Even troubled Christians may view believers that are committed as troublemakers. In verse 17 and 18 of our text we see the king, Ahab. It says, "And it came to pass when Ahab saw Elijah that Ahab said unto Him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel." You see a committed Christian today and people want to say, 'there's the cause of the trouble right there'. If you've worked on your job for any length of time and shared the gospel with people or even lived a godly life-and I'm talking about not taking too many or too long breaks - do your job and be honest. What are people going to consider you? A troublemaker. They are really going to know it if you ever share your testimony with them. You are causing all kinds of trouble.
That was Ahab. It had been awhile since he had seen rain. The last person of God told him that was going to happen. So that's where he focused his blame. Remember what I said, don't look at everybody else around you but look to yourself. Ahab wasn't looking at himself, he was looking at the guy who was telling him the truth. Don't do that this morning. Don't look up here. This isn't me. This is from God. Don't look up here and say that I'm causing trouble because I'm picking on you. I'm picking on me too. Don't look around, look inside yourself.
When you truly take a stand for God you need to expect a reaction and it's not always a positive one. But understand that deep down in their heart, it's not you that they are aggravated with, it's God. They are aggravated with themselves because they are lost or backslidden. We can't take that personally folks. You understand me. We cannot take that personally.
Now here's what hit me between the eyes. I like to take things personally. I don't know why it is but I feel justified in smarting off to people that I feel like have attacked me. Instead of praying for them, I want to confront them. I can hide behind, well I'm the man and I'm honest and I'm just. Wait a minute. Let's not get out of hand with this. Let's remember, let's not take things personally. There's reason why people attack us.
Let's go to God who gives the answers, who gives us the patience that we need to work with those folks. And some of that may be right here in this building with these people that we need to be patient with each other;. That we not bet so quick judging people. We've heard rumors of people who have started building programs and split churches. I would hope that would never happen here. But be warned, it can happen. What is the prophet answering in verse 18? "And he answered. I have not troubled Israel. But thou and thy fathers house in that ye have forsaken the house of the Lord and thou hast followed Balaam". Now listen; in all that I said about being patient with people, we also need to understand that there is a truth that we need to stand on. When we are confronted with things, we need to answer with truth. He is telling them the truth. It's not me, but it's you and your house and your father's house. You got away from God. People need to hear the truth. Too often we try to give them answers that coddle them and cradle them. No sir, give it to them straight. That's how God would have us do it.
Not only are we seen as troublemakers when we are committed to God, but when we are out witnessing do you know that it doesn't always produce immediate results. Have you ever had that happen? I mean you share testimony and you share the gospel and nothing happens. You feel like it is a waste of time.
In verse 21: " And Elijah came to all the people and said, how long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him but if Baal, follow him". Listen real close to this next sentence. And the people answered him not a word. He told them to make a choice and they sat there and looked at him like a calf looking at a new gate. Now think about it folks. You are in this position. You deliver the truth from God to these people and you don't even get one person to respond. It's disheartening. It's discouraging. We can't get discouraged or disheartened about this. We've got the message. God says that if we do what He wants us to do, He will give the increase, not us. It will be false if we give it anyway, if we coerced it. Does that stop this man of God? No, it does not.
He goes on to talk about the contest. We are going to get to that in just a minute. In verse 22: "Then said Elijah unto the people, I even I only remain a prophet of the Lord but Baal's prophets are 450 men"> That didn't sound like really good odds, did it. Actually you have to count another 400 from the groves. So it was 850 to one. That's just the prophets; that's not talking about the people that are behind them - the king and his court. We could probably round that off to 900 to 1,000 people. Probably more than that against one man. Wrong! Against one God. You see God makes the difference. If it had been just one man against 850, those odds don't work out. But when it's God, there's not enough humanity; there's not calculator or computer that can calculate an odd to even get close to even Him off. It's on His side.
Do you remember when we talked back in Joshua when he met the Lord of Host and he said, "Whose side are you on, mine or theirs? And the Lord of Host said neither. The question is not that, the question is whose side are you on. We don't have a side. Good or evil, which side are we on? We want to be on the winning side, don't we? This didn't look like the winning side.
One prophet who, by the way, had been surviving through a drought, fed by birds and a widow woman; he probably wasn't a picture of health. He was probably frail looking. Someone on the outside looking at that situation would have given him no chance because they are looking at it from the human aspect. I'm asking you this morning to drop those human eyes and look spiritually into the situation that is given to us here at this place and see which side God is on and that is where we need to run if we intend on filling up this building. Whose side are we on? Let's get serious. Let's understand who is in control of this situation. It wasn't the man of God. It was the God of the man. Listen: he stood up and told them, "I'm but one. They have all their men but I'm but one." Let's have a contest: Me and my God against all of you all.
Verse 24: "Call ye on the name of your gods and I will call on the name of the Lord and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God" Both of those last two Gods were big "g". He is talking about the Almighty God. He didn't even think to have a clue that Baal would even answer because he talked about him with a little "g" before that. He all the confidence in the world and had a reason to.
And all the people answered. Wait a minute! That's the group who wouldn't give him an answer awhile ago but he was persistent. He kept telling them the truth. And they answered and said, it is well spoken. Hey, that's a start. They didn't say he was right but they didn't say he was wrong either. They said O.K. (continued...)