One of my favorite stories in the Old Testament is the confrontation of Elijah and the prophets of Baal.
It has been years since Israel has been divided into two nations: Israel and Judah. Since the temple was built in Jerusalem which is in Judah, the worship of Yahweh was followed. Since the temple of Yahweh was not in Israel, the nation built one where they too can worship Yahweh. However, the problem with their temple is that it did not keep to the primary belief that there is only one God. The neighbors brought in their gods and the people of Israel put Yahweh beside these gods.
This came to a point where Baal became more significant in the lives of the nation such that the prophets of Yahweh were executed and this did not even cause a stir in the people. The worship of Yahweh was about to collapse because there were no more prophets of Yahweh in Israel. They were either dead or hiding.
Elijah then came and challenged this. He faced all the prophets of Baal and posed this challenge to the people of Israel, “If Yahweh is God, follow him. If Baal is God, follow him.”
When he confronted the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, Elijah knew the purpose of the confrontation, “so that the people will know that you O Lord, are God and that you are turning their hearts back again” (1Kings 18:17).
This was Elijah's role during his time. And this too was the role of John the Baptist during his time. He was pointing people to God and calling them back to him.
In our time, the call of Elijah and John the Baptist is still relevant. They call us to approach the Lord so we can know that the Lord is God. So that we can know how much he loves us and on knowing this, turn our hearts back to God.
I must admit that very often, in the mad rush to survive, I often forget that God is the only One who can make things happen. I often think and fool myself to believe that I can do things with my skills and qualifications. Very often, I make myself my own false idol. But the Lord is good. He constantly reminds me that everything depends on his pleasure. He constantly shows me that he is God and he constantly calls me to turn back to him.
This Christmas, may we realize that our salvation is a gift from God. We did not earn it. We did not work for it. It came in a complete fully wrapped package through a baby boy born in a manger. This baby is the fulfillment of God's salvation. He is the proof that Yahweh is God. He is the one who will restore us back to our original state before God. And he is the God who always calls us to turn back to him. Let this word of the people of Israel ring in us throughout this season, “Yahweh is God, Yahweh is God.” (1 Kg 18:39).
May we all follow his Way, and be led to his Truth so that we may have eternal Life in Christ Child this season and in the coming year. God bless you all.