“Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear.” (Isaiah 59:1, English Standard Version)
Imagine the crowds, and the curiosity, that day on Mount Carmel. Why has everyone been summoned to gather here? Is that Elijah standing beside King Ahab? And are those the prophets of Baal and prophets of the grove gathered over there? This is quite a crowd. What’s going on? (Read I Kings 18:20-40.)
Choose Your God
This was destined to be a day those gathered would long remember. The people of Israel watched and listened as Elijah, God’s prophet, challenged everyone assembled there. “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him” (verse 21). But no one spoke a word in answer to his impassioned plea. Was their silence from guilt? Indecision? Fear?
As the day grew long, the prophets of Baal received no answer from their powerless god. Their sacrifice lay on the altar, but no fire came from Baal to burn it. Hour after hour they cried out, but nothing happened. Elijah mocked their efforts.
And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. (I Kings 18:27-28, ESV)
Baal never answered. He couldn’t. He was powerless. No matter how loud or how long his prophets cried out, there would never be an answer. A god without power is not a god at all.
Have you ever wondered why the Israelites found powerless gods so appealing though they could neither see, hear, or talk? Maybe they considered it “added insurance.” If the Lord didn’t answer, perhaps Baal would come through for them. Or maybe they just gave in to the pressure of “everyone else believes in him.” We may not understand why they worshiped the false gods around them, but we do know God’s opinion on it. His words were clear; He was a jealous God (Exodus 34:14). He only accepted their undivided worship.
A God of Unlimited Power
Our God is not powerless. In fact, there are no limits to what He can do. Job 11:7 asks, “Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?” (ESV). With God working in our behalf, we don’t need “added insurance” or Plan B. We don’t have to call out louder; He hears even our softest whisper. The Lord is all we need. Our God is the all-sufficient One. Best of all, He is within reach. He hears. He sees. He touches.
“For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods” (Psalm 135:5, ESV).
Prayer: Lord, I recognize Your power and Your presence. Your hand is not too short to reach me. You are not deaf when I cry out to You in prayer. You are not weak when I need Your strength. I do not need to operate in my own sufficiency. My power is limited but Yours is without measure. Thank You for always being near, ready to touch and to deliver me in times of need.
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