Most of us don’t like confrontation. We’d probably choose to avoid it. Elijah did not run from confrontation. A prophet from the 8th century, BCE, Elijah challenged the idolatry committed by his king and the people of his time. He had the courage to stand up to a fertility religion and the priests of Baal (the god who promised rain and crops). In an agrarian society, they were an attractive alternative to the religion of Israel, promising good weather and rain during a time of terrible drought. In some regards it was a life or death proposition, with the promise of abundant crops for the harvest if people would worship this god, Baal. Elijah stood fast. He was a courageous man and a spectacular contest ultimately took place on Mt. Carmel between Elijah and the priests of Baal. Clearly Elijah’s courage drew on both his trust and confidence in God. It was the kind of courage we need when facing a difficult person or problem. Elijah believed that God would come through. He believed that God would be known and seen.
This story certainly raises a question about how we would tell others about God. What would you want them to know about how dependable God is for you? In what ways do you experience God’s help? These are important questions for us to be able to address. We all have our own experience of God’s gracious help moving in our lives, bringing us the care or assistance we need at just the right time. We may not be facing mountaintop contests. However, we’re in a very secular age, with great skepticism about religion. Elijah knows the reality of God. He stands up for God and what is true in his faith. Will you?
Rev. Doug Norris preaches all three services on Sunday, October 8, 2017.
Dave Summers, PhD
602.840.8360, Ext 131