I have many favorite memories from Hume Lake 2016, but none of those times will trump Tuesday night. On Tuesday night, when the Gospel was presented, 17 of our very own N&F students dedicated their lives to the Lord. I thank God that I was able to be apart of that life transformation, and seeing these young people come to know Jesus is an absolute blessing to witness. God’s Spirit was moving last week, and He deserves all the praise and glory!
All week long, we focused on Elijah, and Old Testament prophet and all around beast for God. The stories that surround him are completely fascinating, and encouraging to believers to be strong and bold in their faith. On Sunday, as we recapped Hume Lake, I focused on one of these amazing stories of Elijah.
The king of Israel in the days of Elijah was Ahab - and he was a bad dude. Actually, he was one of the worst kings Israel ever had. He married an equally terrible woman named Jezebel, who was a devout Baal worshipper. Together, they helped lead the people of Israel away from their true God, into worship of this fake-me-out god of power, fire, and storm. As a prophet of God, Elijah did not stand for this - he stood firm in his faith, and boldly opposed the king and his wife. And when enough was enough, God led Elijah to set up a battle of the gods - a god-off, if you will. Two alters were set up with a sacrificial bull on each - and whatever god would bring the fire would be the god to worship.
1 Kings 18:19-21 [Elijah says to Ahab] “'Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Ashram, who eat at Jezebel’s table.' So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him. But the people said nothing.”
The alters were set up, and it was Baal that was tested first. From morning to evening, hundreds of Baal’s prophets begged, screamed, and pleaded with Baal to bring the fire down to this alter. It was no surprise to Elijah that absolutely nothing came from their useless pleadings. It was Elijah’s turn to prove God’s existence and power, but before praying to God, Elijah had people (literally) flood his alter with water, to ensure that there was no magic or antics - but only the power of God could set this alter on fire. In 1 Kings 18:36-39, we see Elijah’s prayer and God’s response:
At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD - He is God! The LORD - He is God!”
In the heavyweight battle between Baal and God, God proved Himself as the only true God by leaving His alter utterly destroyed and burnt to a crisp. And after this display of power, the people were left proclaiming that He is truly God! Last week at Hume Lake, God’s Spirit did the same exact thing, and many students were left proclaiming that He is Lord! But, check this: you do not need a mountain top experience to find God! He does not just live at Hume Lake and does not only reveal Himself to people in mountains. He is everywhere at all times and desires a relationship with all.
In 1 Kings 18:21, Elijah said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” The Israelites had a choice to make, once and for all, who they were to worship with their lives. Now, not many people in San Clemente are worshipping Baal, but could there be other things in our lives that we can focus on, and dedicate so much of our lives to, that we make whatever that is our god? Passion for popularity, obsessing over self-image, approval of others… These things can take the throne of your life, leaving no room for the true King. The same God that sent fire down for Elijah also sent His son Jesus down from Heaven, to restore relationship between Himself and sinners. As Elijah told the Israelites you must choose one or the other, so we must choose who or what we live our lives for. If we want a relationship with God for here and into eternity, we must choose Jesus and live only for Him.