arm Up: Deuteronomy 4: 23, 24, Be careful not to forget the covenant of the LORD your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the LORD your God has forbidden. For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Stretching: Read 1 Kings 18: 16-46
Run: I can remember being ten and thinking that I needed to work out every day. What ten-year-old has that thought? I kept a journal (Yes, the weirdness continues…) and I logged my work outs every day. I would count the number of push ups or sits up that I did each day and add them up at the end of the year. Each year, I would try to do better. In any event, I’ve been working out ever since. I think it’s safe to say that I’m addicted. It’s funny that I can say that and not feel bad about it. I rationalize it by saying it’s not like I’m addicted to drugs or alcohol; all negative addictions. I mean, being addicted to fitness should be a good thing, right? The problem with addictions is that something takes the place of God. The spiritual implication is that running or exercise can become in idol in your life if it controls you instead of visa versa. In the poetic language of Ross King, ‘anything I put before God is an idol; anything I want with all my heart is an idol; anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol; anything I give all my love to is an idol.”
In today’s story, Elijah is called to confront the King of Israel, King Ahab. Ahab not only allowed the worship of a foreign god within the palace, he also built a temple for Baal. In addition, he allowed Jezebel, his wife, to bring a large entourage of priests and prophets of Baal and Asherah into the country. The prophets of God had been hunted down and killed. Elijah had a huge bounty on his head because he was a prophet of God and Ahab blamed him for a blight of drought that was upon Israel. (Interestingly enough, Baal was the local nature deity responsible for rain, thunder, lightning, and dew. You would think they would blame Baal instead of Elijah!) So Elijah arranged a show down between the two ‘gods’ and the well known story unfolded on Mount Carmel. As it plays out, God was a consuming fire that completely engulfed the offering, the wood, the altar, and the earth beneath it. That is the nature of God: He is a consuming fire; a jealous God. In Romans 12:1, Paul encourages us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God as our spiritual act of worship, allowing the will of God to be the thing that consumes us and not gratifying the sinful desires of our flesh.make some space for the one who deserves it.
Cool Down: “Dear Lord, have I forgotten my first love? Have I been so negligent in my relationship with you that I’ve allowed something else to take your place? Show me the things that control me Lord, so that I may deal with them. Whether it be running, exercise, television, money, fame, success, or something else, help me to put things in perspective starting with my relationship to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
“ Clear the Stage” Words and music by Ross King, c2002 Ross King. Administered by Ross King.