony to others and show them that YOU are the only choice and the only way for man to walk free from the call of the flesh. Amen