The battle of the Gods! What moves a god into action? Perhaps the god’s reputation is at stake. Moses reminds God that if the people of Israel die in the wilderness, the people of Egypt will think God led his people into the wilderness but then was powerless to guide and protect them. Moses’ real plea was not to be abandon. God acted. Elijah, on the other hand, calls for a contest between his God and the gods, Baals, of Queen Jezebel. On Mount Carmel it was one prophet facing 400 priests of Baal. Which god would rain down fire from heaven and consume the animal sacrifice? Baal did not respond to his priests but Jehovah did. How we long to see a God who demonstrates that he is real, active, and responsive to his followers in this world.
In our political arena today we are debating who can give us the good life, return a healthy environment, balance the budget, control global warming, and act meaningfully on the global political scene. Those are huge arenas that I suspect fall under the domain of God.
Grace Alone challenges our suppositions of what leads God to act. We believe it is not just to protect his name or demonstrate his power over the factors in our lives. Each morning as I watch the sun rise, I am reminded that God cares about the people on the other side of the globe even as he cares about me. His sun shines on the good and the bad. When rain falls I remember his concern for the earth and for all the hungry, not just me. When a sparrow flies by I marvel that the Bible reminds us that not one sparrow falls from the sky without his awareness and we are more valuable than they.
Grace is the word we use to describe a God who acts not out of interest for himself but out of concern for us. God did not need to prove to the Israelites or the Egyptians that he could lead his people. God did not need to prove to the Baal worshippers that he was powerful. But he did and we read about it so we can remember, we are saved by grace, by God’s actions, not by the wonderfulness of ourselves. We do not earn salvation but receive it with both hands, open and facing up to heaven. May we go to the polls with humility and may we remember who really controls our universe. Blessings.