Even though I may roll my eyes when asked what growing up as a preachers kids was like, I am grateful for many aspects of it. Especially for the Bible stories I learned in Sunday school.
One that keeps coming to mind recently is a story between an arrogant king and a rugged old man know as a prophet.
These two very different individuals decided to have a contest to prove which of their gods was the TRUE GOD. A stone alter was built and piled high with wood. The god who would be declared the winner would be the one who would start the fire.
Ya gotta laugh at that.
How we humans feel the need to prove that we are right. These two took it even further, “let’s make god prove who is right.”
The king called all his wise advisors – it was a crowd. They all gathered together on top of the mountain and began their rituals of singing, dancing, praying, and shouting.
Our prophet man sat quietly in the shade watching the lively exhibition. After several hours he too got into the actions and began calling out things like, “Yell louder – maybe he can’t hear you!” And “Get more people marching up the hill – giant crowds always get god’s attention.”
After a full day of singing, dancing, praying, and shouting – nothing happened except there was a large group of people who were tired, horse, and defeated.
Then it’s the prophets turn. He got the crowd engaged by asking them to bring jars of water to pour over the alter. They were very accommodating and when they had finished dousing the wood, alter, and ground around it, they stepped back. I’m guessing the prophet instructed them to stand way, way back.
In contrast to the giant crowd gathering exhibition of the king, the prophet man bowed his head and whispered, “Show them who is the true God.” Then he stepped back, way back.
The magnitude of the flame that erupted engulfed the wood, alter, and ground around it – all from a gentle whisper.
God isn’t lost. He isn’t in hiding. God doesn’t need us to yell and shout and march – dancing is ok, but the rest is unnecessary. The only requirement is a believing heart and impossible odds, and then STEP BACK and watch the fireworks.