Some choices are trivial and some have life-long and even eternal consequences.
Having choices is one of the gifts and responsibilities that God has given us. We seen it when God created Adam and gave him the responsibility to name all the animals. We seen it in the invitations of Jesus, to follow Him. We seen it in Joshua’s challenge to his hearers to “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15).
Having choices is a good thing. But with choices come responsibility. While all of us have the freedom of choice, the challenge (or the lie) that we face today is the mistaken belief that all choices are equally good; that it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe sincerely. We’ve taken the slogan meant for hamburgers, “have it your way”, and applied it to matters of faith. We live in a culture which likes to pick and choose what we are going to believe, even if if means making a selection from a variety of faiths and putting them all together into our own personal self-satisfying combination.
In 1 Kings 18 Elijah, the prophet of God, was having a bit of disagreement with Ahab, the king of Israel. They decided to hold a contest between their gods to see whose god was real. Each person/team would build an altar and make a sacrifice. Whoever’s god responded to the sacrifice with fire would be known as the true god. The 450 prophets of Baal offered their sacrifice, but nothing happened. They shouted, they danced, they even slashed themselves with swords and spears in order to get their god’s attention. “Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention” (1 Kings 18:29). On the other hand, when Elijah prayed to the Lord, God responded in a very dramatic way (see 1 Kings 18). Not only did God respond, but there were severe consequences toward the prophets of Baal. Who they chose to follow made all the difference in the world.
In an age when we think so much is relative, in an age when we think we can make up our own reality, do as we please, believe what we want as though we were making spiritual selections from a buffet, this lesson from Biblical history shows us that who you believe God is and what you believe about him makes a world of difference.
Each individual has the choice of whom they will serve, as they should, but we must never believe the lie that every choice is equally good. If the Lord God, the God of Israel, was fact the same god that the prophets of Baal worshiped – just with a different name, then there wouldn’t have been a problem on Mount Carmel. But the difference between Yahweh (the name of the God Elijah worshiped) and Baal is not just a difference in name, terminology or semantics. The two are worlds apart. Today, we need to be careful we don’t try to blend them, as so many are trying to do.
It might be a nice thought that all religions lead to the same God, that the only thing that matters is that you are sincere, but it simply isn’t true. Joshua said it best, “as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”.