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19/02/2020 / Test All Things

A Study of 1st Kings 18:16-20

There were 3 ½ years of silence in Israel. God did not speak during the time of drought in Israel.
Perhaps you remember that for 3 ½ years it did not rain in Israel, or in any of the neighboring lands.

· God had spoken through the Prophet Elijah 3½ years ago; now he was silent for 3½ years.

· Now the scourge of God was felt on that guilty nation for 3 ½ years.

· Elijah did not have to speak: The evidence of God’s anger was overwhelming.

· God Himself was speaking through those barren fields and blistering heat of the days.

· God Himself was bringing this nation to its knees and be ready for repentance.

After 3 ½ years of no rain, God commanded Elijah to show himself unto the wicked king Ahab. Now, that takes a great deal of courage. Elijah had to show himself to the king who had been eagerly hunting for his life.

· But Elijah was BOLD. He had Jehovah on his side. He could not lose.

· We too can be BOLD when we proclaim the Gospel; then we know that God is on our side.

Perhaps you remember that when Elijah was on the way to Samaria, the first one to meet Elijah was Obadiah. And Elijah said: “Tell your master Ahab: Elijah is here.”

1st Kings 18:16
So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him: and Ahab went to meet Elijah.

1st Kings 18:17
¶ And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?

There are those words again “And it came to pass”. That is showing us that God is in perfect control of the situation. Ahab was just as much stubbornly resisting the power of God, as Pharaoh was in Egypt. You can apply to this situation in Israel the same words that God spoke to Pharaoh, when Pharaoh saw the mighty hand of God at work creating calamities in Egypt.

Romans 9:17
Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

1. But Who really is the Troubler of Israel?

Doesn’t Ahab see that it is the power of God that shut off all the rain?

Is Ahab blind?

As a matter of fact, indeed Ahab is spiritually blind. He cannot see that this is a work of God.

How can you make a blind man see?

You cannot! It takes a miracle from God to make Ahab see. Elijah’s answer was straight and piercing as an arrow to his heart from the quiver of the Almighty.

1st Kings 18:18
And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of Jehovah, and thou hast followed Baalim.

How could Ahab accuse Elijah to be the troubler of Israel?

Elijah was not a super miracle worker who could hold back the rain. But Ahab is comparing Elijah to Achan.

What an insult!

· Ahab is referring to Achan the son of Zerah

Perhaps you remember, when we went through Joshua, this title was applied to Achan the son of Zerah, who was stoned at the Valley of Achor: Achan had stolen property from Jericho, at the time that Jericho was destroyed by the Children of Israel.

Joshua 7:24
And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor.

Joshua 7:25
And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? Jehovah shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.

Joshua 7:26
And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So Jehovah turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.

You see, God not only hates Sin, God not only hates the unrepentant sinner, but God hates everything that Sin has contaminated. Very appropriately, the name Achan means “Troubler”, and the Valley of Achor means “The Valley of Trouble”. Both words Achan and Achor are nouns. The Hebrew verb is “Akar”, which is the English verb “to trouble”. You can hear how all these three Hebrew words have a similar sound: Achan, and Achor, and Akar. They all mean “Trouble”.

Therefore, when Ahab calls Elijah the Troubler of Israel, that is a serious insult to Elijah, the man of God. Ahab was comparing him to Achan the son of Zerah.
Achan’s secret sin brought trouble to the whole camp of Israel.
But Elijah’s answer to Ahab was setting the matter straight, and was piercing into the heart of Ahab:

1st Kings 18:18
And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of Jehovah, and thou hast followed Baalim.

· Who is a “Troubler of Israel” according to the Scriptures?

It is someone who has forsaken the Word of the Lord.
Today there are many people who claim to know the Word of God, who call themselves Christians.
But in actuality they are picking and choosing from the Word of God what they like, and sowing doubts on those passages they don’t like.
In actuality, “They have forsaken the Word of the Lord”; but that is not where they leave it.
They pose as religious teachers and are troubling the whole Church with their soul damning heresies. They are teaching that over time many alterations have occurred in the Scriptures.
They sow the seeds of doubt on the Word of God, like the Serpent did in the Garden of Eden.
And if you take the bait, if you believe what they say, then you too, like Adam and Eve, have forsaken the Word of the Lord. Then you too have become a “Troubler of Israel”.
That is why today we have so many versions of the Bible, and they are all saying different things.
And even worse: They are using a Hebrew and Greek text that has been altered, and they continue to change and massage the Greek text, even today.
Eventually you will not be able to find the Word of God any more; the experts have hidden it.
God forbid that we fall into that trap.

· Then Elijah says: “Thou hast followed Baalim”.

Elijah boldly tells the king that he is a Sinner ! Not an ordinary Sinner, but an Idolater!

He is worshipping Baalim!

The word Baalim is the plural of the Baal.

What was so attractive in Baal worship?

Why did the nations of Judah and Israel worship Baal for hundreds of years?

They already started that when they came out of Egypt and Aaron made for them the golden calf. Then they fell into Baal worship again when they traveled through the land of Moab.

They worshipped Baal again and again during the time of the Judges, for 360 years!

Then king Jeroboam introduced it again when he set up two golden calves in Bethel and in Dan.

And now king Ahab tops it off: He worships not only Baal, but also Asherah, the wife of Baal.

· What was so attractive in Baal worship?

I can see at least two reasons:

1. The word Baal means “Lord”. Remember that the Bible says: “Satan comes as an Angel of Light”. Satan is the perfect counterfeiter. He comes appearing like God, or appearing like Christ.

The name Jehovah was not pronounced by the Hebrews. We do not know when they started this tradition, but it must have started quite early. They considered the name of Jehovah so holy that they only used it in copying the Scriptures, but when they read the Scriptures they pronounced it as LORD. Everywhere in your KJV when you read LORD, all four letters capitalized, it is the name Jehovah or Yahweh. No one knows how to pronounce it anymore. Therefore, the name Baal (pronounced as Lord) seemed as if they were worshipping Jehovah. It began as a gospel that was so very close to the true Gospel, so that many were deceived.

That is exactly what the New Testament warns us for. The Lord Jesus Christ warned us for this when He was speaking of the end of time in Matthew 24:24.

Matthew 24:24
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

The Lord Jesus says: “They will come with false gospels that are so close to the true Gospel, that if it were possible, they would deceive the very elect”. That is how close the counterfeits will be.
And many will be deceived by it. Many!
Baal worship, in the terms of Matthew 24:24, began as a gospel that seemed so close to the true Gospel, that many were deceived by it.

2. Baal worship involves images and tangible evidence. Just like today, people want to worship the Lord, but they also want to have tangible evidence at the same time, like pictures, or like miracles, or like signs and wonders, or like speaking in tongues, or an altar call, or a water baptism that they can trust, and so on. People have a hard time worshipping God in spirit and in truth without these external evidences. Remember that the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and when God says that He is not only talking about the people before the Flood of Noah’s days, but also of the people after the Flood.

To the average person, the worship of Baal is far more exciting than the worship of Jehovah.

In a Worship Service where you worship God in spirit and in truth, you are restricting yourself to: Reading the Scriptures (i.e. God is talking to us), Prayer (i.e. we are talking to God), Congregational singing (i.e. we are talking to God), Offerings and Sacrifices (i.e. expressing our gratitude to Him). We also have the preaching of the Word but there you are very much at the mercy of the speaker: How do you know if he is bringing you the whole counsel of God? Well. This is how you test: #1, Does he preach the true Gospel, and #2, Does he bring the whole counsel of God. Not just one pet peeve out of the New Testament, but does he preach also out of the Old Testament?

What today is so attractive in Baal worship?

Well. There are spectacular things going on. Not just the cut and dried Service of God in the Spirit only. You can read it here in this Chapter, like dancing around an altar by many people who call themselves prophets, the more the better, there are blood sacrifices, there are a multitude of secret ceremonies one more spectacular than the other, there are images representing God, there is holy water sprinkled around, there are candles lit for every imaginable reason, they are wearing fascinating apparel (compare that with Elijah’s hairy mantle), there is lots and lots of gold, there is plenty of wine, and there used to be sex orgies which they now have replaced with juicy testimonies from people who seem to have repented from their sex orgies, but have not, and so on, and so on.

Let us get back to Elijah. Elijah told Ahab that he was a liar.

1st Kings 18:18
And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of Jehovah, and thou hast followed Baalim.

Immediately, Ahab knows that he is guilty. And he becomes meek as a lamb.

Now Elijah commands the king to take action:

1st Kings 18:19
Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table.

1st Kings 18:20
So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.

· Look at that: The king is taking orders from Elijah!

He knows that he is guilty!

Look at the numbers: 450 prophets of Baal who are preying (like vultures) on the people who intend to worship Jehovah, and also 400 prophets of Asherah.
The word “groves” is a mistranslation by the KJV translators. The 400 prophets of Asherah were also gathered at Mount Carmel, but we do not read much about them any more.

Why not?

Why was God ignoring them?

Because they belong to the Heathen “out there”. They always have been around. God is not concerned about the heathen out there, but God is concerned about the gospels that are preached in the church and that are so close to the true Gospel.
Then when all the representatives of Israel and the 850 prophets are assembled on Mount Carmel, Elijah approached the people, and he said:

2. How long halt ye between two opinions?

1st Kings 18:21
¶ And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if Jehovah be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

Here we see a dark, dark period in the history of the nation of Israel.

Elijah said to all the people: How long are you skipping between two opinions? You have been on the side of believing that Baal is god, but then you saw that Jehovah brought this great draught for 3 ½ years, and now you are still not convinced that Jehovah is God.

What more does it take?

How long are you skipping between two opinions?

Here we also see that this man of God, Elijah, was very practical. He sounds more and more like the Lord Jesus, who said in His Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 6:24
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

You cannot have two sets of standards for your life and hope that one of them will benefit you. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Who does Baal represent?

Mammon à Prosperity. Baal was the god of fertility, and through fertility they gained in prosperity.
Just like today, everyone wants physical prosperity. They will sacrifice everything for the sake of physical prosperity, so that they might have a few more creature comforts.

But what does the Bible say?

What does God say?

· No man can serve two masters.

One of them is a hard taskmaster!

One of them promises physical prosperity!

Which one is that?

The Devil is a hard taskmaster. He promises all kinds of things, but the end thereof is Hell.

How could the nation of Israel know which one to choose?

The people answered him not a word.
They could not! By nature they did not want Jehovah as their God. This may come as a shock to you, but by nature they were inclined to choose Baal rather than Jehovah.

You mean Israel?

The people of God?

The apple of His eye?

Yes!!! Those people! And so do we! WE are just as rotten in heart as those Israelites 3000 years ago.

· Who is the Master we do not want to serve?

In fact, the Lord Jesus told us that in John 6:44.

John 6:44
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.

By nature we find the true Gospel offensive. We are not willing to come to the Lord Jesus and follow Him. When Jesus said “No man can come to Me”, indeed He means “No man”. The Lord Jesus was talking to people about 2000 years ago as well as today. People are no different then from now. To make sure that we understand what He said, the Lord Jesus repeated that statement:

John 6:65
Therefore said I unto you, that no man CAN come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

Not only does the Lord Jesus say here that we are so rotten to the core that we do not want His Salvation, but He also says that if anyone does come to Jesus it is only because the Father has chosen that person; the Father has elected that person unto Salvation. To come to Jesus is equivalent to salvation.

Now, you might rightfully ask the question:

· Why is the True Gospel so offensive?

Why is it that no one wants to come to Jesus?

It is because people are born with inherent Selfishness. This is our nature. You can already see it in little babies. They cry for their own creature comforts. There is where we begin: Our selfishness.
Because of our selfishness we want to have a god who satisfies our selfishness, and so we begin with preconceived notions about the god whom we want to serve.

· Then someone comes along and says: “God is Love”. O, we like that! That is wonderful!

· Then someone comes along and says: “If you sin you will go to Hell”. How terrible!

We do not like such a God. That penalty is too great. Just imagine to be in a lake of fire forever and ever. No, that is not possible. If God is a loving God, then He will not send people to a place like that. No; That is not a God whom I can love!

· Then someone comes along and says: “You are a Sinner, not a small one but a Great Sinner, and according to God you ought to go to Hell”.

Well, I don’t have to take that insult! That is not a religion that I like. I find that very objectionable.
I don’t think I deserve to go to Hell. I think I am basically a good person and if I join this other Church over there, I will not have to endure such insults.

· Then someone comes along and says: “We all are sinners and we all are on the way to Hell. The only way to escape Hell is, if we are elected by God unto Salvation. Then God will send His Son Jesus Christ to pay for the sins of those elect.

Well, that is the limit. I don’t take this any more. This is absolutely ruining my self-respect. Am I worth totally nothing, even after doing so much good for the Church, and after contributing so much money to the Church. And my gripes go on, and on, and on.

Now do you understand why it is that no one wants to come to Jesus?

Their pride gets in the way. Their self-respect gets in the way. And so, they design their own gospel, or they search for another Church that has another gospel where they have a Jesus who paid for the sins of everyone in the whole world, and now it is up to me to make a decision for Jesus. That leaves my self-respect intact.

But what does the Bible say?

That is what matters!

John 6:44 says: No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.

The Lord Jesus was going to the Cross to pay for the sins of those people who were given to Him by the Father. He did that almost 2000 years ago. He did not go to the Cross for everyone in the whole world. What a pitiful Savior he would be if that was so. There would be people going to Hell for whom Christ died. What a terrible injustice that would be. But then people point to 1st John 2:2, which seems to say that the Lord Jesus paid for the sins of everyone in the world. But when you examine the Greek text of that verse you arrive at a different conclusion. We will talk about that in another sermon.

Think about it now: There are only three possibilities:

1. Either the Lord Jesus paid for all the sins of every person in the whole world.

2. Or the Lord Jesus paid for some of the sins of every person in the world.

3. Or the Lord Jesus paid for all the sins of some persons in the world.


1. If the Lord Jesus paid for all the sins of every person in the whole world, then everyone will be saved and nobody goes to Hell, because all their sins have already been paid in full.

2. If the Lord Jesus paid for some of the sins of every person in the world, then no one will be saved, because everyone will have to burn off in Hell one or more of their sins.

3. If the Lord Jesus paid for all the sins of some persons in the world, then some will be saved, because all their sins have already been paid in full.

Clearly, only point number 3 can be the true Gospel. But who are the “some”? And then this would mean that the Bible teaches Predestination!
This would mean that the God of the Bible is a totally different God than anyone could imagine!
And that is exactly right. God says:

Isaiah 55:8
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

Isaiah 55:9
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

This God of the Bible is not like Baal. This God of the Bible is far more glorious and far more merciful than anyone can imagine.

But how does the natural man react to this news?

1st Kings 18:21
¶ And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if Jehovah be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

· The people answered him not a word

They had not a clue. They had no idea how to answer this question from Elijah.

Can you see here the total depravity of mankind?

And this people ought to know better. This people have heard the True Gospel sometime, somewhere.

Can you see that without a miracle from God nobody can become saved?

The people answered him not a word.

3. Follow Him (Hosea 4:6, John 6:44, Jeremiah 17:5, Isaiah 9:6, Revelation 14:11)

Elijah said: “if Jehovah be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him”.

Elijah says: Your outward life must declare the inward purposes of the heart. Follow Him! Who should they be following? They don’t know! They don’t study their Bible, so they really don’t know.
That is tragic. The people of those days should bring up the interest is knowing the Word of God. Their salvation depends on it. We can also say that God did not inspire them to study the Word of God. They simply had no interest. But just like today, people have no interest in studying the Bible, and that is tragic. Their salvation depends on it. Since we are approaching the end of time we can see that God the Holy Spirit is not very active in instigating people to study their Bibles. The Bibles stay on the shelves. People seem to have more important things to do, such as watching their TV’s, or watching videos, or watching movies.

But what is God’s response to all this indifference?

God says in:

Hosea 4:6
¶ My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

To whom is God speaking?

God is addressing the Church, and God says: not only are you going to be destroyed for lack of knowledge of the Bible, but I will also forget your children. And that is tragic.

But remember, from Revelation 2 & 3 we have learned that God addresses the Church in a different way than He addresses individuals. When God addresses individuals, He speaks like He does in:

John 6:44
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.

When we are drawn to Jesus, we are drawn irresistibly by the Father.

When we are drawn to Jesus, we not only come to Him but we are drawn irresistibly to follow Him. It means that not only our salvation, but also our sanctification is in the hands of our sovereign God.

Pray to God that He grant us the Grace to be drawn to Jesus, and that our children also be drawn to Him, and that He keeps drawing us. Not for anything that we have done, but entirely by His Grace, by His Mercy, by His Electing Love for us and for our children.

Pray to God that He will have Mercy upon this Church also.

And what we see here in this story is the terrible condition of people who do not know the Word of God. They do not know what God said. They have not read their Bibles. They may not even know where in their house is a Bible. And so, they may not come to a conclusion. They do not know whose opinion they should follow. Here is Alfred Chompff claiming that speaking in tongues is a Satanic phenomenon. Over there is Greg Laurie proclaiming that speaking in tongues is heavenly language from God the Holy Spirit, and over there is Chuck Smith relishing in his “afterglow service” where people also speak in tongues, and the popularity of the tongue speakers is far, far greater than the people who resist speaking in tongues.

So whose opinion do we follow?

Does the Bible say we must follow the most popular opinion?

People do not know. But it is a decision between Heaven and Hell. It is actually not important what people say. What matters is what God says. God voices His opinion in the Middle Verse of the Bible. Some obsessive compulsive individual counted all the verses in the Bible and then he determined what the Middle Verse is. The Middle Verse is Jeremiah 17:5. And this is what God says:

Jeremiah 17:5
Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.

This verse tells us: If we follow Alfred Chompff, or if we follow Greg Laurie, or if we follow Chuck Smith, we are all under the curse. What curse is this? It is the curse of being unsaved, for we follow the opinion of a man. Our only hope of salvation is if we follow what God says. How can we know what God says? We must study our Bibles. There are no shortcuts. We may listen to our preachers, but we are obligated to check them out to see if they are speaking the truth. There are no shortcuts. And this is woefully lacking in our present society. No one seems to be willing to search the Bible to find where the truth really is. No one seems to understand that this determines who the real Jesus Christ really is.

But today there is no more Elijah to help us out, for we are near the end of time when almost all the world shall rally behind Antichrist, the false prophet. Today there is no more bolt of lightning from heaven to help us make our decisions, for God’s rule in the New Testament times is that we must walk by faith, and not by sight. Today there is no more Ahab and Jezebel on whom we can pin all the blame, for all the denominations have decided to abide by the rule: “Do not judge”. And so we are cut loose from all black and white decisions even though we know that God makes only black and white decisions; there are no grey areas where God judges or grades on a sliding scale. And even though all preachers seem to know that the Lord Jesus Christ came to earth to die on a cross for those whom He came to save, the question still remains: Where do we find this Jesus Christ whom we are supposed to love and worship?

Where do we find the truth about Him?

And then the awful truth hits home: There are no shortcuts! Our love for Christ shows up in our study of the Bible. Our love for Christ shows in our desire to fellowship with other saints. Our love for Christ shows in the time we dedicate to His service to reach other people with the Word of God. And make sure now that we worship only the Christ from the Bible; not the Christ who is a mixture of do-gooders, and not the Christ who is a mixture of pleasing words borrowed from somewhere else. The Christ from the Bible is a Wonderful Counselor, the Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). If your god is anything less than that you are worshipping an idol. But if your god is more than the Bible you are also worshipping an idol. God has given us a precise description of the Lord Jesus Christ. God has given us the Bible in which we can learn that Jesus Christ is not only the Son of God, but He is fully God. And if we deny that He is fully God we are worshipping an idol. If we deny that He is fully God we have no Savior, for only if our Savior is fully God will He be able to pay the full payment for our sins, and will He be able to pay the atonement price to the full satisfaction of the righteousness of God. What does this mean? The righteousness of God means the justness of God as the Judge. The word “Righteous” and the word “Just” are the same word, both in the Hebrew and in the Greek. And so, what are the consequences that we know that God is a righteous judge, a just judge. It means that God is absolutely just in His judgments and in His verdicts. When God says in Revelation 14:11, “The smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever,” even if we interpret this symbolically, we come to the conclusion that the penalty for sin is Hell, and Hell is something very terrible. We cannot say, “A good God would not cast people into Hell,” for we are not the judge over what God has written. According to God’s evaluation of sin, it is a just action of God to determine that Hell is a penalty that is a just penalty, and that it is a penalty that is right in line with the grievousness of sin. It is not a penalty which is much greater than the sinner deserves, for that would not agree with the righteousness of God, the justness of God. And so, all those people who conclude that Hell does not exist, are committing a grievous sin, for they are declaring God a liar in this part of the Bible. And there are many more passages which show that on the Last Day Hell is very real, because the Lord says so. And who are we to be the judge over which portions of the Bible are true and which portions are not true. We will be held accountable for calling God a liar. Our God is a righteous God, a just Judge. In fact He is an infinitely just Judge; there is no one in the world who is more just than He is.


By Alfred J. Chompff


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