1 Kings 18:21 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.  

Nobody said anything! For sure not “nice sermon pastor”. Baal meant owner or lord – whichever or whomever exercises control over another. It came, through the passage of time to refer to several of the Semitic gods in the far eastern Mediterranean areas around Israel. So, at first glance, this scripture verse may seem to have little applicability to us. But what if we simply take it at its original meaning – that which competes with our God for various forms of control over us? We all have issues which get the better of us – what are yours?  The point of this scripture isn’t to judge, but rather, to encourage us to resist and not simply accept our personal baals as merely “well that’s just me” and so, give up, or worse yet, deny. The prophet’s message here is to resist, and I would add, by God’s grace, keep resisting. As always though, eliminating a negative is next to impossible without replacing it with a corresponding positive. Johnny Mercer wrote a very popular song on this theme back during WWII. It was actually based on a sermon an associate had heard. Seventy years later “Ac-cent-u-ate the Pos-itive” (and its responding E-lim-in-ate the neg-a-tive) was inducted into the Library of  Congress’s National Recording Registry for the song’s “cultural, artistic and/or historical significance to American society and the nation’s audio legacy”. Bing Crosby recorded it first and dozens covered it over the years. You can find many artist’s versions on youtube. Ella Fitzgerald and Willie Nelson are my faves. Good sermon!

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