Christopher B. Harbin
1st Kings 18:27-39
Past, present, and future are rather difficult concepts for us in terms of living. We live in anxiety over a future that has not and likely will not come, fail to learn much of importance from our past, and do not know how to live in the present while appreciating long term issues and long term lessons. Our living in the present generally looks much more like living with little concept of tomorrow and the consequences of our actions. How can we live in the presence with a healthy appreciation of long term issues, consequences, and perspectives of eternity?
A man journeying in the Brazilian Amazon region came across a tribe sitting under a fruit tree. They ate until satisfied and stayed there looking to the tree for another meal. When the fruit was no longer within reach, they began to fell the tree to get to its upper reaches. When they were asked about the consequences to next year's crop of fruit, they did not understand. They had no concept of "next year." All that mattered and all they understood was the here and now.
Israel gathered around Elijah at Mount Carmel was not too different in many ways. Four hundred fifty prophets of Baal were there attempting to gain Baal's attention without success. They had prepared the calf for the morning offering, yet at noon they were still clamoring for attention. They shouted. They danced. They cut themselves with swords, spears, and lances. There was nothing to show for all their attempts to get Baal to answer with fire.
Elijah began mocking their attempts. They had already proven futile. For three years these same prophets had been sacrificing and pleading with Baal to countermand Yahweh's decree and end the drought. Baal had been powerless or unwilling to respond. They continued shouting, chanting, cutting, and doing whatever they could to press Baal to respond with fire. As Baal had not sent rain, so Baal did not send lightning. The nar ...
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