1Kings 18:21 The Message ¶ Elijah challenged the people: “How long are you going to sit on the fence? If GOD is the real God, follow him; if it’s Baal, follow him. Make up your minds!” ¶ Nobody said a word; nobody made a move.

It was a lazy, quiet, sunday afternoon, at least it was until the dogs started barking. Now it is not unusual for my dogs to bark, but there are different degrees of barking. That afternoon silence had been interrupted by life and death barking, the kind reserved for the end of the world or a cat invading the back yard. I went to the source of the commotion in our kitchen and I saw immediately the cause of the excitement. There was a fence straddler dangling just a few feet from our kitchen window. The neighbor’s son was straddling the fence, you know, one leg on this side and one leg on the other side. His dad had him cleaning the vines off of the fence. To the dogs it was an invasion, to the young boy it was an aggravating interruption to an afternoon of video games, to me, a great sermon illustration. Nobody wants to be a fence straddler. It is quite an uncomfortable position to find yourself in.
In the Christian world, fence straddlers are the most miserable of all creatures. They are the ones abstaining from some worldly pleasures but indulging in their own acceptable amount. This position keeps you caught between two worlds. Not enough of the world to really enjoy, and not enough of God to satisfy your soul. Fence straddlers are miserable people. John Gill spoke about Elijah’s comments about people limping between the two worlds. Check this out.

“sometimes inclining to the one, and sometimes to the other: as a lame man in walking, his body moves sometimes to one side, and sometimes to another; or “leap ye upon two branches” , like a bird that leaps or hops from one branch to another, and never settles long; or rather it denotes the confusion of their thoughts, being like branches of trees twisted and implicated; thus upbraiding them with their inconstancy and fickleness; what their two opinions were, may be learnt from the next clause: if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him;”

Now before you get too concerned, all of us are fence straddlers to one degree or the other. We all have our accepted amounts of worldly pleasures that we deem acceptable behavior for a respectable Christian. You see we, of all people, have struck the right balance. The only problem with that is this, everyone thinks they have the proper balance. From the wine sipper to the occasional fornicator, everyone thinks they have a handle on the proper amount of sin allowable in their lives. But what if there was another source of pleasure? What if there was a life of surrender and spiritual indulgence that was greater than all of the pleasures in this world? If the Bible is true, there is a place of unspeakable joy. David sang about it, Peter preached about it, and Paul experienced it in a Philippian prison. When you taste this joy yourself maybe, just maybe, you will finally get off of the fence.


  1. Good word, I can relate to this maybe it isnt the major stuff always that chocks us off, it could be a little levan that gets in there but then if its left growing look out! we can justify it, it isnt so bad but wait, it grows, im thankful my wife catchs it or i see it in her, then we help each other get rid of it ive been in the hot seat so has she, in fellowship with our wives and husbands or being around our brothers and sisters the lord will bring everything to light, we exhort and encorage each other on to staying right with the lord and each other, I know none of us are perfect, we all fall very short but the lord isnt done with any of us and has love and patience, im so thankful for that!

  2. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall; All the king’s horses and all the king’s men Couldn’t put Humpty together again. Lol! Hospitals , kings , medicine , all these silly remedies etc. Won’t work ha ha , I can not wait for the day where in this messed up world that denies the Holy Spirit will experience a outpouring tapping into Jude verse 20, goverment insurance will be laughed at and mocked like the world does the Holy Spirit. One day~

  3. This is a Word for today. I can really feel the great Apostle’s pain when he said “O wretched man that I am”, the pull of the flesh can indeed be strong. But I can also honestly say there has never been anything that satisfied my soul like the Love of my God. Let us whole-heartedly pursue the One who loves us for when we turn our gaze on Him the world and it’s offering pail in comparison.

  4. I can remember having my legs like that at one time, never really sure what side I wanted to get down on. God side or the other. Wow, you brought back time. Praise Him for where He has put me at now. In His arms on the right side of the fence. I just have to say like I say all the time what an AWESOME FATHER we have. I Love you. Don’t need that other world anymore, I have found something truly, righteous, obedient better. My Father, My BIBLE. That’s where it is. The right side of the fence is Awesome. Blessings Pastor Frank. I’m following David , Peter, and Paul. Have a Great day…. Thank you Jesus.

  5. I started witnessing Jesus Christ to people as a person who:drank beer,smoaked cigars,and gambled! Then just as a cigar smoaker and gambler! After which as a gambler! Now as a person that does none of those thinks! Make sure my friends to read Ecclesiastes chapter 3 and take it to heart! We are all moving from faith to faith and glory to glory! When God took all of that out of my life those old friends seen Jesus Christ in me! Most assuredly!

  6. God and I have had many heart to heart talks about the desire to straddle the fence:
    I find myself not wanting to move in one direction or another, as I want to play it safe, hang back, ease into the comfort of sitting on fence, in an attempt to avoid stepping up to the plate, leading as I know I am called, all of which is just another form of pride.

    By the sweet counsel of the Holy Spirit I throw off the counsel of craftiness, and thereby getting off the fence and moving according to God’s grace. When I let go of self preservation I “let go and let God” this where the fence grows dim and find myself swimming in the river, jumping like a spawning fish…and loving God with all my heart!

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