Thursday, January 5, 2023

A God Who Answers

 Thursday, January 5, 2023 

Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention. 1 Kings 18:25-29

A God Who Answers

The passage above is a familiar story from the Old Testament.  The entire nation of Israel, along with nearly 1,000 pagan prophets gathered on Mount Carmel for the showdown between the One True God, Yahweh, and the pagan god Baal. The evil King Ahab had established idol worship in Israel and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kins of Israel before him1 Kings 16:30  Because of Israel’s turning away from God there had been a 3 year drought and now Elijah had them present to see just which god was real. To make a long story short, Yahweh showed up and Baal was nowhere to be seen. Elijah soaked an altar on top of Mount Carmel and called on Baal to bring fire to consume it and nothing happened.

The nation of Israel and the pagan prophets were doing everything in their power to get the false god to respond to them. They called on him from morning till noon, slashed themselves with swords and spears, and continued their “frantic prophesying” for the rest of the day with no response. No one answered. No one paid attention

These poor people, I know how they feel. I too have called on things in my life – we all have – to do what only God can do for me. I have exhausted myself, searching and running from one thing to the other, instead of resting in the security and confidence of my One True God. Anything that does not come from Him is a waste of time and effort, The Israelites wore themselves out trying to make the false god answer their cries. They limped and cried and cut themselves in desperation. 

Have you been limping around the altar of a false god? Have you been desperately raving and calling out to an incompetent god to do something for you that it can never do? They will never answer our cries or give us what we need. They will only ask us to give more of ourselves for nothing but silence in return and ice cold emptiness. They are never impressed with our offerings to them. 

We are not idol worshipers, not like the pagans, but we do find false gods. We do put other things on the throne of our heart and try to fill the ice cold emptiness in our hearts with these things instead of God, the only one who can. We serve God but when it gets uncomfortable we don’t want to feel it. When it takes longer for God to answer than we think it should, we may try to find our own answer somewhere else. This is when we waver. We have faith. We know our God keeps His promises and has everything we need. But we are not feeling like He is hearing us because we are getting nothing in return. We are bouncing back and forth between two extremes, between two allegiances – between God and something that we can substitute for Him when He is not coming through with the answers we think we need. 

We have a God, a Heavenly Father, who doesn’t need to be impressed. He has already declared us as His own, chosen, called, redeemed, and beloved children. He is not an incompetent God, but our very own all sufficient God who will do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us. That’s His power in us. 

We don’t have to exhaust ourselves trying to impress Him and make Him listen to us and answer our cries. He is not a God that does not pay attention. He is ready and waiting to fill the void in our hearts and to answer our pleas. He does always answer, it is just not always the way we want and in the time that we want. 

I hope you will go into this year free from all the idols you have previously been dancing around. I hope you will dance in His freedom and worship Him. I hope you will be free from what is not true and come to know God in a way you have never known Him before. 


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