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October 9 – Divided hearts

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. – Matthew 6:24

Scripture reading: 1 Kings 18:17-22

Ahab pulls one of the most common tricks guilty people use. He tries to shift blame. “Not I,” said Adam, “but you, God, and Eve are to blame.” “Not I,” says Ahab, “but you, Elijah, you are the troubler of Israel.” Elijah rebukes him. He had simply announced God’s judgment; Ahab’s abandonment of God had earned it. Israel was experiencing God’s promise for disobedient people (see Deuteronomy 28:15, 23). And notice Ahab’s response. Not an outright rejection of the Word of God. He obeys Elijah and summons the prophets to Carmel. Having confronted the king, Elijah addresses the people and asks them why they will not give wholehearted devotion to their covenant God. They are wavering. They do not want to forget the Lord nor do they wish to reject Baal. They want both.

This is a temptation we all face. For a variety of reasons – fear, peer pressure, boredom – we don’t give unwavering devotion to Christ. But he calls us to. If we confess the Lord is God, which we unfailingly do, then we must follow Him. We must let nothing – money, pleasure, reputation – capture our affections. A jealous God is looking for exclusive devotion.

The Bible tells us the people did not answer Elijah’s confrontation though it doesn’t tell us why. What is your response to this call to commitment? Only the conviction of both the futility of other gods and the destruction of those who serve them and the surpassing greatness of having Jesus Christ as Lord will compel us to respond with, ‘We will take up our cross and follow Christ.’

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that the Lord would teach us His way that we may walk in His truth, that He would unite our hearts to fear His name (Psalm 86:11). Ask that God, by His Word and Spirit, might capture our affections by showing us the Prince of Glory so that we would gladly give our souls, our lives, our all.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. John van Eyk is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta.

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