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We must choose between one thing or another on a regular basis. Sometimes the right choice is not necessarily an easy choice. With every choice there are multiple results:
Do your homework or fail the exam. Do your homework and miss out on something else
Obey the speed limit or get a ticket. Obey the speed limit and get there slower.
Go to work or lose your home. Go to work and not fishing, golfing, hunting, sports
Thinking about it reminded me of a sermon I heard someone "When choice becomes God."
Some people feel they have the right to choice so much that choice is all that matters.
To them, it doesn't matter what the choices are, it matters that choices can be made.
For some of us, there is no choice in some matters:
o Murder is not an option.Stealing is not an option.Divorce is not an option.
o Lying is not an option.Immorality is not an option.Skipping Church is not an option.
Some of you will remember the statement "With great power comes great responsibility."
Or maybe you remember Winston Churchill's statement: The Price of Greatness is Responsibility.
The privilege of choice is great and a great power; we must "choose wisely," not "foolishly."
I want to encourage choosing wisely: 1 Kings 18:20-40 The message is Choose God not Baal.
20 So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel.
21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him." And the people did not answer him a word.
22 Then Elijah said to the people, "I, even I only, am left a prophet of the LORD, but Baal's prophets are 450 men.
23 Let two bulls be given to us, and let them choose one bull for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. And I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood and put no fire to it.
24 And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the LORD, and the God who answers by fire, he is God." And all the people answered, "It is well spoken."
25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it."
26 And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, "O Baal, answer us!" But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made.
27 And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, "Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened."
28 And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them.
29 And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me." And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that had been thrown down.
31 Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD came, saying, "Israel shall be your name,"
32 and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two seahs of seed.
33 And he put the wood in order and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, "Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood."
34 And he said, "Do it a second time." And they did it a second time. And he said, "Do it a third time." And they did it a third time.
35 And the water ran around the altar and filled the trench also with water.
36 And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word.
37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back."
38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, "The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God."
40 And Elijah said to them, "Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape." And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there.
The Phoenicians or Canaanites considered Baal the supreme male divinity and god of fertility v. 19 Asherah was the female companion of Baal
So, Elijah asked them to choose: "If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him. With the fiery answer from heaven, it is clear "The Lord HE is God. The Lord HE is God."
Why does God have to prove himself over and over again?
Choose God Instead Of Any Other God
Deut. 5:6-10 'I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 'You shall have no other gods before Me. 'You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
Are there other Gods? There are "so-called Gods," yes. But only if we call them Gods only if we make them Gods.
These people had heard of several gods when they were in Egypt. The Lord God overpowered them all, because they were not really Gods. Yet powerful things happened in Egypt.
God had power over water, frogs, insects, diseases, weather, fire, darkness and light, life and death
There is no God, but GOD!
Psalm 135:5 For I know that the Lord is great, and our Lord is above all gods. 8-9 He
destroyed the firstborn of Egypt, Both of man and beast. He sent signs and wonders into the midst of you, O Egypt, Upon Pharaoh and all his servants.
Can You Imagine Christians Worshiping Idols? Especially after that?
Yet, it is referenced several times in the New Testament:
1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols
1 Corinthians 10:7-14; 6:9-11; notice: "Flee idolatry" Such were some of you."
Is idolatry a temptation today? Sure it is! With TV shows like American Idol as reminders!
Isn't an idol something you put your heart into? "someone adored blindly and excessively"
If you put your heart into it, is there no risk of putting it in your heart above God?
Often people follow every word and step of the idol. So...
Do Not Let People Lead You Away From God
There were 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah 1 Kings 18:19
There was only ONE Elijah: 1 Kings 18:22
Do not think that numbers do not matter. Numbers intimidate
1 Kings 18:21 And Elijah came to all the people, and said, "How long will you falter
between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the
people answered him not a word.
Why wouldn't they say anything? They were intimidated! "Elijah might be right, but whoa, that's a lot of prophets of Baal and Asherah" In fact, there were 850 false prophets. 1 Elijah.
Scientists can be quite intimidating, but what if every scientist but ONE said "There is no God."
The truth is many Scientist believe God exists. Do we believe because of numbers or God's witnesses?
Do Not Let Yourself Lead You Away From God
These prophets at some point were swayed by others, but each of them made their own choice.
I ask you to Choose the Lord: "He is GOD."
1 Kings 18:30-31 Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me." So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, "Israel shall be your name."
Why did Elijah use 12 stones? He was teaching them. "You know these things. Your forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob devoted themselves to God. Choose God!
Do Not Let Sin Lead You Away From God
Hebrews 11:25 By Faith Moses chose "rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin."
Do not let any kind of addiction lead you away from God. Prevent the addiction: Choose God
If you already have an addiction, Choose God!
John 8:31-32 Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
Jesus was talking about being free from sin! All along God has provided a way for us to
choose Him but we have kept choosing something else.
Choose God, not sin. Choose God not self. Choose God not people. Choose the Lord, He is God If you believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, that He was offered on Calvary to set us free from our sins, "why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.' Acts 22:16
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