Friday, March 27, 2009

Turning Our Hearts Toward God

{1 Kings 18:36-37; NKJV}
And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, "LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again."

We tend to give our hearts away very easily. A new fad comes along and our hearts are right there along with everyone else. Perhaps we long for knowledge so we give our hearts to science and philosophy so we can discover how things work and why. Maybe we want to give our lives away to something larger than ourselves so our hearts are given to politics or social agendas. Our hearts are every where except where they should be.

In our age of "enlightenment" it is easy to talk about how foolish it was for these ancient Israelites to give their hearts to idols. We see ourselves as so much smarter because we would never worship something that we, ourselves, had created. We know these things have no power. Yet, if we would just take a little time to examine our hearts we would discover that we are actually little different than this ancient people. We too worship equally worthless things.

In spite of our giving away our love to inferior things God still loves us and longs for us to return to Him. Elijah proclaimed that God was the One turning hearts. He was the One calling people to Himself. They weren't looking, but God was calling.

God continues to call to us so that we may give our hearts to Him. We have guilt from sin. God is calling us to return to Him. Discontentment with life grows in our hearts. God is calling to us. Pain is a constant companion in our lives. God is seeking to turn our hearts back to Him.God is trying to get our attention so that we will give Him all of our heart. Sure at times this is painful, but it usually takes pain to get us ready to listen to what God has to say to us.

For three years it hadn't rained in Israel (God even with held the dew). This was the mother of all droughts. Don't you think that many people in Israel experienced pain because of these circumstances? Hunger and thirst couldn't every be quenched because there just wasn't enough. But it took these circumstances for the people to begin to question the power of Baal and Asherah and to begin to seek the powerful God of their ancestors. God had to tear down their delusions before they would be ready to love Him.

When it was all said and done and the divine fire had consumed the sacrifice Elijah had presented, God ordered the death of the false prophets of Baal. They had to be destroyed if Israel was going to have a hope of being free.

This is where many of us are weak. We have heard God's call and realize the powerlessness of the "idols" in our lives, but we are not willing to do whatever it takes to eradicate them from our hearts. We allow them to live and they continually plague us. In order to be free we must carry out their dearth sentence, God will not do it for us.

God desires us to be part of His family and He is calling us to join Him. We have to make a choice whether we are going to give God our hearts or if we are going to continue to serve our little puny idols.

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." But the people answered him not a word." ~ 1 Kings 18:21; NKJV

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