God Or Baal?

1 Kings 18:16-21 (NIV)

 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah.17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”

18 “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. 19 Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”

But the people said nothing.


What is your Baal?  Who or what are you worshiping in your life that is not the one true God?  Do you see what I’m saying?  The Jews were worshiping false gods.  They were engaged in idolatrous practices.  Their love for the one true God had gone cold and they no longer served or worshiped Him.

So Elijah summoned the king of Israel, Ahab, and the 850 false prophets of the false gods Baal and Asherah.  He also summoned the people of Israel to meet him on Mount Carmel.  Nearly everyone around Elijah had turned their backs on the Lord God in order to worship these false, pagan gods.  Elijah laid down the gauntlet.  He drew a line in the sand.  He issued the challenge.  He asked the question – who is God?  Is it Baal or is it the one true God of Israel?  Some of the saddest words of Elijah’s story are found in verse 21 (1 Kings 18:21, NIV) – “But the people said nothing.”

Who or what is your Baal?  What has taken God’s rightful place in your heart?  Is it a person?  Do you love anyone more than you love Jesus?  Is it an addiction?  Are you addicted to drugs, food, alcohol or sex and one or more of these things have pulled your heart away from God?  Are you worshiping the culture?  Whether it is entertainment of various kinds (sports, music, movies, television, etc.) or your kids’ sports teams or the celebrities of our day, who or what do you worship?  Is it technology and stuff?  What do you spend your money on?  Are you hoarding wealth and things?  Do you worship technology?  What do you spend your time on?  How much time do you devote to Facebook and how much time do you devote to God?  Is it your family?  But family is a good thing!  Not if it pulls you away from God.  Only God is God.  Your spouse is not God and neither are your kids nor your grandkids.  Is it the church or religious activities?  Even church can become an idol.  If you love doing church-y things more than you love God or if you think that your church-y activities will get you into Heaven, you’re mistaken.

Elijah said, “If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21, NIV).  Jesus summed up what it means to follow Him with two commands – love God and love people.  If you do not love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength and love people as yourself, then you’re doing it wrong.  God must be number one.  Period.  If He truly is God, then we must surrender to and follow Him.  All of the other stuff – both good and bad – must never be higher than second place.

PRAYER: Lord God, help me to make You the first priority in my life and to give You first place in my heart.  I don’t want to live a life with divided loyalties.  I don’t want to forfeit my soul because I love the things of this world too much.  Help me to love You with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength today.  Amen.


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