The stories of the Bible contain meanings that take more than a lifetime to understand, and their riches are worth the readings and the rigour. But the Bible also offers us many moments of intense clarity, when God cuts to the heart of the matter for us, when He unambiguously articulates what we need to know to be saved. The gospel, plain and simple.
One such moment occurs as Joshua is approaching death and, fearing God’s people will forget their calling, he reminds them of their history and sets a stone as memorial to the people’s promise of faithfulness.
14 Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.
15 If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Likewise crystal clear are Elijah’s exchanges with Ahab in 1 Kings, where he counters Ahab’s pathetic insults with the truth, clean and comprehensible, whenever they meet. Perfectly righteous retorts.
Ahab: Is that you, oh troubler of Israel?
Elijah: YOU are the troubler.
Ahab: Have you found me, O my enemy?
Elijah: I HAVE found you, because you have sold yourself to do evil.
There’s no mincing of words here. Elijah’s spiritual sword cuts straight to Ahab’s heart and exposes what it encounters. Armed with his shield of faith, Elijah confronts petulent kings and he commands crowds. In 1 Kings 18, Elijah gathers all the people and 450 prophets of the false god Baal. And God’s athlete Elijah wastes no time.
How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.1 Kings 18:21
Elijah’s stories teaches us that the Word of God is full of mystery and wonder, of heavenly, supernatural things. But God’s message is also beautifully simple. Obey God and live or obey someone else and die.
Follow the Maker of the Universe who will never leave you or forsake you, who promises to make you new, who offers you eternal joy.
Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.Acts 16:30-31
Or, like Ahab, like the prophets of Baal, like the rich young ruler whose wandering heart Jesus confronts, follow a god of your own making.
When midday was past, they raved until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention.1 Kings 18:29