How Long Will We Waver?
“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.’” (1 Kings 18:21 NIV)
God’s people in Elijah’s day had been led astray by a wicked king who had “set up an altar for Baal…[and] also made an Asherah pole, and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him” (1 Kings 16:32-33). The people got carried away in idol worship as well, and the prophet challenged them by asking them how long they would waver between two opinions. He rightfully asked, “If Baal is God, then serve him; but if the Lord is God, then follow him.”
In our society today we don’t have Asherah poles or temples to Baal, but what Elijah spoke is a good word for us as well; for we too have idol worship—we worship the idols of money, fame, power, and influence. Celebrities in our culture are looked upon as gods, yet many of the lifestyles involved fly in the face of a God who not only calls his people to live a life of righteousness, justice and purity, but also gives them the power to do so. The New Testament addresses this situation unequivocally by saying that “friendship with the world means enmity against God” (James 4:4), yet our young people are getting caught up with the insidious nature of lifestyles and song lyrics that glorify sin; and this sordid way of thinking is having an impact on their souls. And it’s not only the youth, but also the parents who are getting carried away by the celebrity culture surrounding them and the lust of the eyes to acquire more and more, so that we have become a people who are never satisfied with what we have—a disgruntled and discontented people.
This brings us back to the question that Elijah asked back then: How long will we waver between two opinions? If Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins and rose again as the firstborn among many brethren, then let’s serve him with all of our hearts for all of our days! If he isn’t, then why are we wasting time in church? For some cultural, feel-good experience? No! We can’t have fence-sitting in these uncertain times. It’s either one or the other! Either Jesus is Savior and Lord of our lives, or he isn’t. The worst thing is to be half-baked and lukewarm: half for Jesus and half for who-knows-what! As we can see in the Scriptures, this is not a dilemma new to our day. The writer to the Hebrews said, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:36). And then he goes on to outline two of those promises: “For ‘In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.’ And, ‘But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back’” (Hebrews 10:37-38). Thankfully, the writer to the Hebrews does not leave us there, but closes the passage with the following affirmation: “But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved” (Hebrews 10:39). May that be said of us today as well.
Read Hebrews 10:19-39.