How Long Halt Ye?

Three years into a severe famine, Elijah asked King Ahab to gather his people. When they were all together, Elijah called out their tentativeness. “How long halt ye between two opinions?” he asked. “If the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him” (1 Kings 18:21).

In the King James Version, and in many other English translations of the Bible, “the LORD” written in all caps represents the Hebrew name of God: YHVH, or יְהוָֹה. A more literal translation would be “Jehovah.” So Elijah in this passage is asking them to choose between two named Gods: Jehovah and Baal.

At first, “the people answered him not a word” (1 Kings 18:21). But after a dramatic contest between Elijah and the priests of Baal, they were convinced. They fell on their faces and cried, “Jehovah, He is God. Jehovah, He is God.” (See 1 Kings 18:39, American Standard Version.)

Why is it so hard to decide and to commit? Maybe we like keeping our options open. Maybe we’re afraid that we will regret the lost opportunities. But not deciding carries its own costs. As Elijah pointed out, indecision wastes time.

After completing a mission to the Zoramites, Alma spent some time with his son Corianton. He knew that Corianton had some serious concerns about the gospel, and he took the time to address those issues. But then, he urged Corianton not to let these doubts stand in the way of positive action:

I desire that ye should let these things trouble you no more, and only let your sins trouble you, with that trouble which shall bring you down unto repentance….

And now, O my son, ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people. And now, my son, go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness.

Alma 42:29, 31

Today, I will choose to act. I will remember that indecision can slow me down and prevent progress. I will strive to minimize the time that I “halt…between two opinions.” Instead, I will make the best decisions I can and move forward in faith.

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