“‘I have not troubled Israel,’ Elijah replied, ‘but you and your father’s house have, for you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD and have followed the Baals.'” 1 Kings 18:18(BSB)
Will serving and loving God cost you anything? Yes, it will cost you everything (Luke 14:25-34), but the results are so worth it. It is not enough to call yourself a believer. It is not enough to be exposed to the Word of God. You must be loving the Lord Your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. You must be applying His Word to your life and obeying God and His Word out of that love for Him. It really does come down to choosing whom you will serve.
When leaders choose to worship other gods, it causes problems for the nation or church or organization or households. Why? Because whatever the leader’s spirit is will be what the leader will be ministering with. Don’t get me wrong. God used a donkey to get His point across to Balaam the prophet in Numbers 22:28. After all, nothing is too difficult for God.
Either a leader will lead with the guidance of the Holy Spirit or a leader will be leading by the flesh. When one leads with his/her flesh, there will always be major issues and problems.
With that being said…
There is one God, but Ahab and Jezebel worshiped Baal (most popular of the Canaanite gods). However, Elijah was in the midst of the people, and eventually, Elijah challenged the people to take a stand. Either they would choose God or remain Baal worshipers.
When people have to give up their sinful pleasures in order to serve God, you can see their reluctance and walking away because they are not willing to surrender to God. Their actions will make it quite clear whether they serve God or not. If you take a stand for God, you cannot live the way you want to.
You may be thinking, “I’m not a leader.” Yes, you are. All of us lead someone at some point. Even if you think you are not a leader, you are being watched by someone (children, spouse, professors, teachers, supervisors, co-workers, list goes on). How you act, what you say, and whether or not you stand for truth matters to whoever watches how you are living your life. There are those who will watch to see if your walk and your talk line up with each other. Make sure you keep yourself in right relationship with God, keeping Him first in all things.
Just like Elijah had challenged the people so did Joshua. The Word of God gives this account in Joshua 24:24-27(BSB):
“Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; cast aside the gods your fathers served beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if it is unpleasing in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD!”
The people replied, ‘Far be it from us to forsake the LORD to serve other gods! For the LORD our God brought us and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and performed these great signs before our eyes. He also protected us all throughout our journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. And the LORD drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites who lived in the land. We too will serve the LORD, because He is our God!’
But Joshua said to the people, ‘You are not able to serve the LORD, for He is a holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your rebellion or your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, He will turn and bring disaster on you and consume you, even after He has been good to you.’
‘No!’ replied the people. ‘We will serve the LORD!’
Then Joshua told them, ‘You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the LORD.’
‘We are witnesses!’ they said.
‘Now, therefore,’ he said, ‘get rid of the foreign gods among you and incline your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.’
So the people said to Joshua, ‘We will serve the LORD our God and obey His voice.’
On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people, and there at Shechem, he established for them a statute and ordinance. Joshua recorded these things in the Book of the Law of God. Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak that was near the sanctuary of the LORD. And Joshua said to all the people, ‘You see this stone. It will be a witness against us, for it has heard all the words the LORD has spoken to us, and it will be a witness against you if you ever deny your God.'”
Taking a stand is never easy. However, either you will choose to serve God and live for Him, or you will reject Him. When it comes to living for God, there is NO neutral ground. This is not the time to be backing down. It is time to rise up and move forward doing whatever task God has called you to do. You may be in this world, but you are not of this world. Be a godly influence in this world, but do NOT let the world influence you.
“Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be put to shame.” –Isaiah 50:7(NLT)
Linda A. Knowles