And [the prophets of Baal] cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. – 1 Kings 18:28
They cut themselves. And not just a little.
You and I do the same thing.
Sin is a liar, and it’s always demanding more of you. And if you’re like me, you keep giving more and more of yourself to sin in pursuit of what it promises you. But here’s the crazy thing: sin never ever gives you what it promises to give.
The prophets of Baal in 1 Kings are a great example of this. For background, the prophet Elijah is going to settle the score on whose God is real, so he challenges the prophets of Baal to a sacrifice-off. Who can get their God to light a sacrifice on fire? The prophets of Baal go first and their efforts go like his:
Prepare the bull for sacrifice, call on Baal. Nothing happens.
Call on Baal a little louder. Nothing happens.
Limp around the altar while calling on Baal. Nothing happens.
Rage and scream, cut themselves in sacrifice. Nothing happens.
They started out preparing the bull for sacrifice. They wind up bleeding themselves. Gushing even.
At each stage sin offered them the promise that if they would give just a little more… then their false God would come and save them.
“Just a little more.” Sin whispers. “Just give me a little more, and I’ll give you what you want.”
But in the end, no one comes. Nothing happens. No one pays attention.
And that’s the hiss from the same sin we listen to everyday. It is making promises to you today that it will never keep. Can you hear them?
- Forget your family, spend a few more hours at work. I promise that will make you successful.
- Don’t be generous to your coworker, don’t share what you’re working on. I promise that’s the way you’ll do better than him.
- Work hard when the boss is looking, but don’t worry about it otherwise. I promise it doesn’t matter anyways.
- Skip time in the Word today, it’s been such a long demanding day. I promise you’ll be more rested if you don’t spend time with God.
What has sin promised you?
Control? Power? Approval? Comfort? Rest? Peace? Money? Stuff?
It will never provide those things. It can’t.
Sin always asks more from you and never gives back.
What false promise are you believing? What has sin offered you today at work? How has that gone?
The truth is that the things you are seeking have already been provided. They were purchased for you years ago. Don’t buy what sin is selling.