Lip Service vs. Body Service

During the divided kingdom era in the Old Testament, Ahab was an extremely wicked king of Israel. In fact, the Bible says, “Ahab… did evil in the sight of the LORD, more than all who were before him. And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing… he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. Then he set up an altar for Baal in thetempleofBaal, which he had built inSamaria. And Ahab made a wooden image. Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God ofIsraelto anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him” I King 16:30-33 (NKJ).

God got sick of Ahab, Jezebel, and all their shenanigans, especially after Jezebel massacred the prophets of God she could find (see I Kings 18:4). Moreover, He was disgusted that the populace – the children of Israel– went right along with their wicked royal leaders, giving lip service to loving God, but giving body service to Baal, the false god, through their worship of the images. So God sent the prophet Elijah to Ahab for a contest up on Mount Carmel to settle the question, “Who really is God?” Once everyone was gathered, Elijah spoke these words, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him” I King 18:21(NKJ).

The Hebrew word (pacach) translated “falter” in this verse is translated as “waver” in the NIV and NLT, “hesitate” in the NASB, “not decide” in the NCV, and “sit on the fence” in The Message. Pacach literally means “to hop, to limp, and to dance.” The picture is drawn of a person indecisively jumping back and forth so as not to fully commit to either side.

Well, what happened after Elijah asked his question? The rest of I Kings 18 details one of the most exciting incidents in the Bible as God humiliated the prophets of Baal and left no shadow of a doubt about who He is – the true and living God.

My question for you is this: what is it going to take to get you to stop straddling between two opinions? What has God said that you just won’t believe and obey? In what areas of your life are you faltering, wavering, hesitating, not deciding, sitting on the fence, and hopping back and forth? Make up your mind. Stop giving lip service to loving God while your body service is attached to your Baal. As the prophet said, “If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” Just remember, to keep hopping is to have made a choice – you’ve chosen Baal, and by doing so, you’ve chosen the corresponding consequences. Think it through.


©2012 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at Also, periodically check in at to see what’s going on in the ministry.

And pick up a copy of Sharon’s new book, Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame, available at Christian bookstores, online, from New Hope Publishers, and from the Life That Matters Ministries’ website.

~ by sanewriter on June 5, 2012.

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