Have you ever watched an infomercial? They go to great lengths to convince you that you NEED what they’re selling. They make you promises of life improvement just because you can now dice onion, or whatever else you desire, with the slap of your hand. Easy peasy lemon squeezie. No more tears. Wow. I need that. But when it arrives you realize that it doesn’t really make that much difference at all and instead you’re avoiding Starbucks because you used a month’s worth of coffee money for the promise of a better life. I’ve fallen for it. There was a time when they said “call now!” and I did!
We’ve had people accost us in front of the local big box store to sell us stuff that promises to buff even the most stubborn scratches out of the paint job on our minivan. It seems to me that if they really look, not even all that closely, at our ride, the scratches are the least of our concerns. It’s still a mystery to me how we ended up walking away with enough of that stuff to last us at least the next decade.
Not every promise is real. Not everything you see is actually authentic.
1 Kings 18 gives account of Elijah taking on the prophets of Baal. The people in those days were giving themselves over to the worship of Baal because Ahab had not only allowed Jezebel to bring her god into the country but he also allowed her to push them as the true gods to be worshipped. Elijah was alone against 450 prophets of a false god. He was taking a bold stand. Elijah had prayed for a drought because the Baal that they worshipped was supposed to supply rain. If you’re at all interested, reading a bit about the background on that is quite interesting.
So here they were in the middle of a drought, praying for fire to consume the altars they had built with the prepared sacrifices. Elijah was a good sport and even allowed them to go first. They pleaded and cried out, but no fire ensued. By noon, and after all sorts of attempts to get their god to respond, Elijah began taunting them a little. He encouraged them to cry louder, maybe their god was sleeping. After everything, there still came no fire.
Then it was Elijah’s turn. He did better than just leaving the altar dry in the middle of a drought, he encouraged them to soak it with 12 jars of water, making sure it was so sopped that the trench around it was full. He then asked God for fire to prove He was the one true God, and that he was His servant. God showed up. He sent fire that not only consumed the sacrifice and altar but also every bit of water surrounding it. This showed the people whose promise was real. After that a heavy rain fell and the drought ended, and they knew it wasn’t Baal who sent it.
There will always be people who will try and entice us with false promises of an easier and better way, but like the prophets of Baal proved, it just creates more work, frustration, and unmet expectations. Only when we turn to the one true, authentic God will find our lives become more peaceful, and although circumstances may not always be easy, the striving will cease.
I’m presently reading a book by Heidi Baker and in it she shares lots of instances when they needed miracles and breakthroughs and the only way they saw them was by resting in God. There was nothing else they could do. We need to be like Elijah, submit our request to God and have confidence in His answer, not like the prophets of Baal who even resorted to hurting themselves to gain the ear of their god. We have God’s ear, we just need to have faith in His provision.