On contentious issues within society, people generally line up in one of three groups: those extremely in favor, those extremely opposed, and a vast majority of non-committed in the middle. Out of these groups, the ones who drive the discussion and action are those who are seen as extremists, whether for or against. Those who comprise the middle-of-the-road (moderates) usually do not become heavily engaged, but simply “go with the flow”. The moderates may lean in either direction and lend support in various ways or express sympathy with the viewpoint, but do not generally make waves to any great degree.
This can be seen quite clearly in one instance recorded in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible–1 Kings 18 and 19, the story of the prophet Elijah and his contest with the prophets of the pagan gods Baal and Asherah. Read it for yourself. I do not have the time or space to tell it to you.
Human nature does not change. The group distinction I have laid out above is not unique to our time. It has been the norm for a long, long time, probably since the beginning of people grouping together and, certainly so since the dispersion into different languages at the Tower of Babel (see Genesis 11).
Elijah, working through King Ahab, brought the people of Israel together on Mount Carmel, asked them a simple question, and offered them a direct challenge. (Chapter 18, verse 21–New King James Version)
“How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him: but if Baal, follow him.”
Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? Here are two antagonistic viewpoints which are competing for your attention and support. Why do you dither between them? Why do you refuse to make a choice and set your course? Note that Elijah did not condemn them for their idolatrous practice of Baal worship. Neither did he laud them for their worship of Yahweh, the God of Israel. What he took them to task for was their refusal to make a decision. They tried to play both sides of the issue without any commitment to either.
There are three groups here. Elijah, an extremist on one side. The pagan prophets, extremists opposed to him. The people in the middle, unwilling to commit one way or the other.
We can see that today within the corona virus issue.
There are those who are pushing the narrative that it is a potentially existential threat to humankind. Everyone must wear a mask, submit to a lockdown, and give up their civil rights to destroy the pandemic. They are extremists. They are working hard to make their viewpoint dominant over and against all others.
Opposed to them is another set of extremists, those who refuse to accept this as true and see the virus as nothing more than a seasonal illness. They view face masks as ineffective and lockdowns as disastrous to society and the economy and will not accept that their civil rights must be abrogated for the salvation and security of society. They are extremists. They are working hard to ensure that the “official” viewpoint does NOT become the law of the land.
Between them is a very large group which takes the easy road of compliance: wearing of a face mask, social (anti-social) distancing, compliance with every rule the local Health(?) Board dictates that all should (must) obey. Follow the science. Trust the experts. Be kind, don’t be selfish. And on and on and on and on… Meaningless stuff. Worthless in the pursuit of truth. Devastating to the pursuit of liberty.
These people, the vast majority of society, will do whatever they are told. They may approve or disapprove, but it does not matter greatly to them. In order to avoid rocking the boat and cause trouble for themselves, they will comply. The term, “Go along to get along”, describes this group to a T and they will go to Hell if everyone else does. If it means that they have to go against the flow and stand out in the crowd, they will not do it.
“…broad is the way that leads to destruction and there are many who go in by it.” (Matthew 7:13)
Back to Elijah. It is revealing of human nature that when the question was put to the people, they did not respond. Nothing. Not a word. This shows that, even though they were aware of the struggle between the opposing forces, they did not want to commit to either side, probably out of fear that they might choose the wrong one and be punished for it. They were waiting to see which side was going to win and then, only then, when it was evident who the victor was would they proclaim their fealty. Only after the prophets of Baal had failed miserably in a very public way, only after Elijah had called down the fire of God which burned up everything in its path, also in a very public way, did the people swing decidedly to his camp, ready to do whatever he ordered them to.
“Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!'” And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there.”
In this story, the prophets of Baal went to extremes to make their case and emerge triumphant. They knew what was at stake and it is certain that if they had won, Elijah’s head would have been on the chopping block. Today, the Corona Masters are frantically doing everything they can to invoke the blessing of their god–absolute power–because they know that if the public opinion ever swings against them, they are finished. I have no doubt that these people are losing sleep out of the inner fear that comes from the knowledge that they might not succeed. The main problem for them is that they have committed themselves completely and there is no going back to start over. This is a do or die situation for them.
We do not have to travel that road. While it may seem that the battle is going against us, we can be confident that our God, the Lord Jesus Christ, will come through for us, eventually gaining the upper hand and the victory. Eventually, truth always triumphs over evil. Our faith and trust in Him is the first line of defense and the main weapon of offense we have at our disposal and we need to exercise it to the fullest. This does not mean that we can simply sit back and allow the action to develop. We have to put our faith to work because if we do not, we are going to be slaughtered, figuratively at least, perhaps literally.
“…faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:17)
Elijah won his battle in one fell swoop. His miracle happened on a single moment. Ours will take time and we should understand that there will be times when we will wonder about the outcome. Charles Mackay put it quite emphatically and it rings as true today as the day he first spoke these words.
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”
If there is one thing which is true about the current mess we are in, it is that society has gone insane in a massive, world-wide herd, but there are signs that we are starting to regain our senses. Slowly, one person at a time. Sooner or later, it will become evident to the masses that the power brokers, like the prophets of Baal, have shot their wad and the pendulum will swing.
No lockdowns! No mask mandates! No more! This is the stuff of decision. Make it.