“The Peril Of Hesitation”
February 7, 2017
“The Peril Of Hesitation”
Message summary: “How long will you hesitate between two opinions?” Elijah challenged the people to take a public and private stand – to give single-minded, fervent allegiance to the one true God. The challenge is for us today as well. If we drift along with whatever is popular, pleasant, or easy we will eventually discover that we too are worshiping a false god – the god of this age. Let us be careful to examine our own hearts today, to be sure that we do not waver in what we believe nor in our allegiance to the one true God.
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“So Ahab summoned all the Israelites and gathered the prophets at Mount Carmel. Then Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions?” (1 Kings 18:21).
In Pennsylvania we have a lot of towns with names based on the Bible such as Bethlehem, Nazareth, Lebanon, Paradise, Ephrata, Emmaus and so forth. In fact the name of our state’s largest city is taken from the Bible; Philadelphia! It might seem that Mount Joy is a Bible name but it is actually named after an Irish ship.
About 50 miles north of us in the anthracite coal region is a small town named Mount Carmel, also named after a Bible place. Sawmill operator, Albert Bradford, chose Mount Carmel because of its elevation and beautiful setting in the mountains. He decided that it deserved a special name and chose to name it after the holy mountain in Israel.
Mount Carmel, in the Bible, is a coastal mountain range in northern Israel stretching from the Mediterranean Sea toward the southeast. It is referenced most famously in today’s text (1 Kings 18:15-45), where a great contest took place between Elijah, a prophet of God, and all the prophets of Baal. In the daily text Elijah went before the people with a probing question. (Mount Carmel pictured on the right.)
The question is so fitting for any age and certainly our own. Elijah confronted the apostate, idolatrous northern Kingdom with this succinct query, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions?” Another version words it, “How long will you waver between two opinions?”
It seems the people of God had long forgotten the final challenge of Joshua several hundred years earlier, “Choose you this day whom you will serve.”
Hesitation is not necessarily a bad thing. When making a large purchase we shouldn’t rush right out and buy something. It might be good to hesitate and deliberate. When making a decision regarding our lifelong mate we certainly want to be very careful in our consideration!
However it is absolutely essential that once we make a resolute commitment to serve and follow the Lord we don’t hesitate or waver. The simple chorus often sung at baptism services says it all,
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.
Sadly the people of Israel “hesitated” in their allegiance to God. They wavered. They were essentially double-minded. Many years later the Apostle James wrote, “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8).
Consider these consequences of wavering:
- The wavering person is unstable in all his ways.
- The wavering person is unproductive and ineffective in his service for Christ.
- The wavering person lacks peace and assurance.
- The wavering person lacks a steadfast testimony.
“How long will you hesitate between two opinions?” Elijah challenged the people to take a public and private stand – to give single-minded, fervent allegiance to the one true God. The challenge is for us today as well. If we drift along with whatever is popular, pleasant, or easy we will eventually discover that we too are worshiping a false god – the god of this age.
Let us be careful to examine our own hearts today, to be sure that we do not waver or hesitate in what we believe nor in our allegiance to the one true God.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, help me to thirst and hunger for Your Living Word where I find convincing truths to assure me, “This is the way. Walk in it.” I want to keep my heart fixed upon You and my mind certain of Your truths in this age where false religions abound and the broad way just gets broader. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and I gain entry to You, my Father, only through Jesus the Son. I’ve got a made up mind and I’m going to follow You during the good and the bad times, the lean and plentiful periods. Whether I stand with many or whether I stand alone, I choose to wholeheartedly follow You. Erase any doubts, fears, or wavering opinions that I might entertain so that I am wholeheartedly devoted to the one true God. Amen.
Wednesday: Tomorrow we will look at the prophetic challenge Elijah issued to the people, “If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21).
A reader’s comment concerning Brooksyne’s explanation of adultery in her Sunday School lesson in yesterday’s message:
“I had to laugh at the mention of Brooksyne asking the children if they knew what adultery meant. When my son was very young, his Sunday School teacher explained it as “messing around with your neighbors wife”. My son then informed his teacher that his dad had committed adultery! What really happened was he had told a joke to our neighbor and his wife.”
The powerful story behind “I Have Decided To Follow Jesus” Video I suppose when I first heard this song as a young Christian I probably assumed it was written sometime shortly before we sang it in the early seventies. However the lyrics go back to the 1800’s. It was popularized with music during the early Billy Graham crusades.
“Days of Elijah” Video Robin Mark (Probably the most well-known modern song referencing Elijah.)
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