Elijah's Appeal to the Undecided Part 2 of 3
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
The second thing you might notice is that the prophet asks these undecided men to account for the amount of time they had consumed in making their choice. Some of them might have answered him like this, "We haven’t had an opportunity to decide between God and Baal; and we have not had time enough to make up our minds." But the prophet prevents that objection, when he says, "How long halt ye between two opinions?
How long? For three and a half years not a drop of rain has fallen at the command of Jehovah; isn’t that proof enough? Until I came, God’s servant, and gave you rain, you were starving, your cattle were dead, your fields parched, and your meadows covered with dust, and yet all of these hardships have not been enough for you to make up your minds. "How long then," he said, "halt ye between two opinions?"
You can probably tell by now that I am speaking to those who are trying to serve both God and the devil.
In the past, I have directed my messages to the man or woman who is totally into the world, but not today.
Today, if you are trying to be a Christian, and still be worldly, in this so called “religious world,” which is a thing that exists in name only, then I am talking to you.
You may be trying to make up your mind. You might be asking yourself, “Which one should it be? Should I go completely into sin or should I become a servant of God.” If that’s where you are at, I want to say the same thing to you that Elijah said, "How long halt ye?" Some of you have been hesitating until your hair has turned gray. You are close to eighty or ninety years old. Isn’t that long enough to make a choice? "How long halt ye?”
You have been outwardly religious, while in fact pursuing worldly desires. How many of you have been churchgoers for years? You may have come close to believing in God’s Son many times. You have wiped the tears from your eyes and said, “I will turn from sin and serve God with all my heart”, but now you are still where you were. How many more sermons do you want to listen to? How many more Sundays do you want to waste? How many more warnings do you need? How long will you pause between two beliefs?
I wish you would choose God before it’s too late. You say, “I will repent of my sins and be saved before I die.” But, when will that be? Friends, the heart can stop at any moment, and you will enter eternity without God, and it will be bad for those who do that. How long will those with gray heads, who God has patiently allowed to live to a ripe old age; how long will they remain undecided and unhappy? How long will they halt between two opinions
So far, we have noted that there are two beliefs, and we have asked a question, “How much time do you need to decide?” Maybe you think like I do, that it shouldn’t take much time at all. It shouldn’t take any more time than for any person to choose between being rich or poor, or to choose between living and dying. If we understand the things of God, we shouldn’t hesitate to say, “My God is my God, and He will be my God for ever.”
But the third thing to notice about this confrontation is that the prophet charges these people with having an absurd view of their position. Some of them might have said something like this, “Why shouldn’t we be allowed to continue to waiver between two opinions? We are not completely irreligious, so we are better than those who are disrespectful to God. And, I know we are not absolutely religious; but, at any rate, a little religion is better than none at all" But the prophet says, "How long halt ye?" or, you may want to say it like this, "how long will you limp between two beliefs?" or “How long will you wriggle between two beliefs?” Elijah laughed at them for holding such ridiculous views. And I agree, if a man or woman is neither one thing or another, he is in a very absurd position? Even the worldly person may say, "How can a man be so inconsistent, how can he place himself in the world one day, and the next day he says ‘I’m a Christian.” I think that even the devil himself must laugh at a man or woman like this. But, if you are really a servant of Satan and not a child of God, be careful how long you stay that way. On the judgment day, those men who are wavering will be laughed at even by those in hell. And the angels will look down with disrespect for a man who was ashamed to receive his Savior. Those in hell will call that hypocrite a fool. So please adopt one opinion or the other, and then at least you will be consistent. But in trying to hold on to both, and struggling to be one person one day and another the next, you look ridiculous to heaven and hell. You cannot live with one foot in heaven and the other in hell! You must decide, or you will have no rest for your soul, no peace, no joy, and no comfort. You will be miserable for the rest of your life.
So far I have shown you the absurdity of this wavering. Now, very briefly, the next point is this. The multitude who had worshiped Jehovah and Baal, and who were now undecided, might answer this way, "But how do you know that we do not believe that Jehovah is God? How do you know we have not decided?" The prophet answers this objection by saying, "I know you are not decided in what you believe, because you are not consistent in how you live. If God is God, follow him; if Baal is God, follow him. The truth is not changed by what we believe; a thing is either true or false by itself, and it is not made true or false by what we think about it. We need to think before we decide what to believe about a thing, because how we believe has a lot to do with how we act. A wrong opinion and wrong conduct often go hand-in-hand. “Now”, Elijah said, “If you don’t follow God it will be obvious, and it will likewise be obvious if you do not follow Baal.”
Now, I need to continue speaking to the undecided, for just a few more minutes. Most likely, some of you don’t follow God. You act like you do, but you aren’t really a child of God. You follow Him on Sundays, but what about Mondays? You talk about Jesus when you are with Christian friends, but what you do when you are in the company of others that are undecided or worse? On the other hand, you do not follow Baal; but you do go a little way into the world. If that’s your condition, the prophet would have this to say to you, “If the Lord is God, follow him. Let your conduct be consistent with your faith; if you believe that the Lord is God, live your daily life like you believe it; be holy, be prayerful, trust in Christ, be faithful, be upright, be loving; give your heart to God, and follow him. But if Baal is God, then follow him; but do not pretend to follow Jesus."
If you intend to be worldly, go all the way with the world. Make your life reflect what you believe. But I believe that you will not go all the way into sin as others do, because your conscience will not allow it. But you are so fond of Satan that you won’t completely leave him and become a servant of God. And now the prophet calls out, "If the Lord is God, follow him; if Baal, then follow him," and by doing this, he states the basis of his claim.
Elijah was alone, but he wasn’t intimidated by the crowd. Someone in the crowd shouted, "Prophet, you demand proof of our love, and then you say, Follow God. Now, if I believe that God is God, I do not see what claim he has to my beliefs." Now, listen how the prophet answers him: he says, “The reason why I claim that you should follow God by faith, is that God is God; God has a claim upon you, as creatures He created, for your devoted obedience. To Him”