We have a dog named Dawson. He’s a full-blooded Rottweiler and at 6 months old, he’s already almost as big as our other adult dogs. He’s going to be a big boy. He also loves ants. We live out in the country and every now and then we’ll get a big black ant that finds its way into the house. Rather than squash it myself, I’ll call Dawson over, point out the ant and let him eat it. I know it sounds disgusting, but I’m told that, depending on what they eat, ants have a sweet taste. Dawson’s never met an ant he didn’t like, so I’ll have to assume they taste good. I have no intention of finding out myself. All I know is that if there’s an ant in the house and Dawson knows about it, that ant is a goner.
In 1 Kings 18, the prophet Elijah put out a challenge to the false prophets of Baal. They would each set up a place of sacrifice at a place called mount Carmel. On each they would put wood and onto each they would place a bullock for sacrifice. Here was the catch: Neither Elijah nor the prophets of Baal would be allowed to light the fire. Elijah would have to call upon God and the prophets of Baal would have to call upon their god to bring fire down from heaven. Elijah allowed the prophets of Baal to go first and he gave them all day. Nothing happened. Then it was Elijah’s turn. Not only did he set up an altar of sacrifice with a bullock on it. He had the people dowse it twice with water. Then he prayed to the God of heaven. After he prayed, the Bible says:
Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. (1 Kings 18:38)
When the people saw this, they knew beyond shadow of doubt that Elijah’s God was the true God. Even the prophets of Baal understood this. Before they had a chance to run and hide, Elijah had them arrested, and according to Old Testament law he had them executed for being false prophets.
And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there. (1 Kings 18:40)
No exceptions were made. He told the people, “Let none of them escape.” It didn’t matter if they were popular, or powerful, or charming. They all had to go.
God wants us to deal with our sin in the same way. It doesn’t matter how much we might like it, or how harmless we think it is, it must go. What keeps us from letting none escape? The level of our commitment to God. How thorough we are in dealing with our sin is directly proportional to how real God is to us. The more we understand how holy and how real He is, the more thorough we will be in dealing with our “besetting sins.” As God is pointing out areas in our lives where sin must die, are we faithfully executing those things, or are we letting some escape?
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