Torch This!

I have a lot of favorite stories in the Word. One of them is about the time Elijah took on the 400 prophets of baal. A contest was setup between baal and God. Altars were built to God and baal. Wood was piled up on the baal altar. The sacrificed animals were place atop the wood pile. The prophets proceeded to pray and yell out to baal to consume the sacrifice with fire. They cut themselves until there was blood all over. But baal never showed.

THEN! Elijah built his altar with 12 stones representing the tribes of Israel. He told the prophets to pile up some wood and pour water on it. They get pouring. I imagine Elijah kept laughing… They put the sacrificed animal on top and Elijah prayed. The Word says, “Immediately the fire of Godfell and burned up the offering, the wood, the stones, the dirt, and even the water in the trench.”

WAHOO! Can you imagine?! This was no campfire. This was a fire so intense it burned up everything it touched, including the stones and dirt! Man that was some intense fire. Don’t you know Elijah had to dancing at this spectacle. Likely, BIGGER and BETTER than he could imagine. Don’t you know the prophets of Baal got a really sick feeling in their stomachs…

The story finishes with…

“All the people saw it happen and fell on their faces in awed worship, exclaiming, ” Godis the true God! Godis the true God!” Elijah told them, “Grab the Baal prophets! Don’t let one get away!” They grabbed them. Elijah had them taken down to the Brook Kishon and they massacred the lot.”

There is a price to pay when going up against an angry God. I am convinced even with the new deal of grace, this is still a price to pay.

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37stories

It is the desire of my heart that God be Lord of my life. Life’s experiences have killed the old man and God is building a new creation in me. I look forward to experiencing the new man God creates in the old vessel known as Archie via "God Spots".

11 thoughts on “Torch This!”

  1. Hi Archie;

    Seems to me that both sides had alters and sacrificed animals.

    One side had to light the match.

    The other side had spontaneous combustion.

    The winners massacred the losers.

    Can you imagine if something like that were to happen today and one of your children was on the losing side?

  2. Hi Archie;

    Far be it from me to opinion, but this post really bothers me.

    This is what is wrong with much of the bible. It’s OK to massacre as long as you believe God is on your side, even though the commandment says “Though Shalt Not Murder.”

    That is a major contradiction in my mind.

    The Old Testament was about the tribes of Israel and their problems.

    Jesus cam along and said much or most of it was garbage in his own way.

    Do you think for a minute Jesus would massacre 400 people because they didn’t see the “light”, but in the end they acknowledged the God of Elijah, who was a terror in his own right.

    The world would be better off without those stories in a book many people claim God wrote, so they can justify it for their own sick uses.

    How many times throughout history and now does some sicko use the bible to back up his or her actions?

    The KKK is on organization. Many Nazis went to church.

    This is a sobering message.

  3. Hi Ich. I know this story bothers you and I admit I have flippantly handled the death of 400 plus living breathing people. I also know you are serious and not just desiring dialog.

    I think it likely, you are smarter than I and you have proven your knowledge of scripture surpassing mine many times. So my response here is not meant to defend me or my God and it is in no way meant to simplify the issue so as negate your concern. If you didn’t have a loving heart, the story likely would not bother you.

    That said, here is my take. It is unlikely you will find sense in it as you know everything I might say, already. But I will pray for special enlightenment beyond man’s knowledge and into the Spirit realm. It could happen….

    There is a God of the old testament who acted and reacted in a certain manner. It was predictable. He created the heaven, earth and everything in it. As creator, he owns it all. That is His right of ownership as creator. As creator He gets to do as He chooses. As creator, He is a jealous God. He apparently gets particularly hacked when His chosen people, the Jews, worship other Gods. I can’t explain it. I can only through observation believe it.

    I think because the Jews get special treatment, they may also be subject to harsher punishment. Balancing their punishment of the old testament against all the gentiles that were whacked, I suppose the playing field is leveled out. This brings us to New Testament times….

    It seems God figured out that the OT way of judgement with hell fire and damnation wasn’t working. He took a great risk in offering up His only Son as sacrifice. Jesus was the tipping point. I believe our eternal future was decided by one man. God’s gamble paid off in dividends for all that believe, align themselves with God and live the life of Christ.

    I think the key for you and everyone all over the world is to realize the deal changed when Jesus died on the cross, beat death and came to life. This ultimate gamble ushered in the concept of grace. It is grace that we live under and law is written as history.

    Times changed…. Our God is a God of love fully expressed by what He allowed His only Son to do on the cross. His Son gave His life that I might have life and life abundant. His Son also died for you.

    The conflict is resolved by faith and trust in a loving God that has the right to do whatever He wishes, whenever He wishes because He created us.

    I am a slave to Christ and love being subject to His grace. He loves me. There could be no better master.

    I know it is too tough to take at face value. I will pray for God’s grace that you might see….

    You are a fine person, regardless and I count you a friend.
    Archie

  4. Hi Archie;

    I count you as a friend too and I respect your faith as it is your faith.

    I appreciate the response.

    If we were both to witness something like this happening, I am sure both of our hearts would be dragging low.

    This story appears to be designed to scare superstitious people into compliance. Fire and brimstone.

    Jesus was pretty forgiving, understanding the ways of the human mind and soul.

    God forgave in the Old Testament too. More than once. David, Samson and Solomon were examples.

    Stuff like this happens today. In places where ignorance and poverty reign supreme, all types of atrocities take place. Even in “civilized” countries it happens witness Germany, Italy and Japan a few short generations ago.

    Death is part of life. That is something none of us escape. The lucky ones go quick or in their sleep. 🙂

    Thanks Archie. 🙂

  5. God did not change from a harsh God to a merciful God when Jesus was born. He was and is holy, loving, merciful, all powerful and nothing changes in who He is. Jesus did not junk the Old Testament, he clarified and intensified it. An eye for an eye sounds like a harsh requirement of revenge, when it was really an incredible limit on what actions people could take in seeking justice. In that time, you gouge out my eye, I kill your whole village. Yahweh’s people were not to be like that. Justice yes. revenge, no. Because people had twisted that law to mean the opposite of it’s intent, he intensifies it: love your enemies as yourself, turn to him the other cheek, give him your tunic…
    In this world, there are two religions: paganism and the faith of the Bible. Paganism: man works to please and appease God and thereby earns salvation. the faith of the Bible: God has done it all. God pursues us. God saves us. God’s grace brings us into that relationship.
    What else would a perfect God do?
    What else could flawed mankind do?
    We only need to search our own hearts to see that we are incapable of holiness.
    To say God is mean or harsh when he judges and punishes is to say that humans are not deserving punishment. What we don’t deserve is the grace that God gives us.
    We can read the story of Elijah and say that a god that would cause the deaths of 400 people is not loving, but we are finite beings, with a finite view of our little piece of the world.
    God could have prevented any evil people from contaminating this world. At our first rebellion, he saw the countless generations of murderers, rapists, thieves, and he could have instead stopped the whole thing right in it’s tracks, or created a world where people had no volition, no ability to respond to His love, no choice. But His love won out. His love for the people who would know Him and have an eternal relationship with Him. For that reason, He has abided a great many evils, so that His love and His glory can be revealed to His people.

  6. Hi Jason

    God created man and woman in “our” image.

    Jesus taught love and compassion and put away the sword and reattached an ear.

    He saved an adulteress from a stoning, praised a Samaritan and was murdered for his efforts.

    The old testament does not belong in the same book as Jesus.

    That is my take on it. You may have your view.

    The bible was not compiled until centuries after the death of Jesus. Even since the early works, there have been edits and changes, books dropped and a few added.

    To base a faith on some of the writings in the books that bishops chose to be part of a collection without questioning, may be dangerous.

  7. Great thoughts Ich (if I may call you that)
    God did not create man out of His need for a relationship (Being always Father, Son, and Spirit) He already was in relationship with Himself. It was out of His fullness, that He created mankind.
    Israel was to be a light to the nations. People were to hear about the great and wonderous deeds of their God and come and worship Him.
    For one, I don’t see how someone can intellectually lift up Jesus as a role model without understanding that He knew, loved, and depended on Scripture (what we call the OT). He cited it, used it as his strength, and his entire life is spelled out in the pages of the OT.
    The woman caught in adultery: the entire book of Hosea is about a prophet who is told by God to marry, pursue, and completely forgive a woman, not just caught in adultery but an ongoing prostitute. This is the picture of the OT and NT God and how he loves His people, most explicitly revealed in Jesus.

  8. Hi Jason;

    Yes you can call me Ich.

    I think of it this way, the old testament is a legacy for the tribes of Israel. Meanwhile there is a whole world out there which never documented their histories or past.

    The natives in the Western Hemisphere who had advanced civilizations to Africa, Russia etc.

    Most of them never heard any of this.

    They lived, loved, killed, etc as well.

    Some of the spiritual beliefs from these peoples coincide with the message Christ taught. Humility, love, compassion, screw dogma and worthless ritual, respect for the earth and all living things.

    Christ praised the Samaritan. Was the Samaritan a Christian? Who knows?

    People who get caught up and idolize the bible end up getting legalistic with it, memorizing lines and passages to use on a daily basis, forgetting the teachings of Ecclesiastes and Jesus.

    I don’t read of Jesus walking around with an OT in his hand and the apostles weren’t recorded as having books either.

    Faith is about living. All things can teach. All faiths may have something of value.

  9. Hi Jason;

    As an afterthought, when Jesus said “Love thy neighbor” he did not qualify as to what the neighbor should or shouldn’t believe, what he or she belonged to or did for a living did he?

  10. Hey Ich,
    sorry for the long delay, life got crazy for a bit there.
    Ecclesiastes is one of my favorite books, glad to hear of a fellow fan.
    I guess I don’t quite understand your stance, on one hand people shouldn’t look up to the Bible and read it, but on the other we should look to the teachings of Jesus which show us how to love others.
    I can make an image of Jesus up in my head, give him a personality and pattern myself and my choices after this image but really, I’m just following my own heart. It’s only in the Bible that we have a revelation of who Jesus is.
    And I don’t disagree with you a bit about both other religions and all of creation having something that it can teach us. I believe all people all born with the knowledge of what is right and wrong in their hearts, that is why you see a consistent thread running through all religions. The one difference you find between the faith of the Bible and all other religions is this: all religions, save the faith true to the Bible, teach that the way to salvation/nirvana/enlightenment etc, is consistent with the patterns of this world. “Do this, to get that”. Follow the 8 fold path to earn Allah’s acceptance, get rid of worldliness to achieve nirvana, etc. Only in the faith true to the Bible do we see it as completely accomplished by God. He pursued, redeemed, gave it freely, and faith is all that is required.
    After receiving that free gift, someone who follows Jesus should grow in all you described: humility, love, compassion, and respect. And of course, I agree with you that (as the Bible tells us) that Jesus looked at the entire world as loved by him and people who follow him should do the same. sadly, few do.

  11. Hi Jason;

    Leslie left a comment on one of my posts about Santa and it goes like this

    “That is the way I felt when I stepped into the Santa soul and also took part in the elves jobs of putting toys together when my children were little. I have a little different view of Santa Claus. I believe in him. If I stretch my mind far enough, I have often wondered if the belief and faith in Santa is similar to what is requested of us when we place our faith and belief in God. Santa is more than an individual. He is as big and bigger than life. He is the spirit of giving. He is a part of God, for me. One thing I like about Santa and God is that they allow me to step in and step up and live what they stand for and represent”

    We all know Santa doesn’t exist, but the spirit of Santa is real enough as is the spirit of Jesus.

    My biggest problem is and was this, I am of the crowd that believes that Jesus is the son of God, like the rest of us.

    I don’t believe we were born into sin due to Adam and Eve and I don’t believe we should idolize Jesus as God either.

    If you like to use the bible for reference, God forgave in the OT as well. God didn’t wait for Jesus to save.

    God made it clear there is only one God. Whatever that may be 🙂

    The two legged facsimiles walking this planet are not God, only mortals, past, present and future.

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