In I Kings 18:24, Elijah the prophet of God challenges the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of the grove, to call on the name of their gods. Then, Elijah proclaims that he "will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God." There is a pandemic today among preacher and people alike in our churches representative of Elijah's reproof to all the people gathered on Mount Carmel of "How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him." This reproof of God's people, Israel, found in I Kings 18:21 ends in sad commentary, "And the people answered him not a word."
Thank God, the prophet of God didn't settle for silence and inactions. Thank God, and I say many times over that Elijah took the bullock by the horns', pun intended, and challenged all assembled there with an indictment of their indifference by thundering "the God that answereth by fire, let him be God." It is my observation that many a preacher and the people in churches where I preach have dwarfed God into a midget of their own making, with unbelief, self-sufficiency, and blatant indifference. Consequently, revival tarries and apathy grows among believers, advancing the church to a showdown with the devil in which God seems to be relegated to a mere bystander. The outcome is frightening to consider, for the church and America as a whole, should this spiritual malady continue.
There is hope with God, however, and He is ever merciful toward those who truly repent and return unto Him. A solemn and sincere surrender to the edicts of God as found in Jeremiah 6:16 justifies this appraisal of hope and mercy with God. "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein." But, the pastors and leadership in our churches must stand up and be counted with God. Dr. Lee Roberson is quoted as saying, "Everything rises and falls upon leadership." Throughout my 39 years of both pastoring and local church evangelism, I've learned and exercised a conviction that leadership makes all the adjustments. Thank God Elijah did not consider his own neck when confronted by the wicked King Ahab, but brought the apostasy and apathy of God's people to a conflict on Mount Carmel.
Tacked on the wall of the home of a young African pastor was a sheet of paper that reads:
My Commitment as a Christian
I'm part of the fellowship of the unashamed.
I have Holy Spirit Power. The die has been cast.
I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made.
I'm a disciple of His. I won't look back,
let up, slow down, back away, or be still.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense,
and my future is secure. I'm finished and done
with low living, sight-walking, small planning,
smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions,
mundane talking, cheap living and dwarfed goals.
Dear preacher and people in our churches, may we share the same commitment as this African pastor. Let us not be guilty of "when all is said and done, more is said than done!" May we get out of the way and let Almighty God be God!
The Watchman's cry