If you have watched any of the news this week you have probably heard of the uprising in Tunisia over political repression and severe economic issues. Some have taken it so far as to completely burn themselves in order to be heard. Tunisia is one of several countries in Northern Africa with less than 1% evangelicals and more than 99% of the population is considered Muslim. The radical action of the Tunisian people is a common factor in the Muslim world. Their willingness to sacrifice themselves for Islam is shocking. From suicide bombers in Iraq to rioters in Tunisia, the dedication is outrageous.
When I see this dedication I am reminded of Elijah and the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel. 2 Kings 18:28-29 says of the prophets, “They cried with a loud voice and cut themselves according to their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out on them. When midday was past, they raved until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention.” Here we see tremendous dedication and self sacrifice to a god that does not exist. After their dancing and worship there was no response. Not because their god was asleep but because he was dead.
The nations are crying out for salvation but their god is dead. They are screaming to be heard but no one will listen. Their sacrifices are tremendous but have no value. When we see the nations crying out it should split us to our core. But does it? Are we broken by their desperation? Listen to Elijah’s prayer later in chapter 18. “O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that You, O Lord, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again.” Can you hear the brokenness in Elijah’s voice? Can you feel his desperation?
As we know God answered Elijah’s prayer. Fire fell from heaven and consumed the altar and the people cried out, “The Lord He is God, the Lord He is God.” The people of Tunisia are crying out. They are longing to be heard. Let us pray with desperation for God to draw these people to Himself. May their cry turn from upheaval to praise.