My Come, Follow Me studies for this week took me to 1 Kings 17-19 where I studied about Elijah. As with most scripture blocks, this one contained numerous principles. The principle that I wish to discuss in this post is “If the Lord be God, follow Him” (1 Kings 18). The introduction to this lesson is as follows.
The house of Israel was in disarray. The
unity and prosperity achieved under David and Solomon were long past, and the
nation’s covenant relationship with the Lord was, for many people, a distant
memory. The Kingdom of Israel had divided, with ten tribes forming the Northern
Kingdom of Israel and two tribes forming the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Both
kingdoms were unstable spiritually, led by kings who violated their covenants
with the Lord and influenced others to do likewise (see 1 Kings 11-16). But the
apostasy was especially severe in the Northern Kingdom, where King Ahab
encouraged Israel to worship the false god Baal.
It was in this setting that the prophet
Elijah was called to preach. The account of his ministry makes clear that
personal faith in the Lord can thrive among the righteous even in a wicked
environment. Sometimes the Lord responds to such faith with impressive, public
miracles, like fire falling from heaven. But He also works quiet, private
miracles, like meeting the personal needs of a faithful widow and her son. And
most often His miracles are so individual that they are known only to you – for
example, when the Lord reveals Himself and His will through “a still small
voice” (1 Kings 19:12).
The topic of this discussion is “If
the Lord be God, follow him” (1 Kings 18). When the Lord gave the Ten
Commandments to Moses, the first commandment was “Thou shalt have no other gods
before me” (Exodus 20:3). The Israelites in the time of Elijah must have
forgotten this commandment, or they felt that they had good reasons to worship
Baal despite the commandment. Their reason may have been that “Baal was known
as the god of storms and rain,” and they had been in a drought for three years.
Besides, the king and queen endorsed Baal worship and made it socially
We all face situations where we have
to make decisions. However, I have never been forced to choose between worshipping
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and worshipping another god. Nevertheless, I
have faced numerous times when I chose to watch the news or look at Facebook
when I should have been studying the scriptures. I eventually get to the scriptures,
but I put other things before God for a few minutes from time to time.
In 1 Kings 18:21, Elijah asked the
people of Israel: “How long halt ye between two opinions?” Halt means to
hesitate, waver, or limp, so Elijah asked the people why they were unsure about
following God. Elijah then set up a competition between Baal and God. He had
two bulls brought, one for the priests of Baal and one for him. The priests of
Baal built an altar, placed wood on the altar, and cut the bull into pieces and
placed the pieces on the altar. They then proceeded to cry unto Baal from morning
until noon to start a fire. They even climbed atop the altar to be closer to
Baal, but there was no fire.
Elijah rebuilt the altar to God with
twelve stones to represent the twelve tribes of Israel and dug a trench around
the altar. He put wood on the altar and cut the bull into pieces before placing
it on the altar. Then he ordered four barrels filled with water and poured over
the sacrifice. He made the order a second time, a third time, and a fourth
time. Water ran around the altar and filled the trench.
And it came to pass at the offering of the , that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou God in Israel, and I thy servant, and I have done all these things at thy word.
The people saw a powerful miracle,
one that they could not deny. God sent fire from heaven and burned the
sacrifice, wood, stones, and dried sixteen barrels of water. Elder D. Todd
Christofferson made the following statement in a worldwide devotional for young
adults on January 12, 2020.
In the end, there is no neutral,
uncommitted path to follow, at least when it comes to things of eternal
consequence. Alma made this point when he taught that Christ, the Good Shepherd,
calls us to follow Him in the path of discipleship and happiness:
Jesus Christ is the only way back to Heavenly Father. If we “are not choosing Christ, you are automatically following a false god.” If we are not following the Savior, we “are rejecting Him.” In past months we studied Joshua, where he taught the Israelites: “… choose you this day whom ye will serve; … but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
The choice is before each of us. Will we choose to follow Christ to eternal life, or to follow other gods to eternal damnation? Like Joshua, me and my house will serve the Lord.