27
Oct
15

Fighting About Stupid Stuff

1 Kings 18:1-15 (NIV)

After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.” So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.

Now the famine was severe in Samaria, and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, his palace administrator. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the Lord. While Jezebel was killing off the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.) Ahab had said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grass to keep the horses and mules alive so we will not have to kill any of our animals.” So they divided the land they were to cover, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another.

As Obadiah was walking along, Elijah met him. Obadiah recognized him, bowed down to the ground, and said, “Is it really you, my lord Elijah?”

“Yes,” he replied. “Go tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’”

“What have I done wrong,” asked Obadiah, “that you are handing your servant over to Ahab to be put to death? 10 As surely as the Lord your God lives, there is not a nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to look for you. And whenever a nation or kingdom claimed you were not there, he made them swear they could not find you. 11 But now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ 12 I don’t know where the Spirit of the Lord may carry you when I leave you. If I go and tell Ahab and he doesn’t find you, he will kill me. Yet I your servant have worshiped the Lord since my youth.13 Haven’t you heard, my lord, what I did while Jezebel was killing the prophets of the Lord? I hid a hundred of the Lord’s prophets in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water. 14 And now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ He will kill me!”

15 Elijah said, “As the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today.”

 

Throughout history there have been leaders who have battled God’s people.  In the Old Testament there were the Egyptians, Philistines, Assyrians and Babylonians among others.  In the New Testament, the Jews and the Romans persecuted Christians for their faith in Christ.  In 1 Kings 18, we see that King Ahab was so wicked that he had put many of the Lord’s prophets to death, even though they were his own people.  Rather than listening to the Word of the Lord, Ahab kills the prophets of God.  One of Ahab’s servants, a man named Obadiah, loved and served God and he hid 100 prophets from Ahab.  It’s one thing for persecution to come from outside sources.  It’s a terrible thing when God’s people persecute their own.

We see this happen in the church today.  Christians will persecute other Christians because they hold a different set of opinions.  Their personal preferences are different than other peoples’ personal preferences and they’ll persecute them because of it.  They don’t put them to death physically, but they’ll murder them with their words.  They don’t lock them up in a prison, but they’ll ostracize and exclude them from the church.  All of this over preferences and opinions?  It should not be!

Don’t get me wrong.  There are essential issues of faith that believers need to agree upon.  Things such as Jesus’ divinity, His atoning death on the cross, salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone and the inspiration of God’s Word among others.  But when it comes to how we worship (hands raised or not raised, musical styles) or what our facilities look like (color of paint or carpet) or names of things (minister or pastor, auditorium or sanctuary), we should not allow such things to divide us.  The devil’s greatest tool is division and letting the Christian army shoot themselves over stupid stuff.  Much of what we fight over is stupid stuff.

When we are so busy fighting over stupid stuff, we don’t have time or energy to fight the true enemy and win the battle that really counts – the battle for peoples’ souls.  Let’s stop persecuting each other and start loving each other as Christ loves us instead.  It will speak volumes to the world whom we should be trying to reach with the good news of Jesus.

PRAYER: Lord God, forgive us for our infighting.  Forgive us when we persecute each other.  Forgive us when we fail to recognize the true battle we should be fighting.  Thank You for Your grace and mercy.  Help us to love each other in the church and to stop fighting about things that really don’t matter.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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