Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day 10: 1 Kings 18

The LORD - He is God! The LORD - He is God! These are the words that God deserves to hear. This should be the normal response of our hearts. Everyone who encounters God echoes these praises. The angels in heaven cry out in worship. God alone is perfect, holy, without blemish, and worthy of worship.

But the people God created to know him . . . well, these are not normally the first words out of our mouths. Instead we are more often like the people of Israel in this chapter. Elijah's question to them applies to us as well, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal [a false god the original inhabitants of Israel worshiped] is God, follow him." (1 Kings 18:21)

Perhaps your thought is that you would certainly respond if God did something like this. Fire from heaven is a good motivator. But here's a snag. The people were worshiping Baal. He was an idol that they constructed. He had done nothing to show that he was worthy of worship. The people cry out, but he doesn't respond. They face trouble and he doesn't intervene. When they are in lack (like they were in the drought), he doesn't respond to their need and rescue them. In spite of his inactivity, they still worship him.

However, when the issue turns to God, what is expected? God must prove Himself. Why? Baal didn't and he received worship. It is the natural response of our hearts to worship idols of our own making. We naturally run from God - our Creator, our King, our Provider - and turn to the things that our hands have made. The normal response of our lives is to set up gods in our life that we create, we control, and whose demands we can easily meet.

God proves Himself to Israel very dramatically on this day. There is no doubt as to who is really God. Perhaps your thought is, "I'd worship God much more easily if he would just do something like this for me." However, God realizes that this argument is just a cop out. It is our attempt to dodge the wickedness and depravity of our own hearts.

When the religious leaders came to ask Jesus for a sign, He told them they would receive a sign. The sign they would receive is that the Son of Man (Jesus) would be killed and buried. He would lie in the ground for three days and then rise to life (See Matthew 12:38-42).

The sign that we have been given to prove God's love and power is found in Jesus. We see the greatest act of love ever in God coming to be one of us - to die in our place, taking the punishment we deserved, to offer us a new life, secured by God's power. This took place as Jesus was hung on a cross; when the sins of all humanity were placed on sinless God. Jesus died on the cross. He took the penalty that God had said would result from sin - death. He was taken from the cross and placed in a tomb for 3 days and nights. Then, the power of God raised Him from the dead. This was God's sign for us. He has proven that He is on our side, that He is worthy of our worship, and that He alone is God. Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection have forever demonstrated that fact.

So what is your response? Will you waver between two opinions or will you join the chorus of those throughout history who cry out, "The LORD - He is God."

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