Last week we talked about the identity crisis that so many college students face their first 30 days on campus. Today we want to talk about another crisis…a crisis of faith.
This crisis is rooted in the exact same thing a crisis of identity is – believing lies when life gets tough or your conditions change. It’s a given in life that circumstances will change and life will get unpredictably crazy. But in the midst of the craziness of life, don’t forget this truth:
Your circumstances in life will change, but God never changes!
God is God, no matter what & God’s truth is truth, no matter what.
In a culture where you are being told that everyone can hold their own truth and moral relativism and pluralism is being promoted as the norm, we need followers of Christ who hold to the truth, who stand, and who do the right thing no matter what.
Tolerance. Compromise. Co-exist. These are words your generation hears a whole lot. You are told to find middle ground. But none of these messages change that fact that truth is truth, and truth never changes.
Today, I want to remind you of someone in the Old Testament who not only lived in a tolerance-driven society, but he stood for his faith in God NO MATTER WHAT. The story of Elijah can be read in 1 Kings 18.
A little background…
Ahab was the King over part of Israel. He was married to Queen Jezebel, who worshiped a false god named Baal. Over time, Ahab began to be more and more influenced by his wife to compromise his faith. Ahab built a temple and altars to Baal to appease his wife. And eventually Ahab, an Israelite, began to worship the false god of Baal! (Ahab slowly turned his back on the Creator of the universe, to please people by worshiping something created by people.)
The Israelites followed their King, and turned their backs on God to worship Baal also. God would not tolerate their disloyalty, so God sent the prophet Elijah to tell King Ahab that there would not be any rain, and not even any dew, until Elijah called for it. After many weeks, the plants began to wither and die. After many months, the drought dried up the streams and rivers. The lack of food and water caused animals to die, and soon death became imminent for the people. This drought lasted over three years. Finally, it was time for a decision…
In 1 Kings 18:17, Elijah and King Ahab meet, and Elijah tells him, “Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mt. Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” So these 850 false prophets meet Elijah on the top of Mt. Carmel, and Elijah asks them an important question…
Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent.
This is such an important question, because truth demands a choice. Elijah made them choose, but he also showed them what it looked like to choose.
Showdown on Mt. Carmel.
Elijah tells them to build an altar and put a bull on each altar. Elijah then states, “Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire – he is God.”
So the prophets of Baal prepare their bull and shouted “Baal, answer us!” Verse 26 tells us, “But there was no response; no one answered.” They continued to call out all day into the evening, “But there was no response; no one answered.” (Vs. 29)
You know, what happened here still rings true today. No idol (“Any person, pleasure, or possession that is more important than your relationship to God.”) will ever have an answer!
Whatever it is that you are putting your trust in and giving your affection to other than God, don’t expect them to have an answer.
Idols never have an answer. (They are cheap imitations of God’s best.)
God always has an answer!
So Elijah called everyone to come in closer, and he repaired the altar of the Lord. He had the people pour 12 large jars of water on the bull and even around the altar. Elijah then prays that everyone would see God exalted and Elijah as only a servant of God. Then the miracle happened. “Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.” (Vs. 38)
What incredible faith Elijah had. Outnumbered 850 to 1, Elijah created a scenario in which only God could be honored.
I wish my faith was always that big!
Why do you think our faith is sometimes so small? Perhaps because it’s difficult to trust someone you don’t know well.
Consider these two truths…
- The more you know God, the more you trust God.
- The more you know truth, the easier it is to spot a lie.
When conditions change, when the cost is great, when the crowd is doing something else… are you going to choose what is easy or what is right? Are you going to build your life on the unchanging truth of God or on a changing lie?
The whole reason we developed the Grounded for Life plan for students is centered around this idea. Our theme verse is Jeremiah 17:8,
“They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”
That is our prayer for you – that you have deep roots and are unwavering in your commitment to God, no matter what.
Notice the effects of such faith, “When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, ‘The Lord – he is God! The Lord – he is God!’” God always honors commitment to him and commitment to His truth.
So today, hold to the One that is truth and thank Him that although life in college will get crazy, He will NEVER change! Find peace as you live in that truth today!
Your circumstances in life will change, but God never changes. God is God no matter what & God’s truth is truth no matter what.
This devotional is one in Sugar Hill Church’s First 30 devotional series for college students.
To access the entire series & podcasts be sure to check SHC’s site each day,
as new ones are added daily.
(Who can you encourage today by sending them this devo?)