1 Kings 18:17-21 (KJV) “And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim. Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table. So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel. And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word” (Emphasis Added).
I went to a local restaurant with some of our family recently. As we entered, the host welcomed us and asked how many were in our party. I told him, “4, please.” He immediately asked, “Would you prefer a booth or a table?” My response was very quick – “Yes!”
I had to laugh at my response! I wish I could report that I was responding “Yes,” because I meant that I preferred either a booth or table over having to sit on the floor or stand at a bar to eat. But, I had “booth” in my mind – it was his first offer!
To my amazement, he immediately led us to a booth, which was conveniently located next to a table! As we approached the booth, he presented a more confident expression on his face as he placed the menus on the table standing between two booths.
I looked at the host, and said, “If you need for me to clarify anything else for you tonight, please don’t hesitate to ask me! I’m sure you are impressed with how quickly, and confidently, I make decisions! After all, you asked whether we desired a booth or a table, and my response surely cleared that up for you!”
The man laughed, or was it a humoring chuckle? He then replied, “I get that response all the time!”
I was going to invite him to church, but I was concerned that he would ask who the pastor was. I decided to forego the invitation until a later opportunity!
Decisions. Are they hard for you to make? Are you like the man who had to fill out a job application. One question said, “Do you have trouble making decisions?” The man replied, “Well, yes and no.”
We are faced with having to make decisions every day! Even the decision to not decide is a decision. I understand that not all decisions are “deal breakers” in our lives. For instance, very seldom does the decision of what we will wear have a profound impact on the success of the day. Well, I suppose it wouldn’t be wise to wear shorts when it’s your day to ride broncos; but, it’s being able to stay on the horse for 8 seconds that matters!
You made the decision to read this blog, or you made the decision to humor someone you love who asked you to do so. Regardless, I’m grateful you decided to spend a portion of your day with me in this blog!
Today’s Scripture presents a setting wherein prior spiritual decisions resulted in a course that spiraled downward for Israel. Most of the people, following the lead of their wicked king, decided to follow the path of least resistance, chose to worship the popular gods of the culture rather than to serve the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Consequently, God’s anger was enkindled, and He chose to chastise His people before He had to destroy them. Therefore, God sent a famine and drought for 3 and one-half years prior to the reappearance of Elijah.
As soon as Ahab saw Elijah, he accused him of being the cause of the famine and drought. Elijah’s response was pointed and revealing…
1 Kings 18:18 (NLT)“I have made no trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “You and your family are the troublemakers, for you have refused to obey the commands of the LORD and have worshiped the images of Baal instead.”
It is critical to remember that God was speaking through Elijah! God was the one saying, “Your decisions affected everyone in Israel! You decided to dismiss My Way, please your wife, and follow the ways of the evil one. Because of your decisions, I decided to bring judgment upon you, and the people for deciding to follow you!”
You see, we are not the only ones making decisions every day! God makes decisions also. Now, before anyone gets “out-of-joint” and supposes that I am presenting that God makes all His decisions based upon what we do, let me say that God decides who He will save, when He will save them, and why He will save them.
God made the decision of how, and through Whom, He would save us – John 3:16 (KJV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” I’m so grateful the Father made His “Decision of Love” to send His Son to die for me!
It is God Who offers everyone the opportunity to make the decision as to whether we will submit to Him or not, and He places the consequences of the decision openly before us…
Isaiah 1:18-20 (KJV) “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it” (Emphasis Added).
Moses was given an intimate insight into the character of God after spending 40 days and 40 nights upon Mount Sinai with Him. Therefore, Moses presented the “heart” of God’s mercy to Israel before God took him “home.”
Deuteronomy 11:26-28 (KJV) “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known” (Emphasis Added).
God’s mercy is granted and accompanied with blessing to all who decide to trust Him and commit their lives and future decisions to His leading. Otherwise, His mercy is withheld and accompanied with a curse to all who decide to not trust Him. Each soul makes a personal decision for blessing or cursing with each consequential ramification; therefore, there is no justification of blame placed on anyone but oneself!
It is God Who made the decision to intervene on behalf of lost humanity. He Who was/is the “Offended,” made the merciful decision to prepare means whereby the “offender” can decide accept God’s mercy.
Romans 5:8 (KJV) “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Emphasis Added).
John 3:17-18 (KJV) “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (Emphasis Added).
While the Father has every right to maintain His stance as the “Offended,” He decided to grant mercy and to not “get even” with the “offenders!”
Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV) “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT2) “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
The Word of God is powerful. We understand the God’s Faith gave power to His Word as He created the world (Hebrews 11:3). Since we were created in God’s image and likeness, the words we decide to use when we speak will have a significant impact on our lives.
Proverbs 18:21 (KJV) “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Emphasis Added).
Jesus reaffirmed this principle…
Matthew 12:36-37 (KJV) “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Emphasis Added).
We see by this brief discussion – the decisions we make will always bring consequences. Next week, we will discuss the principles we should adopt as core values and apply to the decision-making process to invite the blessing of God.