Open Your Bible
1 Kings 18:1-46, Proverbs 20:22
You’re probably familiar with Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken,” which ends with these infamous lines: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— / I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference” (18–20).
It’s a work I’ve always loved, but I also have a few follow-up questions for Mr. Frost, like “Would you still feel the same way if the path less traveled had ended in a ditch?” and “If you’d gotten lost, wouldn’t you wish you’d taken the one more traveled by?”
I don’t know the answers to either question, but I do know that decision-making is hard. For every road not taken, there’s a path we regret choosing, or a journey we still long to take. And it’s mostly because, like Frost says, our choices really do make all the difference. (No pressure, right?)
As they gathered at Mount Carmel, Elijah asked the people of Israel to make a choice between God and Baal: “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him. But if Baal, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21).
Let’s take a step back here for a moment and remind ourselves that we have the unique privilege of holding the Old and New Testaments together as the true story of redemption. The Israelites did not. So while it may be tempting to focus on Elijah’s obedience or the Baal prophets’ doubt, there’s a much larger story at play here.
First, God gives us what we need to trust in Him. The Israelites didn’t need more research, proof, or signs; God had provided a means of knowing Him, and they just had to believe. Although, as decision makers, we are indecisive and imperfect, God is steady and perfect. He does not wrestle with or question His own decision making. He stays true to His character, and He is always on the side of both justice and love.
Things get a little intense in the test between God and Baal, but when Baal’s people call his name only to receive no response, it’s clear that God is the one true God. He answers not only with a display of power, but with an invitation for His people to return to Him. He is always calling His children back home. And regardless of whether we choose the path less or frequently traveled, we can rest assured we will not be choosing alone.