Vol. 8, No. 10
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Recently, the main discussion in most conversations has centered on the theme of politics. It seems that everyone is talking about his or her favorite candidates for the various local and state offices. One cannot help but to wonder how much good could be achieved in the cause of the Lord if the same amount of time, money and influence were exerted in the spreading of the Gospel. Nevertheless, the freedom to vote as one pleases is certainly a great liberty offered by this nation of ours. The Lord God made man to be a creature of choice. From Adam on down, man has had to make choices, morally and otherwise. But, the greatest decisions are to be made in the spiritual realm and not in the political circle. We mention now some of the momentous occasions wherein decisions had to be made, either for the Lord or Satan.
First of all, we read in 1 Kings 18 where Elijah the prophet met the prophets of Baal in a direct confrontation on Mount Carmel. Elijah was set to prove who was truly the God that all people should serve and worship. The party of indecision, of all nations, was Israel. The great prophet inquired of the double-minded congregation, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him. But the people answered him not a word" (V. 21). Israel as a whole had held Baal to be Lord and God, prince of nature, source of life, not to the exclusion of God, but along with him. But man cannot serve two masters. It is better to be cold than lukewarm (Revelation 3:16). If there is a God, serve him. If there is a judgment, then prepare for it. Decision of character is necessary for a great change. Faith without works is dead (James 2:17, 26). A heavy condemnation rests on those who "profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him." (Titus 1:16). It is a fatal inconsistency to believe in God and yet not follow him. The majority of the Athenians were indecisive and told Paul that "We will hear you again on this matter" (Acts 17:32). Israel was moved by transient feelings like Felix and Agrippa (Acts 24:25; 26:28). Indecision on the part of Israel was characterized by the words, "But the people answered him not a word."
Second, a choice had to be made regarding the Lord or idols as found in Joshua 24:14-15. Here speaks the sturdy old warrior who had led Israel to victory in many a battle. Joshua invites Israel, as did Elijah, to make their choice between the false worship and the true, between the present and the future, between the indulgence of their lusts and the approval of their conscience. But, as for himself, his choice is already made. It is wonderful to see that in the day of the lack of faith in the children Israel, a leader as Joshua making his decision known to the people. Presently, there is an urgent need for Christians to dedicate themselves to the service of God. Its necessity arises from the proneness of man to settle down upon his lees, neglecting the watchfulness observed when he first believed. Enthusiasm cools; men sleep, and tares are sown among the wheat; the Christian athlete rests content with the laurels already gained; the warrior, having defeated the enemy, allows him time to gather his forces for another battle; and the temple that was beautifully cleansed has been left unattended and has been allowed to grow filthy, necessitating a thorough renovation. The question needs to be raised, "Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the Lord" (1 Chronicles 29:5)? Neutrality and compromise are each impossible. Jesus said, "He that is not with me is against me" (Matthew 12:30). God will not accept a divided allegiance. Joshua had already made up his mind. He did not wait to see what the majority of the people would approve before he committed himself to a particular course of action, but boldly stated his intentions to cleave with full purpose of heart unto the Lord. The Ephraimites, slow to come to the rescue in the hour of danger, but swift to claim a place of honor when a victory had been won, have found many imitators in every age (Judges 12:1-2). There are always men who wait to see in which direction the current of popular feeling is setting lest they risk their reputation or their safety by taking a decided step.
Third, a choice has to be made between God and mammon. Our Lord declared that "You cannot serve God and mammon" (Luke 16:13). The Aramaic word "mammon" denotes riches or wealth. Here in this text, mammon is personified as a kind of god of this world. Mammon which was meant to be an instrument for the accomplishment of our stewardship is apt to assume the bearing of a master. At first it is the slave, the most obedient, until by constant trafficking with it and by taking it into the region of our affections, it becomes our love; and when it is the love of man, the consideration which to him is first, it claims self as its own. Mammon-rule, mammon-worship, is one of the most distinct features of the day, and few of us know how deep is its mark in our souls. God will command a scattering when mammon will urge to a further keeping and gathering; God will require spending on others when mammon or the world will urge a spending on one's own lusts. Therefore, the two lords having characters so different, it will be impossible to reconcile their services.
Fourth, men have to choose between Christ and Barabbas (Matthew 27:17). Pilate had great hope that the people would favor releasing Jesus. It would have seemed that when it came to choosing between a vile robber and murderer and a benevolent moral teacher, common sense would have guided the choice favorable to the Lord. But, their decision was to release Barabbas. Such decision was indicative of the people's hatred for Christ, and a sign of the people's blindness to the merits of Christ. This choice still has to be made today by each of us. "Not this man, but Barabbas" is still the cry of everyone who hates good and loves evil. What will you do with Jesus? It is you that is standing there with your sins. It is you that has been released. It is Christ who has died for our sins. Each of us must cast his/her influence either for the Lord or Satan.
Last of all, everyone must decide between two leaders, two gates and two ways (Matthew 7:13-14). Our decision will determine the direction we will travel in this life and also our eternal destiny. The term "strait" demands the best in life. This narrow way is the way of the cross, the church, the blood of Christ, the truth and the life (John 14:6). It is broad enough for all the redeemed, yet, it is too narrow for the way of the world. Few people choose this way to travel. The "broad" way is the choice of the majority. This is the way of sin, sorrow, death and eternal destruction.
The most important election in life is choosing between light and darkness, good and evil, righteousness and sin, the Savior and Satan. Each person must decide for himself/herself. The questions remains, "Who will get your vote?"