“And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” I Kings 18:21
Elijah, in one of the most dramatic moments of the Scripture, was confronting the prophets of Baal and the prophets of the groves on Mt. Carmel. Eight hundred and fifty false prophets were present. All of Israel was summoned to the meeting. The first words out of Elijah’s mouth are presented in our text. There was no friendly or social greeting, only a piercing call for a public, spiritual commitment. This powerful question and challenge resonates down through the centuries of time and still stirs our hearts: “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.”
These children of Israel were compromisers in the worst way. Through His prophet, God was challenging them for a commitment. He wanted them to declare their position. Instead, the Bible says, “the people answered him not a word.” They had nothing to say to this bold and direct invitation from the fiery prophet. They were silent. They did not make a stand for Baal nor did they verbalize their allegiance to God. They simply had nothing to say. What a pathetic picture of the backslidden heart.
We need to be certain and consistent in our loyalty to Christ and His cause. In these perilous times, we need to take a public stand for the Lord. Most of us have been like Simon Peter at times and have denied the Lord instead of witnessing of His grace. Let us confess our failure and with new resolve, purpose to be the faithful witnesses we all desire to be. Our silence can only be interpreted as a lack of commitment and love for our Redeemer. The people assembled on Mt. Carmel “answered him not a word.” They were vacillating “between two opinions.” This is the problem still today, when someone wants to be associated with the Lord and also be accepted by the world.
The Bible is clear; it is not possible to be a friend of the world and a friend of God. We must make our choice and take our stand. “Stand up, stand up for Jesus, Ye soldiers of the cross!” Jesus deserves more than silence from His disciples. Strengthened by love for Christ and His empowering grace, let’s not be ashamed to identify with our Lord.