This morning as I was wiping the “sleep” from my eyes, I began (as usual) to read some of C.H. Spurgeon’s ‘Mornings and Evenings’ devotional. What I was struck by was his exposition of 1 Kings 18, where Elijah has just famously called down fire from heaven upon the alter he’d built to God Almighty. Much to the dismay of his pagan opposition the fire actually came down in such a devastating manner that it is immediately apparent who is really God. The reader also becomes aware of the intense fear that is coursing through the veins of these former pagan priests (“former” because their life’s work has now been shown to be a fraud).
Once the contest was finished, however, these pagan priests remained…they weren’t licked up by the fire. They were just there, hanging around, and likely to go back into the countryside (or whatever rathole they came from) and perhaps spread lies and further trouble the country.
But God does not allow that, and Elijah orders his men to track down these pagan priests, these servants of Satan, and slay each and every one. Not a one is to escape.
There are moral implications for us, and Spurgeon brings those to light in his writing below. I hope you’re encouraged and challenged by what he has to say:
“Let not one of them escape.”
When the prophet Elijah had received the answer to his prayer, and the fire from heaven had consumed the sacrifice in the presence of all the people, he called upon the assembled Israelites to take the priests of Baal, and sternly cried, “Let not one of them escape.” He took them all down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there. So must it be with our sins-they are all doomed, not one must be preserved. Our darling sin must die. Spare it not for its much crying. Strike, though it be as dear as an Isaac. Strike, for God struck at sin when it was laid upon his own Son. With stern unflinching purpose must you condemn to death that sin which was once the idol of your heart. Do you ask how you are to accomplish this? Jesus will be your power. You have grace to overcome sin given you in the covenant of grace; you have strength to win the victory in the crusade against inward lusts, because Christ Jesus has promised to be with you even unto the end.
If you would triumph over darkness, set yourself in the presence of the Sun of Righteousness. There is no place so well adapted for the discovery of sin, and recovery from its power and guilt, as the immediate presence of God. Job never knew how to get rid of sin half so well as he did when his eye of faith rested upon God, and then he abhorred himself, and repented in dust and ashes. The fine gold of the Christian is oft becoming dim. We need the sacred fire to consume the dross. Let us fly to our God, he is a consuming fire; he will not consume our spirit, but our sins. Let the goodness of God excite us to a sacred jealousy, and to a holy revenge against those iniquities which are hateful in his sight. Go forth to battle with Amalek, in his strength, and utterly destroy the accursed crew: let not one of them escape.