Saturday, March 11, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Could "Baal Worship" Still Be With Us?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Elijah's story is no legendary tale to be forgotten in a few days. Both Malachi and Jesus talk of God "sending Elijah" back again before the second coming of Jesus. And we are told that when "he" comes, some Christians will treat "him" as King Ahab and Jezebel did. Could we do that?

Could "Baal worship" still be with us? The name Baal simply means "lord." A housewife would call to her husband, "Baal, come to lunch!" Over a century of spiritual confusion, the people sincerely thought it was another acceptable name for the God of Israel; because they were afraid to pronounce His true name for it was too holy. Baal worship developed gradually. It was "contemporary worship," keeping up with the times, an ecumenical "outreach" to the many secular people all around them. The people of Israel liked it.

Ahab and Jezebel were the equivalent of "the anointed of the Lord" in holy office. This was plausible, for the Lord had "made Baasha prince over My people Israel," bad as he was (1 Kings 16:2, KJV)! So much prosperity attended the reign of King Ahab that the people naturally saw him also as the divinely appointed "prince of Israel." Worldly? Yes.

Was Elijah sweet, humble, and gracious in his approach to the king? He strides into Ahab's office with no appointment, right past the secretary, sets himself in front of the startled king and announces doom. Then disappears without a good-bye. Later he confronts Ahab and tells him directly he is the sole cause of the terrible drought and famine. Would any church board like to invite "Elijah" to be your guest speaker?

Jesus clears up a lot of confusion by telling us that when "Elijah" comes, "he" won't be a man with a stern face and a white beard. "He" will be a message! (See Matt. 11:7-15.)

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 9, 2002.
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