The Lowdown on a Bible Showdown


          One of the most famous showdowns in history was the “Showdown at the OK Corral” on
October 26, 1881 in Tombstone, Arizona. On one side was Wyatt Earp, his brothers Virgil and Morgan Earp, along with Doc Holiday. On the other side were the Clantons and McLaurys. According to some reports, the fight only lasted about 30 seconds, but it left its mark on history and lifted Wyatt Earp to the status of western legend. They “showed up” for the “showdown” and then there was a “shoot out.”
          In 1 Kings 18 we have one of the most famous showdowns in the Bible. It is the showdown between Elijah and the worshipers of Baal. God had shut up heaven so that there was no rain just as he had promised to do if His people started worshiping idols—which they had been doing for quite some time. But now it was time to do something. God sent Elijah to deal with the problem and Elijah knew it was time to act. He challenged the prophets of Baal to a face to face confrontation and when it was over, the people knew who the true God really is. God answered by fire and Elijah was victorious.
          What can we learn from this “showdown”? One of the main lessons to be learned is that some problems have to be faced before they can be erased. There are some problems you can avoid, some you can ignore, some you might be able to put off, but some you must face head on. This is true when it comes to problems hurting and destroying our spiritual lives. We must bite the bullet. We must face the music. Wrestlers say “Get ready to rumble.” Boxers are told to shake hands and “come out fighting.” Alcoholics, those addicted to drugs, or any others with addictions must first be taught to face the problem. We must be willing to “show up” for the “showdown.”
          The children of Israel needed to be challenged to face up to their problem which was the sin of idolatry. God sent Elijah to challenge them and force them to take a stand one way or the other. And we must be willing to face up to whatever problem or problems that threaten our spiritual lives. As long we try to “straddle the fence” or “put our heads in the sand” this kind of problem will not go away. We cannot “waver between two opinions” like Israel was trying to do (1 Kings 18:21). We must make up our minds to hit the problem head on. Back in 60’s one of my favorite songs was by a group called The Lovin’ Spoonful titled, “Did You Ever Have Make Up Your Mind.” And, as the song says, sometimes we must “say yes to one and let the other one ride” and “it’s not often easy and not often kind,” but we know we “have to finally decide.”  It may be time for a “showdown” in your life. God may have brought you to your “Mt. Carmel.” If so, He is there to help you when you make the decision to follow His word. All you have to do is decide to “show up” for the “showdown” and God will “show out” as He did when Elijah made the choice to face the challenge.

Wayne Dunaway

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