THE CHRIST OF MODERN DAY CHRISTENDOM
“And Elijah came unto all the people, and said,” The servant of God at once took the initiative, being in complete command of the situation. It is unspeakably solemn to note that he said not a single word to the false prophets, making no attempt to convert them. They were devoted to destruction (v. 40). No, instead he addressed himself to the people, of whom there was some hope, saying, “How long halt ye between two opinions?” (v. 21). The word for “halt” is totter : they were not walking uprightly. Sometimes they tottered over to the side of the God of Israel, and then they lurched like an intoxicated person over on the side of the false gods.
They were not fully decided which to follow. They dreaded Jehovah, and therefore would not totally abandon Him; they desired to curry favour with the king and queen, and so felt they must embrace the religion of the state. Their conscience forbade them to do the former, their fear of man persuaded them to do the latter; but in neither were they heartily engaged. Thus Elijah upbraided them with their inconstancy and fickleness.
Elijah made a demand for definite decision. It is to be borne in mind that Jehovah was the name by which the God of the Israelites had always been distinguished since their coming out of Egypt. Indeed, the Jehovah-God of their fathers was the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob (Ex. 3:15, 16). “Jehovah” signifies the self-existent, omnipotent, immutable, and Eternal Being, the only God, beside whom there is none else. “If Jehovah be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him.” There was no “if” in the mind of the prophet: he knew full well that Jehovah was the one true and living God, but the people must be shown the untenability and absurdity of their vacillation. Religions which are diametrically opposed cannot both be right: one must be wrong, and as soon as the true is discovered, the false must be cast to the winds.
The present-day application of Elijah’s demand would be this: if the Christ of Scripture be the true Saviour, then surrender to Him; if the Christ of modern Christendom, then follow him. One who demands the denying of self, and another who allows the gratifying of self, cannot both be right. One who requires the uncompromising mortification of sin, and another who suffers you to trifle with it, cannot both be the Christ of God!