Monthly Archives: July 2013

How Long Halt Ye Between Two Opinions?

So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel. [21] And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word (I Kings 18:20-21).

elijah_ahab

At the turn of┬áthe tenth century before Christ, Ahab was king of Israel. He, and his wife, Jezebel, were two of the most corrupt and sinful people this world has ever seen, and they were sitting on the throne ruling God’s people (I Kings 16:33). Jezebel had cut off the prophets of God out of the land, except, perhaps, those hundred whom Obadiah, a faithful servant of God from his youth, had protected by hiding them in a cave from Jezebel and feeding them (I Kings 18:4,13). Because of the wickedness of Ahab and Jezebel, God sent the prophet Elijah to send a drought over the land until word came again unto Elijah (I Kings 17:1).

After three and a half years the prophet Elijah came again to see Ahab and to end the drought (I Kings 18:1; James 5:17,18). After confronting Ahab, he sent for all the people of Israel to be gathered at Mount Carmel for a showdown and he gave them this challenge: “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him” (I Kings 18:21). Several things impress me with Elijah’s statement.

First, the confidence of Elijah impresses me. Elijah was certain about the truth of who God actually was. He challenged the people to find out. Elijah could not have asked the people to decide if the truth could not be known about the matter. Most of the people probably already had an opinion but were probably afraid of what Ahab and Jezebel would do to them if they actually professed a conviction on whether or not Jehovah was God over Baal. Today, so many people are agnostic in their beliefs. They won’t affirm something to be true and they won’t take a stand. They may be afraid to stand for something, fearing what others will say or think about them. But God expects us to confidently take sides (Ex. 32:26). As the old saying goes, if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.

Second, I am impressed by the certitude of Elijah. This idea is closely related to the idea of confidence. Elijah implored the people not to halt between two opinions. The word for “halt” means to hop or leap. Ironically, this is the same word used to describe the worshipers of Baal when they were “leaping” upon his altar (I Kings 18:26). It is the word used to describe Mephibosheth’s lame foot (II Sam. 2:14). It is also the word translated “passover” in the Old Testament (Ex. 12:13,23,27).

God does not want us to vacillate in our beliefs, glomming on to one view and then another. We should not skip or hop around to different opinions, going whatever way the winds of change may blow us. James told us that “he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:6-8). We can know the truth. Jesus said we shall know the truth and it shall make us free (John 8:32).

It also impresses me that Elijah thought time was of the essence. “How long,” he asked, “halt ye between two opinions”. It might be forgiven one that he might not immediately make up his mind until all the facts are in. That is understandable. But at some point, enough facts will have been gathered and enough time will have passed for a decision to be made. Some people, however, study an issue all their lives and are never able to come to a knowledge of the truth (II Tim. 3:7).

When Jesus had healed the man born blind from birth, the Pharisees tried to deny it (John 9). They said “We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is” (John 9:29). The blind man answered and said unto them, “Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes” (John 9:30). Even the blind man could see that there was enough evidence to render the verdict as to who Jesus really was. The Pharisees were the ones who were really blind (Matt. 23:16,19,24, 26).

The question which Elijah asked is a good one for many today: How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him.

Eric L. Padgett

HOPE

A few simple Biblical facts about hope.

The Jews hoped for the coming of the Messiah (Acts 26:6, 28:20).
Jesus’ flesh rested in hope of resurrection (Acts 2:26)
God is a God of hope (Rom. 15:13)
We don’t hope for what we see or have (Rom. 8:24)
We have the hope of the resurrection from the dead (Acts 23:6; 24:15)
We have hope of a new body (Rom. 8:20)
We hope in God’s word (Ps. 130:7)
We have the hope of the glory of God (Rom. 5:2)
Experience produces hope (Rom. 5:4) and hope causes us not to be ashamed (Rom. 5:4)
We are saved by hope (Rom. 8:24)
While we hope we can rejoice (Rom. 12:12)
Learning the scriptures can give us hope (Rom. 15:4)
We can abound in hope when God fills us with joy and peace in believing (Rom. 15:13)
Love hopes all things (I Cor. 13:7)
If we only have hope in this life, we are most miserable (I Cor. 15:19)
Hope causes great plainess of speech (II Cor. 3:12)
We wait for the hope of righteousness (Gal. 5:5)
We can know what is the hope of our calling (Eph. 1:18)
Without Christ we have no hope (Eph. 2:12)
There is one hope (Eph. 4:4)
Hope laid up in heaven (Col. 1:5)
The hope of the gospel has been preached to every creature under heaven (Col. 1:23)
The hope of glory is Christ being in us (Col. 1:27)
With hope there must be patience (I Thess. 1:3)
Those outside of Christ have no hope (I Thess. 4:13)
Hope of salvation is like a helmet (I Thess. 5:8)
We have a good hope (II Thess. 2:16)
Jesus Chist is our hope (I Tim. 1:1)
We have the hope of eternal life (Tit. 1:2)
We have a blessed hope of the return of the Lord (Tit. 2:13)
Hope of eternal life (Tit. 3:7)
If we hold fast the confidence and rejoicing of the hope firm to the end, we are His house (Heb. 3:6)
We have full assurannce of hope (Heb. 6:11)
We can lay hold on the hope set before us (Heb. 6:18)
This hope is an anchor of the soul (Heb. 6:19)
We have a better hope (Heb. 7:19)
We have a lively hope (I Pet. 1:3)
Hope should be in God (I Pet. 1:21)
We must be able to give reasons for the hope that is in us (I Pet. 3:15)
If we have the hope of being like Christ we purify ourselves (I John 3:3)
If we hope in th Lord He will strengthen our heart (Ps. 31:24)
If we hope in Him, He keeps His eye upon us (Ps. 33:18)
A wicked man’s hope perishes when he dies (Prov. 10:28)
While you live, there is hope (Eccl. 9:4)

Eric L. Padgett

The Great Physician

The Great Physician

The Great Physician

Since the dawn of time a deadly disease has plagued mankind. It is a devastating disease that most do not even know they have, nor will they, until it is much too late. It is a disease so destructive that it literally penetrates to the very soul of man. Even so, man has learned to live with it and, yes, even to enjoy it. We will even be so bold as to declare that man has learned to love it. What is the name of this devastating and destructive disease that man loves to contract and cultivate in his very bosom? Man seems to have forgotten it but it has not forgotten man. Its name: sin!

But, as if sin is not devastating enough by itself, the calamity has been compounded. Many today are loosing their souls to false remedies for the spiritual sickness of sin. Just as a medical doctor who unwittingly orders an injection of medicine that costs a person their life, preachers today are peddling false doctrines that are costing men their souls. This is the tragedy that is happening every day, a tragedy which can and must be stopped.

When the publicans and sinners gathered to hear the Lord speak those wonderful words of life, the Pharisees saw and asked the Lord’s disciples, “How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:15,16). With those words the Lord made it very clear that He was the physician who could heal the spiritually sick. He is the Great Physician with the greatest of all remedies.

But the world is still sick with sin; the disease seems to be spreading. Like the person receiving a fatal dose of medicine, mankind’s spiritual health is swiftly and steadily declining. If man could only recognize what is not the proper treatment for sin, if he could only recognize that which would cost him his soul, he would never let himself be indoctrinated by counterfeit cures for sin; he would never accept a false remedial system.

We must expose and refute the many false systems of salvation that now plague the religious world. While we desire to make perfectly plain our enmity for all religious error we likewise want it known that we harbor no ill feelings toward anyone. Our motive is pure. Our motive is love for the truth and for the souls of men (Eph. 4:15). If we speak the truth without tempering it with love, we err. If we speak out of love but do not speak the truth, we err. We do not wish to be in error where the souls of men are concerned nor do we want others to be.

Sometimes, though, the remedy of truth hurts. But is it not better to be hurt for only a short time instead of all eternity? Is it not better to pull a sleeping man out of a burning house, taking the risk of physically hurting him or offending him, than to let him burn? Let us, then, likewise reject all false remedies for sin which possess no healing power at all, but rather assure spiritual death. Let us faithfully follow the remedy of the Great Physician!

Eric L. Padgett