Many scholars consider Elijah the greatest prophet of the Old Testament. The role of the prophet was to hear from God, own what God shared, and speak the message with great passion and vision. Often the message was words of warning or bad news and, therefore, were not easy words to deliver. The prophets lived courageous lives as God’s spokespeople. They were often lonely, isolated, unpopular, and feared for their safety.
In 1 Kings chapters 17 and 18, the prophet, Elijah, knew about the idolatry of Israel and the wickedness of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. The people had all but turned their backs on God. The king and queen sinned against the Lord openly and without regard. Elijah, consumed with remorse over the spiritual state of his people and leaders, prayed that it might not rain in Israel. God heard and answered his prayer and a drought ensued. Rain was a critical need for a society dependent on natural water for drinking, growing crops, and raising livestock. Elijah prayed that the drought would provide an opportunity for the people to return to God and to see God act on their behalf when they turned towards him for rain.
In chapter 18, Israel was in the third year of this difficult season of drought. In verse 21 after a series of events, Elijah asked the people this question, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Ball is God, follow him.” Many years ago, a pastor asked this in his sermon, “If you were put on trial for being a follower of Jesus, is there enough evidence to convict you?” That is a question I often think about.
My fear is that we have many “cultural” Christians in America. A cultural Christian is someone who believes in God but lives like he does not exist; someone who is not walking in a vibrant living relationship with Jesus Christ; someone who says “Well I have always believed in God” but they do not conform their life, attitudes, behaviors to God’s Living Word and the leadership of his Holy Spirit. When times are good, they wander from God and enjoy the pleasures of life. In many ways, their life is no different than the person who does not believe God exists.
During this difficult pandemic season, what is your life shouting? Who, what and where are you seeking to find hope? Where does your life “water” come from? Are you wavering between living for the temporary things of this world and living for the eternal purposes of God? When is the last time your faith in Christ led you to make an uncomfortable, unpopular decision?
After Elijah’s poignant question we read this sentence, “But the people said nothing.” Friends, when we say nothing, our lives are still shouting! When we waver between living for God and living for ourselves or other false gods, our lives are still shouting! When we hesitate on obeying the Lord, keep him at a distance, our lives are still shouting!
Our lives are always shouting something to everyone! I pray that you and I are faithful, highly influential, and inspiring followers of Jesus Christ and our words and actions shout his mark on our life 24/7.
Jon is a pastor and leadership coach and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.