"And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.
Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under:
And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken."
1 Kings 18:21-24
I wonder how often we're like these people. The prophet is saying, just make a choice. Follow God, or go after whatever else you choose... idol, obsession, whatever it is that you put before God. And yet, we keep trying to have both. We like the idea of God, but mostly only when he agrees with us and we don't have to work too hard. When we feel some disapproval coming on, then we tend to wander away, trying to find some other "god" that will tell us that we're still golden and shiny, and we don't need to change.
Elijah presses the issue here. He sets up a demonstration. Baal's prophets, who are basically just yes-men for the king, get a chance to intreat their god to consume a sacrifice, and then Elijah gets a chance to do the same with the Lord. And in the end it is a pretty clear demonstration, and the people agree that God is the real God. :)
I guess though, what difference did it make in their lives? Did it change them to see this? God *has* shown us in our lives that he is the real thing. :) We set up tests like this in our lives all the time... every time we knowingly choose to disobey the Lord. And how has that worked out? ...It blows up, every time. It doesn't make us happy. And then, even in the midst of confusion and the disaster we've made of our lives, if we turn to God... even then in that ruin, HE does make us happy... he can restore hope and help us know that it is possible to climb out of the ruin and rebuild something worthwhile. We feel that it is right, that we're returning to where we should be.
Today, let's work on letting the evidence make a difference in our lives. Let's not just turn back around and leave God again because we want to hear that everything we do is okay. Let's remember how much of a mess we've made in the past. Let's remember that we need guidance and help. Let's make a choice... God, or something else, and stop trying to play both sides.
(Hint: God is the better choice. And this now reminds me of election season and those "I voted" stickers. ... Let's stand up for God. Maybe we should campaign for him, and hand out T-shirts and buttons with the little checkmark beside the word "God." :) Anything else is a pretty poor choice in comparison.)