Read: 1 Kings 18:17-40 (Read Again!)
Over the past three weeks, we have been studying 1 Kings 18:17-40. In this study, we have compared the spiritual decline of our nation to that of the nation of Israel. THE main problem our nation faces right now is not our financial crisis, not our healthcare crisis, and not even our race crisis. Skin is not the problem. Sin is! Our nation is facing a spiritual crisis as we have turned away from God to the worship of other gods (idols), which are nothing more than broken cisterns (Jeremiah 2:13). We are faced with a choice. We can either follow God or follow the gods of the world system that are opposed to God (1 John 5:19). What are the gods of this world system? They are religion, education, sports, materialism, sex, politics, success, and popularity. We as a nation have become idolaters. Now you may be thinking, “I don’t worship these things.” Really? Anything that we put ahead of God is an idol.
The Apostle Paul writes in Colossians 3:5, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” God made our hearts for worship. We were created to worship Him, but instead, we have turned away from God and are worshipping the gods of this world. Remember, our hearts are naturally idol factories. Our hearts create idols that we worship. Paul writes in Romans 1:21-23, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal men and birds and animals and reptiles.”
Let me ask you again: How long will you waver between two opinions? This word, waver, means ‘to limp,’ like someone who is crippled. It means to be unsettled in opinion. The Israelites were vacillating between worshipping God and worshipping false gods.
Are we not, as Christians, doing the very same thing? As Christians, we are being pulled in two different directions—part of us is being pulled toward God while the other part of us is being pulled towards the world system that is opposed to God. Be honest! Have we not gotten caught up in making our lives too comfortable? Have we not been worshipping the god of materialism? I’m guilty as charged! This tug of war in our hearts between the pull of God and the pull of the world is crippling us—to the point where we are ineffective as God’s ambassadors. God wants to use us to win others to Christ. However, this is virtually impossible when we are being pulled in two different directions because we hesitate. We are limping to heaven when we should be running.
Paul writes in Ephesians 4:14, “Then we will no longer be infants tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” Understand that when you are pulled in two directions, you are like a piece of driftwood on the ocean surface blown about by the wind.
Back on Mount Carmel, the false prophets danced around the altar they had made. This word ‘dance’ comes from the same Hebrew word for ‘waver’. The prophets were just like the people—tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. The churches across America today are filled with false teachers who are dancing around the altars they have made. That is why you see denominations today literally approving of things that the Bible declares to be shameful, unnatural, indecent, and perverted (Romans 1:26-27). This explains why you hear teaching coming from the pulpits across America that is heresy—declaring that there are many ways to God. The Bible says that there is only one way (John 14:6)! These denominations that are teaching things that are contrary to God’s Word are in steep decline. Thank goodness! In Isaiah 29:13, The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.”
It is amazing how similar our nation is to the nation of Israel. We began as a nation under God. Our churches used to be full of ministers who knew the Lord and declared His Word boldly. But, we, as a nation, have turned away from God. Our land is filled with false gods. Our churches are full of false teachers. And we, as believers, are wavering between two opinions.
Jeremiah 2:13 states, “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” One day, and perhaps very soon, Americans are going to realize that wealth is a broken cistern. And one day, perhaps when it is too late, many churchgoers are going to realize that religious teaching devoid of the Spirit is a broken cistern that fills you with false hope and cannot save you. Religion says, “Do!” Jesus says, “Done!”
Jesus is the only cistern that can provide living water. Placing your trust in Him is not about religion, it is about a relationship. In John 4:13-14, Jesus answered the woman at the well: “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” I will ask you again: How long will you waver between two opinions? How long will you try to satisfy the longings of your soul by drinking from broken cisterns? Either serve God or serve the gods of this fallen world—because you cannot serve both. That is the choice that lies before each of us.