1 Kings 17-19, Psalm 99
The other day I was seeing a patient in her mid 70's with her husband in the room. She was discussing some difficulties in her life and I asked if her faith in God was strong to help her lean on while going through these problems. She responded by telling me that she regularly attends church every Sunday, but she resembles Thomas, in that she is a doubter. I asked her why, then told her about the Bible and how it was proven prophetically, archaelogically, historically, etc. To this she stated her problem was God doesn't measure up to science. I then showed God through His creation, highlighting the folly of evolution. I explained that if we were to stretch out all of the DNA in her body, with 6 ft of DNA/cell and with 70-100 trillion cells, that one could stretch her DNA from the earth to the sun 610.9 times. I explained that the popular mutation theory behind evolution made no sense in that 99.99% of the time mutations cause a loss of genetic material, not a gain which refutes their theory. I even explained that the man who discovered DNA, Francis Crick, who was an atheist, at the end of his life had to acknowledge that something intelligent had to create DNA. I also explained how the inventor of the Big Bang Theory, Dr. Hoyle, later recanted his theory. I explained these things lovingly and I believe logically all with the desire of making her stop doubting and fall in love with our amazing God of creation. But the opposite occurred. At the end of our conversation, she stiffened up and said fairly coldly, "We are going to have to agree to disagree, doctor." Her husband avoided eye contact with me at this moment. Most conversations with my patients don't end this way. Most end with their desire to learn God's Word at which point them I teach them all about it and show them different approaches to it. The reality is, we are called to step out for God, even when the results are not what we hope for.
When Elijah returned to present himself to Ahab and the people of Israel, after a three year drought, we see the occasion presented in 1 Kings 18:20-21, "So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. 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." Jesus in Matthew 6:24, said, "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." Most prefer to walk the tightrope between their faith and popular opinion, but we can't. We must decide what we stand for, making no decision is really making a decision for the other side. God will not be shared or lessened to accommodate another position. We see Elijah's bold stance in 1 Kings 18:24, "Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, He is God." If you read the account, we know that God shows His power mightily in the challenge on Mount Carmel. But we can't expect these mountaintop experiences to last. Almost immediately, we see Elijah all alone in 19:10, "So he said, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life." But God answers him in a "still, small voice" and tells him in 19:18, "Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him." Paul uses this example to encourage those in Rome in Romans 11:5, "Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace."
Those of us who take a stand for God, at times may feel all alone. The majority opinion is certainly not on our side. The other side is not only larger in number but more visible in the media. But like the challenge issued by Elijah, we must also decide what we stand for. Jesus said in Matthew 10:28, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." We may want to appease both sides, but when we choose not to stand for anything, we stand for nothing. Taking the correct stance for God can be lonely, but God will never leave us nor forsake us. Even when we feel all alone, there is always a remnant, just like there was one for Elijah. May we never forget the words of Paul in his letter to the Romans in 8:31, "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: