Friday, October 30, 2009


By Joe Ortiz

     One of the biggest moments of sadness I experience in broadcasting the Gospel (that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for our sins, and those who believe in Him shall have everlasting life), I run across many who respond to the Good News with scorn, wrath and rage rather than thanksgiving.
     I’m a reminded about a story in the Bible that addresses that issue rather clearly, one that hopefully will give fellow disciples some comfort. That story is about one of God’s greatest prophets, Elijah, who experienced this malady, written in the book of 1 Kings, chapter 18.
     As the story unfolds God had sent Elijah to visit King Ahab to inform him that rain was on the way. Ahab’s servant, Obadaiah, greeted Elijah in an honorable fashion, recognizing that Elijah was God's servant. Instead of welcoming Elijah with open arms (to receive the good news), the faithless Ahab teated Elijah with disdain, the paranoid king feeling that Elijah was causing the nation of Israel great troubles. Nevertheless, a meeting between Elijah and Ahab was held. 
     For the rest of the story, let us call upon one of God’s greatest Bible commentators, Matthew Henry, who provides us with profound comments about that meeting and its significance. Let’s join Henry as he unfolds the inner-machinations of Elijah’s meeting with Ahab:
     “We have here the meeting between Ahab and Elijah, as bad a king as ever the world was plagued with and as good a prophet as ever the church was blessed with. Ahab, like himself, basely accused Elijah. He durst not strike him, remembering that Jeroboam’s hand withered when it was stretched out against a prophet, but gave him bad language, which was no less an affront to him that sent him. It was a very coarse compliment with which he accosted him at the first word: Art thou he that troubleth Israel? v. 17. How unlike was this to that with which his servant Obadiah saluted him (v. 7): Art thou that my lord Elijah? Obadiah feared God greatly; Ahab had sold himself to work wickedness; and both discovered their character by the manner of their address to the prophet. One may guess how people stand affected to God by observing how they stand affected to his people and ministers. Elijah now came to bring blessings to Israel, tidings of the return of the rain; yet he was thus affronted. Had it been true that he was the troubler of Israel, Ahab, as king, would have been bound to animadvert (to pay attention to, censure, from animum advertere, literally, to turn the mind) upon him.
     There are those who trouble Israel by their wickedness, whom the conservators of the public peace are concerned to enquire after. But it was utterly false concerning Elijah; so far was he from being an enemy to Israel’s welfare that he as the stay of it, the chariots and horsemen of Israel. Note, it has been the lot of the best and most useful men to be called and counted the troublers of the land, and to be run down as public grievances.
     Even Christ and his apostles were thus misrepresented, Acts 17:6. 2. Elijah, like himself, boldly returned the charge upon the king, and proved it upon him, that he was the troubler of Israel, v. 18. Elijah is not the Achan: "I have not troubled Israel, have neither done them any wrong nor designed them any hurt.’’ Those that procure God’s judgments do the mischief, not he that merely foretels them and gives warning of them, that the nation may repent and prevent them. I would have healed Israel, but they would not be healed. Ahab is the Achan, the troubler, who follows Baalim, those accursed things. Nothing creates more trouble to a land than the impiety and profaneness of princes and their families.
     As one having authority immediately from the King of kings, he ordered a convention of the states to be forthwith summoned to meet at Mount Carmel, where there had been an altar built to God, v. 30. Probably on that mountain they had an eminent high place, where formerly the pure worship of God had been kept up as well as it could be any where but at Jerusalem. Thither all Israel must come, to give Elijah the meeting; and the prophets of Baal who were dispersed all the country over, with those of the groves who were Jezebel’s domestic chaplains, must there make their personal appearance.
     Ahab issued out writs accordingly, for the convening of this great assembly (v. 20), either because he feared Elijah and durst not oppose him (Saul stood in awe of Samuel more than of God), or because he hoped Elijah would bless the land, and speak the word that they might have rain, and upon those terms they would be all at his beck. Those that slighted and hated his counsels would gladly be beholden to him for his prayers. Now God made those who said they were Jews and were not, but were of the synagogue of Satan, to come, and, in effect, to worship at his feet, and to know that God had loved him, Rev. 3:9.
     Ahab and the people expected that Elijah would, in this solemn assembly, bless the land, and pray for rain; but he had other work to do first. The people must be brought to repent and reform, and then they may look for the removal of the judgment, but not till then. This is the right method. God will first prepare our heart, and then cause his ear to hear, will first turn us to him, and then turn to us, Ps. 10:17; 80:3. Deserters must not look for God’s favour till they return to their allegiance. 
     Elijah might have looked for rain seventy times seven times, and not have seen it, if he had not thus begun his work at the right end. Three years and a half’s famine would not bring them back to God. Elijah would endeavour to convince their judgments, and no doubt it was by special warrant and direction from heaven that he put the controversy between God and Baal upon a public trial. It was great condescension in God that he would suffer so plain a case to be disputed, and would permit Baal to be a competitor with him; but thus God would have every mouth to be stopped and all flesh to become silent before him. God’s cause is so incontestably just that it needs not fear to have the evidences of its equity searched into and weighed.
     Elijah reproved the people for mixing the worship of God and the worship of Baal together. Not only some Israelites worshipped God and others Baal, but the same Israelites sometimes worshipped one and sometimes the other. This he calls (v. 21) halting between two opinions, or thoughts. They worshipped God to please the prophets, but worshipped Baal to please Jezebel and curry favour at court. They thought to trim the matter, and play on both sides, as the Samaritans, 2 Ki. 17:33.
     Now Elijah shows them the absurdity of this. He does not insist upon their relation to Jehovah—"Is he not yours, and the God of your fathers, while Baal is the god of the Sidonians? And will a nation change their god?’’ Jer. 2:11. No, he waives the prescription, and enters upon the merits of the cause:
     "There can be but one God, but one infinite and but one supreme: there needs but one God, one omnipotent, one all-sufficient. What occasion for addition to that which is perfect? Now if, upon trial, it appears that Baal is that one infinite omnipotent Being, that one supreme Lord and all-sufficient benefactor, you ought to renounce Jehovah and cleave to Baal only: but, if Jehovah be that one God, Baal is a cheat, and you must have no more to do with him.’’
     Note: It is a very bad thing to halt between God and Baal. "In reconcilable differences (says bishop Hall) nothing more safe than indifference both of practice and opinion; but, in cases of such necessary hostility as between God and Baal, he that is not with God is against him.’’ Compare Mk. 9:38, 39, with Mt. 21:30
     The service of God and the service of sin, the dominion of Christ and the dominion of our lusts, these are the two thoughts which it is dangerous halting between. Those halt between them that are unresolved under their convictions, unstable and unsteady in their purposes, promise fair, but do not perform, begin well, but do not hold on, that are inconsistent with themselves, or indifferent and lukewarm in that which is good. Their heart is divided (Hos. 10:2), whereas God will have all or none. 
     We are fairly put to our choice whom we will serve, Jos. 24:15. If we can find one that has more right to us, or will be a better master to us, than God, we may take him at our peril. God demands no more from us than he can make out a title to. To this fair proposal of the case, which Elijah here makes, the people knew not what to say: They answered him not a word. They could say nothing to justify themselves, and they would say nothing to condemn them, but, as people confounded, let him say what he would." (Matthew Henry, commentary on 1 Kings 18:18-21)

All in all, dear friends, God has forever been seeking union with His creation. He seeks not to force Himself on us, but rather that we realize there is only one God. To praise, worship and follow other gods, ideologies, superstitions, man-made traditions, and altered doctrines (contrary to His will and His word) will create a chasm between God and His people, and places a giant roadblock to the blessings He wishes to bestow to those who believe in Him and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
     Regardless, rejection of His blessings and those who deliver His message of good tidings, will incur them great consequences to their own detriment.


Joe Ortiz is the author of two books that challenge the Left Behind and Pre-Tribulation Rapture, and premillennial dispensational precepts and doctrines being promoted by many right-wing evangelicals. The two books include The End Times Passover (Etymological Challenges to Millenarian Doctrines) and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation (The Sequel to The End Times Passover), published by Author House. The former talk show host, journalist and news columnist is the first Mexican American to host a show on an English-language, commercial radio station, beginning in 1971 at KABC-AM Radio in Los Angeles.]
 Blog addresses:

Our Daily Bread Joe's web sites below:
  • Joe Ortiz Associates    Web site for Joe Ortiz Associates, a full service public relations company
  • The End Times Passover   Web site to discuss end times topics and to promote books written by Joe Ortiz
  • Tom Flores NFL USA     This is the new and official site of the Official Tom Flores Fan Club, managed by Joe Ortiz, fan club President


1 comment:

  1. I am glad that I decided not to pass over "The End Times Passover" by Joe Ortiz because it is "readable meat." By this expression I mean that his book is very readable and it is full of meat - theological and spiritual meat that is excellent for health and growth, spiritually speaking. If you are interested in the future, and want to find out what the Bible says about it, please don't pass over "The End Times Passover." It is also a great bargain and can be a much appreciated gift for someone. God bless you, Joe Ortiz! Jon