Devotion 364 – Monday of Pentecost 16

Opening Prayer

Lord, give us a clean heart and a steadfast spirit. Amen. (Psa 51:10)

Text: First Kings 18:17-21

Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?” And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and you have followed the Baals. Now therefore, send and gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him.” But the people answered him not a word.


Just as our Lord Jesus says to His disciples: “You cannot serve God and Mammon,” so Elijah says to Israel: “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him.” We are always prone to this unhealthy half-heartedness and vacillating, and what is written about it is to warn us all. The gods of the heathen do not tempt us, but more so the goods and power of the world; not wood and stone, but pride and hunger for power in earthly or spiritual guise; not Baal, but the golden calf; not prophets of the Asherah groves, but Korah’s company (Num 16). Wake up, believers; walk with sincerity and fear! It is to children of God Jesus says this, and it is to Israel Elijah speaks this. The hearts of the unconverted belong wholly and completely to idols, but yours should belong wholly and completely to the Lord. If riches come to you, you should be like the poor, and if poverty is your lot, then you should be like the rich.

If God gives you power and honor, you must become humble, yes, even more miserable, lying down in the dust before His feet; and if you are servants, your royal glory should show itself in joyful obedience and in praise and thanks to God. Don’t let the spirit of the world, which continually wants to enjoy earthly pleasure and capture the heart for corruptible things, have power over you, but believe in the Lord; hold firm to the invisible One as if you saw Him. Let Him be your God, that is: entrust yourself to Him with full confidence, rely on Him with all your soul, and never make flesh your reliance. Love Him with your whole mind, so that He is your highest good, your desire and joy, your heart’s king whom you wouldn’t leave for anything in the world and wouldn’t grieve or hurt for any price, and fear Him from the bottom of your heart; do not be so scared of anything as of making Him angry. Isn’t He the true God? Won’t He and can’t He care for His own? Isn’t it wonderful that He wants to have our whole heart and is eager for us poor, wretched human beings? Shouldn’t you who have begun to know Him and feel His life in you, be zealous against all idolatrous spirits that want to get into your heart?

Shouldn’t you stand firm on the Lord’s side with even holier zeal than Elijah himself? You know He answered with fire from heaven, and the people said: “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” You should offer yourself and all you have to the Lord, and He shall kindle you with a fire that is better than what He first sent for Elijah. It shall burn your offering and lick up all the water around it: you should use all your strength and reason in love, and nothing shall be able to extinguish it. But it happens so strangely: those who worship idols boast of the fear of God in their own hearts; they think they are their own savior. Those whose God is the Lord always lament before Him the idolatry of their own heart; their Savior is Jesus.

Closing Prayer

God, You know how the flesh and the world allure us and tempt us, how the spirit of this age wants to ensnare us, so that we easily are lured here and there and falter between two opinions. Save us, faithful God; let our hearts be completely and fully Yours. Amen.


Now show forth by your service
That God lives in your heart,
And not just in lip-service
From sad and empty heart.
Hypocrisy is vain;
For profit others using,
With show of faith abusing;
They only judgment gain.

True faithfulness do treasure
And serve your God while here,
Make Him alone your pleasure,
Of all things your most dear;
But if the world’s your choice,
Consuming all your thinking,
Then soon you will be sinking
And Satan will rejoice.

If God is your dear Father
Sure to rely upon,
Rejoice only and rather
Let sorrows all be gone!
What use is needless care,
For daily food to worry?
Our God in grace shall hurry,
Supplying blessing fair.

Brorson: Saa skal da Mammon vige L 523:5-7 tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune: Aus meines Herzens Grunde (ELH 259); alternate hymn: How fair the Church ELH 418


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