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Elijah: Prophet Of Courage and Confrontation
Sermon 6
1 Kings 18:16b-40

INTRODUCTION

We have had the privilege of observing God as He trained a man named Elijah. We saw God bring him from nowhere, set him before a king and use him to strike fear into a nation. We have seen God send him through one trial after another to teach him total dependence upon the power and provision of God. We have seen the contrast between this man Elijah and others who claimed that they knew the Lord. We have learned much about this man. Yet, all we have seen Elijah go through was in preparation for the events we have read about this morning.

All the training, all the trials, and all the trusting have been to bring Elijah to the place where he could stand in the pure power of God and show a lost nation that Jehovah, not Baal, was Lord of all. The entire nation of Israel, with the exception of some 7,000 faithful people (1 Kings 19:18), had given themselves over to the worship of the false god Baal. Things were so bad that even the king and the queen of Israel were leaders in promoting the worship of these idol gods. However, God had not forgotten His investment in His people! He had not forgotten how He had chosen them out of all the other peoples on the face of the earth. How He had brought them out of Egypt and led them through the wilderness. He remembered giving them the land, the Law and the covenants of promise. He never forgot for an instant that they were His people and that He had plans for them.

Therefore, God had called, trained, and groomed a man named Elijah. All the preparation had been for just this moment. A moment when God would call the nation back to Himself. A moment when God would prove beyond all question that He was Lord and God.

For Elijah, this was an event that required great faith and courage, but he had been adequately prepared by the Lord for a task such as this. In fact, it was time for Elijah to prove that he was who he was rumored to be. It was time to put up or shut up. In other words, It’s Showtime!

We live in a day of half-hearted service, when people serve the gods of self, materialism, recreation and pleasure more than they serve the God of Heaven. The same mentality that drive the world today has invaded the church! God wants us to know today that He is still the Lord! He hasn’t forgotten the investment He made in us, and like He called Israel back to Himself on Mount Carmel, He wants to call His people back to Him today.

I believe there are truths in this passage that speak to our hearts today. Let’s dig into these verses this morning and see what they have to say to us about our relationship with and service to the God of our salvation. It’s show time for Elijah, it’s also show time for you and me. Let’s notice the truths contained in this passage today!

THE CHALLENGE EXTENDED (17-24)

ELIJAH CHALLENGES THE POTENTATE (17-20)

This meeting between Elijah and Ahab is an interesting one. Ahab is the king of Israel. He has chosen to lead the people of God away from the worship of God into the worship of a false God Baal. Elijah, on the other hand, knows nothing of compromise! He is totally sold out to the will of God for himself and for his nation. It is safe to say that these two men are not best of friends! In fact, some may wonder why Ahab would even allow Elijah to live at this point. After all, Elijah is the one who pronounced the drought that has nearly destroyed Israel and that has taken the lives of thousands of people. Why not just kill him and be finished with it?

Ahab has come to believe that the drought will not end unless Elijah prays for it to. Therefore, he must indulge this man that he despises so deeply. Let’s listen in on their conversation and glean from it.

A Confrontation (17)

When Ahab sees Elijah, he accuses him of “troubling” Israel. This word refers to one “who stirs something up, or causes a disturbance.” However, it also carries the meaning of “a snake or serpent.” This is equivalent to Ahab calling Elijah “a snake in the grass.” there is no love lost between these two men! What Ahab failed to realize was that Elijah was the best friend that Israel had!

So it is with the man of God! People will get angry when truth is preached from the pulpit. They fail to understand that when God’s man tells them the truth, he does so because he loves them and God loves them. The truth has the power to set us free (John 8:32). Therefore, people would do well to receive the message of God and deal with it personally. The man who tells us the truth is not our enemy. The man who tells us all is well when we are wrong is not our friend!

A Condemnation (18)

Elijah’s response to the accusations of Ahab is to look him squarely in the eye and tell him the truth. Elijah tells Ahab that the drought is really Ahab’s fault! Because he, and his fathers, led the people away from the worship of God and into the worship of Baal, God sent the drought to get their attention and to call their hearts back to Himself (18:37). In reality, Ahab was the trouble maker, Elijah was just the trouble shooter!

Why is it that God’s people forget that there is a price on sin? When we make wrong choices in our lives and wander away from God, why are we surprised when He chastens us? After all, isn’t that what He promised to do? (Heb. 12: 5-11; Rev. 3:19; Pro. 3:11-12) There always has been, and there always will be a price to pay for sin (Gal. 6:9). You never get away with it!

A Challenge (19)

Elijah commands Ahab to sent for the people of Israel, the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah (The female consort of Baal). Elijah even points out the fact that the king of Israel is using his own resources to feed these false prophets (19). Basically, Elijah is challenging these false prophets to a duel. They will decide once and for all which God will be worshiped in Israel. In verse 20, Ahab accepts the challenge and goes to round up the participants. It appears that the prophets of Asherah did not make the trip to Carmel.

Elijah the prophet spoke 8 times during this event and each time he spoke, he issued a command. Why didn’t someone kill him and shut him up? Because as long as we are in the will of God, we are invincible until the Lord gets through with us (Isa. 54:17).

ELIJAH CHALLENGES THE PEOPLE (21)

Now the people and the prophets have heeded the call of Elijah and they have gathered themselves on top of Mount Carmel. This large mountain, near the Mediterranean Sea has a large flat top that would allow such a great crowd to assemble. Once they are there, Elijah ignores the prophets of Baal and turns his attention to the people of Israel, God’s chosen. Note three aspects about his challenge to the people.

A Question

Simply put, Elijah’s questions is this: “How long are you going to waiver or vacillate between two ways of life?” These people were guilty of trying to hold hands with God and Baal. They were guilty of what many people are guilty of this morning. They wanted the best God could give them and they wanted what they could get from Baal worship. They wanted the best of both worlds! The words “How long” indicate that this had been going on for quite some time. So it is in the church. People want an assurance that they are saved and are members of the church, but they want to hold on to their sins too. They want heaven, but they also want to get drunk now and then. They want the Bible, but they want to curse when things go wrong. They want to be able to pray when they have a need, but they want to live life by their own rules and do as they please! That will never work!

Divided allegiance is as wicked as open idolatry! This is proven by Christ’s condemnation of the church at Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22). A person is either for Christ as he is against Him! We cannot be neutral! We cannot occupy the middle of the road! Jesus said it this way, “He who is not with Me is against me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matt. 12:30). Where do we stand in regard to the Lord Jesus Christ?

A Quandary

Elijah present the people with a problem. He tells them that they are being contradictory. If God is Lord, then Baal cannot be. If Baal is Lord then God cannot be. What Elijah is saying is that both God and Baal cannot both exist. There is room in the universe for only one Lord and one God! They are challenged to choose who they will follow.

This is the same challenge we face this morning! Many who claim to love the Lord are also holding hands with the world, the flesh, material possessions or whatever. This is a contradiction! Either God is the Lord or He isn’t. If He isn’t, then those other things you hold to must be. The bottom line is this: we have to make a choice! Who will we serve? Who is really the Lord of our life? We really can’t have it both ways! If we say we love the Lord and deny Him by our life, our actions and our activities, then we really don’t love Him at all! So, what’s it going to be for us?

A Quietness

When Elijah extends this challenge to the people, they just say nothing! This is just what we would expect from people like these. They are cowards and they prove it by trying to stay in the middle of the road. There are times when we can walk in the middle and be all right. But, there are times when we have to have the backbone to stand for that which is right against that which is evil. Anything less is cowardice! Many people think by being quiet and maintaining a low profile that trouble and sin will just go away. If that is our philosophy, then we are deceiving ourself! Sometimes life will present us with opportunities to shut up, more often, faith will present us with opportunities to stand up!

ELIJAH CHALLENGES THE PROPHET (22-24)

Before Elijah finishes, he presents a challenge to the prophets of Baal. He calls upon them to put their faith in their god on the line. He tells them “It’s show time!

The Teams (22)

Elijah is just one man against 450 men. Yet, he is willing to stand for God. Talk about courage! Talk about guts! Talk about faith! Where are the Elijahs who will stand against everyone if need be, so they can stand with God? We have to choose sides! Let us not fear the fact that we are outnumbered. Let us not waiver because it may appear that we stand alone! If we stand with God, we are never alone (Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5)! He is ever there and He will see us through all the battles. David (1 Sam. 17) stood when everyone else cowered in fear. Because he stood, God wrought a great victory!

The Terms (23 – 24a)

Elijah lays out the challenge to the people and the prophets. They will offer a bull and pray. The God who answers by sending fire from Heaven will be worshiped as God. Of course, Elijah tells them that they are to put not “fire under” (23). History records that often pagan altars had a dug out underneath where a priest could hide and light a fire, making it look as though a pagan god was responding. This was just fine with the Baal prophets. After all, Baal was the god of life! He was a fertility god who was seen in the rain and in the sun. They felt that he was responsible for life. Of course, Baal hadn’t been able to send rain for three and a half years, but surely he could send fire. The worshipers of Baal believed that he could be seen in the great thunder heads that brought rain to the land, but they also thought he could be seen in the sun itself. When they looked into the sky and saw the bright, burning sun overhead, they felt that they were looking directly at Baal. This was a contest that they felt confident of winning! Satan would have given them fire if he had been permitted to (Job 1:9-12)!

Of course, there were some in the crowd who would remember that Jehovah had also spoken by fire in the past. They might have remembered the burning bush, the fire on the altar of the Temple, the pillar of fire in the wilderness, the fact that God had consumed a murmuring crowd with fire, or the fact that God’s fire had lit the top of Mt. Sinai. Either way, it seemed a fair challenge to the people and to the prophets of Baal.

The Tragedy (24b)

The whole tragedy lies in the fact that the people are even willing to consider that Baal might be real. After all the things that God had done for them, how could they stoop to the place where they would even consider a contest of this nature? Imagine them expecting God to prove Himself to them after all He had already done for them and their nation!

Before we come down too harshly on these people, maybe we should admit that we are often guilty of the same things. When we allow life and all of its distractions crowd God out, we are as guilty as they are. When we come to the place where we wonder what God has to offer, then we are in bad shape. When we forget His blessings, His power, His grace and His goodness, we are in terrible shape spiritually. When we live lives that are substandard spiritually, we are guilty of asking God to prove Himself to us! When God has to compete with everything else in our life just to get a minute of our attention, let alone our faithful service, we are in sad shape spiritually! Do we see how it is possible to get in this position?

THE CONTEST EXECUTED (25-38)

THE CHALLENGE EXTENDED AND ACCEPTED.

Now the contest gets underway. As this story unfolds, let’s notice how things work out for those involved.

THE PROBLEMS OF THE FALSE PROPHETS (25-29)

The prophets of Baal get to go first.

Their Ministry (25-26)

From early morning to noon these false priests prayed, screamed and called on Baal, but no fire came down and no answer was given to them at all. They appeared to be wasting their time.

Their Mockery (27)

When Elijah saw their foolishness and the futility of what they were doing, he stepped forward and mocked them and their god. He said, “Surely he is a god! You better cry louder! Maybe he is doing something else and is too busy to help you! Maybe he left town or is out hunting. Maybe he is asleep and you need to wake him up!” Elijah is pretty rough on these old boys, but they deserved pity! So it is with this world around us. They are so foolish that they waste their entire lives living for things that will die with them. They spend their entire lives building a dream only to see everything vanish and be replaced by Hell when they die. God help us who know the Lord to love them, to reach out to them and to try to make a difference in their lives for the glory of God!

Their Misery (28-29)

Elijah’s mockery sent these men into a fit! They screamed, jumped, even cut their bodies in an attempt to get a response from Baal. However, the Bible tells us that there was no voice, neither any to answer, nor any that regarded! That last phrase means that by this time, even the people watching this spectacle had lost interest in what these false prophets were doing. 450 crazed prophets of Baal, prophesying, yelling, dancing, jumping, cutting themselves all in an effort to get the attention of a god that didn’t even exist.

A parallel to that are those people who live their lives in a frenzy to acquire and do more than their neighbor, only to die with nothing. They do it for their god: self. But, too late, they realize that their god cannot save nor can he give them happiness or peace. What a terrible way to live and die!

THE POWER OF THE FAITHFUL PROPHET (30-38)

After this pitiful spectacle, the faithful prophet Elijah steps forward. What he does teaches us about the ministry of faith in God and faithfulness to God in service.

THE PREPARATIONS (30-35)

Notice what Elijah did to prepare for this event. Several things stand out to us this morning.

1. He called the people to come near (30)

True faith, unlike false worship, has absolutely nothing to hide! We had better watch the group that talks of secret things and hidden truth! Do not be afraid to put Christianity under the microscope, it can stand the test!

2. He rebuilt an old altar that had fallen down (30-32)

He used 12 stones to speak of the 12 tribes and he did his work in the name of the Lord. The people of Israel had constructed altars to Baal, while the altars to Jehovah had come into disrepair. There are people here today who need to rebuild their altars! Are we spending the time in prayer that we need to? Not prayer behind the wheel of the car, but real prayer, where all distractions are put away and God has our undivided attention. How many would have to be honest and say their prayer lives need rebuilding?

3. He slaughtered and presented a sin offering (33)

A bull was used for the sin offering. The people had sinned and Elijah is offering a sin offering for the people. Elijah knew where the real problem was! If we are saved, the sin offering has already been presented and we have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus. However, what God wants from us is a sacrifice of repentance and confession (1 John 1:9).

4. He watered the entire business down (33-35)

Elijah wanted there to be no doubt that it was the work of the Lord. He was so certain that God would do this thing that he placed obstacles in the Lord’s way. There were 12 stones for 12 tribes divided through idolatry. He used 12 barrels of water to signify that these 12 tribes were 12 hindrances to the glory of God being revealed in them! Elijah’s primary goal was that God get every ounce of the glory! When that becomes our goal, we will see the Lord work wonders in our midst as well!

THE PRAYER (36-37)

The Baal prophets had prayed at least 6 hours and nothing had happened. Elijah stepped up to his altar and prayed. His prayer was constructed to accomplish three things.

  • That God be glorified.
  • That the prophet be vindicated.
  • That the people be revived.

Elijah could have prayed for rain, but he did not. Why? He knew that as badly as rain was needed, the people needed revival more! We may think we know what we need in our lives, but, in truth, the greatest need we have is to get exactly where God wants us and serve Him. That was the heart of Elijah and it should be our heart as well!

THE PROOF (38)

When Elijah finished praying, God answered in a spectacular fashion. Note the order in which the elements were consumed. If the items had burned from the bottom up, it might have looked like man did it. However, everything burned from the top down, proving it was the work of God alone!

God will honor the person who is sold out to His will! If we live by faith we need never fear the Lord letting us down! He will always come through for us! We must never underestimate the power of a totally dedicated life! If we are sold out, the Lord will use us greatly!

When the fire fell, it fell on the sacrifice and not on the sinners? What a picture of Jesus! He took our place on the cross and absorbed the wrath of God so that we might be free from wrath, death and Hell! What a Savior!

THE CRISIS ENDED (39-40)

THE REPENTANCE OF THE WAYWARD PEOPLE (39)

The people have their proof. They should have never questioned the Lord, but they did and He answered in a brilliant display of power and glory!

Their Conviction

They fell on their faces. Finally the people of the Lord are bowing before the Lord in humility! If we know that the Lord is God today, we should find ourselves in the same place that these wicked men found themselves. We ought to be humble and prostrate before the Lord our God! He is worthy of our love, our devotion and our praise!

Their Confession

They voice the truth that they have known in their hearts all the while. “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” By their actions and their acknowledgment, they declare His glory, His place and their reverence for Him. Their hearts now burned with a new zeal for the Lord!

We should find ourselves often in the place where we are laid out before him in praise, honor and worship! How long has it been since we found ourself in the presence of God for no other purpose than just to love Him and to worship Him? If it has been a while, let no more time pass! Honor Him as He deserves to be honored!

THE REMOVAL OF THE WICKED PROPHETS (40)

After all was done and settled, Elijah took the prophets of Baal down to the brook Kishon and killed them all. Some people read this and they are offended that all of these men were killed. However, Elijah simply did what had to be done! Why? Well, like a cancer that will destroy its host unless it is dealt with, these Baal prophets were destroying Israel and they had to go. Another reason was that Elijah was simply doing what the Lord had commanded in the Law, “But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.” (Deut. 13:5). There is no greater crime against humanity than to lead men to a Christless grave!

As we examine our lives this morning, are there areas that we have allowed to become soft spiritually? Maybe it is our devotional life, or our witnessing life, or our church life, or our praise life, or any number of things. Maybe we have allowed some sin to creep into our life and we are hindered in our walk with God. We know where we stand today and what we need to do is to come before the Lord this morning and put those things to death! But, if we are thinking of doing that, be forewarned that it requires great courage and stamina!

CONCLUSION

Do we really need to challenge the Lord to prove that He is God today? Do we need to set up a trial and ask God to jump through hoops for us? Maybe if He did, then we would serve Him! However, it would be far better for God’s people, who claim to love Him anyway, to just come before Him and confess their sins, render their thanks, offer their praise and love Him.

We may be like the prophets of Baal. We might not even be saved today. One day there will come a time when we will be led away and sent to the second death in Hell. Is that what we want? If the Lord is drawing us to come to Him, please come and receive Him into our life.

Whatever the need, God is waiting to do business with all those who will come on His terms. Will we?

Elijah: The Prophet Of Courage And Confrontation
Sermon 5
1 Kings 18:1-16

Introduction

  1. After a three year period of being hidden away from public view, first by the Brook Cherith and then at Zarephath, Elijah is brought back into the spotlight. When he first appeared before the throne of king Ahab and announced the drought, he was a man of faith. However, as he passed through the trials of the dried brook, the empty meal barrel and the dead son, Elijah was transformed into a man of God.
  2. He is a man wholly dedicated to the Lord God! As he reenters the public eye, Elijah’s first encounter is with a fellow believer by the name of Obadiah. While both are believers, the contrast between these men is striking! Elijah is seen to be a faithful servant of God, while Obadiah is pictured as a mere hireling, that is, one who gives lip service to God, but by his life he denies the God he claims to serve.
  3. Sadly, there are many people like Obadiah in the modern church. People who talk about being saved and who claim to love the Lord, but who by the lives they live deny Him, His power and His presence in their lives. This is as Paul said it would be in the last days, “having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away” (2 Tim. 3:5). However, it does not have to remain that way!
  4. I would like for us to listen in on this encounter between Elijah and Obadiah. In this passage, we will meet a hireling and a servant. In fact, we may even meet ourselves this morning. If we find that we are more like Obadiah than we are like Elijah, may God give us grace to change today. Let’s notice The Hireling And The Servant.

Elijah’s Surrendered Service (1 Kings 18: 1-2)

  1. The Commander

    After all this time, Elijah is still serving the Lord! All the trials and difficulties he has had to endure have not dulled his sense of service to God Almighty. They have not made him feel as though God has let him down. Just the opposite is true! Elijah has been honed by his afflictions into an instrument of power and ability. He is still serving God and is more than ready for the task which lies ahead. This is a man committed to serving God with his whole being! Surely we have learned by now that God allows the trials that come into our lives so that He might help us to grow into His image (Rom. 8:28; Eph. 4:13). Of course, when the trials of life come, we can respond in one of two ways. We can allow the trials to bring us closer to God, or we can allow the trials to drive us away from God! May the Lord help us to be like Elijah, who walked through the valley and came out the other side still praising the name of the Lord! Some folks just need to get it settled in their hearts who they really serve anyway! Sadly, many are in love with self more than they are with the Savior! So who is the Lord of our life? Can we honestly say this morning that God is on control? Or, would we have to admit that, for the most part, we call the shots in our life? Who is our commander today?

  2. The Command

    The command from God is for Elijah to come out of hiding and present himself to his arch enemy Ahab. For Elijah, this may have been a more difficult command than the one to hide himself (1 Kings 17:3). After all, the nation of Israel has been in a drought for over three years! Thousands have died as a result! Starvation is rampant, poverty is all around, people are angry and Elijah is the man God used to announce the drought (1 Kings 17:1). The call to “hide yourself” came at a time when the flesh wanted to show itself. The command to “show yourself” came when there was every reason not to want to. Yet, God’s command is to show yourself.

    There are times when God’s commands just don’t make sense from a human perspective. But God’s ways are not our ways (Isa. 55:8-9). If we were in a position to figure God out, He wouldn’t be much of a God! When you can’t trace God, just trust Him, He knows what He is doing!

  3. The Comfort

    Elijah may not know all the details, but he is reminded that God is still in control. God promises Elijah that if he will present himself to Ahab, that rain will come again. Basically, God is telling Elijah, “Things are going to work out!” Where God leads, He always promises His provision and His presence. He will not leave us out there alone. We do not always know what God is doing. However, when God gives a command, He is ready with whatever provisions necessary to see that we are able to carry it out. God’s commands are always accompanied by God’s provisions! Regardless of how large or impossible the task may seem, God is always there and He is ready with His promise of victory and provision. Notice:
    (a) Abraham (Genesis 12:1-2)
    (b) Moses (Exodus 3-4 (Ex. 4:12)
    (c) His Disciples (Matthew 28:19-20) 

  4. The Compliance

    Did you know that nothing reveals the truth of our love for God any more clearly than our obedience to Him? We can say anything we wish to say, but we prove we love the Lord when we cheerfully obey the commands He has given us (John 14:15). In fact, obedience to the Lord’s commands carries with it a special promise (John 14:21). What do our actions reveal about our heart? What does our obedience say about our love for the Lord God this morning? Elijah was a man totally surrendered to God. When God’s command came, he responded by faith. When he didn’t understand, he simply obeyed. This is the kind of heart and attitude God is seeking. This is the kind of life God can and will bless! Elijah’s response reveals his heart for God. He didn’t need all the details, he just needed God to give him a command and he was ready to obey! Elijah’s obedience to the Father sets the standard that all God’s children should strive to reach! Elijah is surrendered to the Lord. When God speaks, he moves! Elijah does not object, point out the difficulties or try to reason with God. When God speaks, he moves. God’s call is enough to spur the prophet into action. 

Obadiah’s Secret Service (1 Kings:18:3-6)

  1. In these verses we are introduced to a man named Obadiah. He is a man of great contradictions. On the one hand, the Bible tells us that he “feared the Lord greatly“. On the other hand, we find him challenging God and the prophet. He is a man who cannot be totally exonerated nor can he be totally condemned. He is a mixture of good and evil. He is a glaring example of a selfish, self-centered believer. He can teach us much about how we should not be. Sometimes a negative example can be very powerful!
  2. His Sovereign (3)

    Elijah is sold out to the Lord God, but Obadiah is sold out to Ahab. This verse tells us that he is “governor” of Ahab’s house. This means that Obadiah was the man who ran things around the palace. Some historians believe that he was second in command to Ahab. Obadiah occupied a high position in the court of Israel. When he is met by the prophet Elijah, notice what Elijah says to Obadiah in verse 8, “Go, tell your Master …” While Elijah is clearly a servant of God, Obadiah is identified as a servant of Ahab.

    Obadiah is a believer living a life of compromise. He is one who knows the Lord, but because of power, prosperity or position, he has chosen to keep his faith a secret. He has sold out for personal gain! How we live our life will determine who is the Lord of our lives!

  3. His Secret (4)

    Obadiah holds a high position in the court of Ahab. He is in a position that requires trust and faithfulness, but Obadiah has a secret. Actually he has two secrets, that if Ahab knew, would have meant death for Obadiah. Let’s find out what those secrets are.

  4. His Devotion (4)
    The Bible tells us that Obadiah is a closet believer! He believes in God and fears Jehovah, but he isn’t about to tell anyone. After all, Jezebel is actively engaged in eliminating the prophets of God (4). If he were to stand up and declare his faith in God, he would be killed on the spot. While he did not let his true faith become known, it also appears the Obadiah did not bow to Baal either.

    His Deeds (4)
    When Jezebel began to exterminate the prophets of God, Obadiah took 100 of them and hid them in caves. This was a deed that required great courage, effort and expense on the part of Obadiah. For this he is to be commended! If Jezebel had gotten wind of what he had done, he would have surely been killed!

    It is clear that Obadiah has a few positive marks on his record. However, it is sad when people serve God in secret! It is a shame when those who know the Lord sell out to the world, the flesh and the devil. How many of us are guilty of the very same things? Because of a desire to fit in with the crowd, because of a job, or to keep a friend, we have chosen to keep silent about what we really believe. Far too often, God’s children join the secret service. They conceal their faith in God to save face with men. That is a tragedy of the highest magnitude! When we consider what Jesus suffered to redeem our souls from Hell, how could we be ashamed to be identified with Him (Rom. 10:11)? Notice Mark 8:38, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

    When I think of Obadiah, one word comes to mind: Compromise! Obadiah has chosen to live his life somewhere between God and the world. He has chosen a position that forces him to conceal who he really is. He has chosen to hide his faith in God to protect his life, satisfy his greed, exalt his own name and secure his position. He has done what millions are doing today. Many are wilfully hiding their faith in God and the biblical convictions to please a world that does not know God. They do this for the same reason that Obadiah did it. They do not want to stand out from the crowd and be labeled different! Even when Christians aren’t guilty of committing sins with their bodies, they sin by not abstaining from the very appearance of evil (1 Thes. 5:22). This sin is as wicked as any that can be committed by the believer! Give this world no reason to doubt our faith in God! May God help us all to realize that we are different (2 Cor. 5:17). We are peculiar (Titus 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:9). We are not supposed to fit in because this is not our world! We are merely pilgrims and strangers passing through on our way to Heaven (1 Pet. 2:11). Let us never, never, never be guilty of concealing our faith in God! Let us boldly stand beneath the blood stained banner of the Lord Jesus Christ and boldly declare our faith in and allegiance to Him, without fear and without compromise! Not everyone will appreciate us if we take a stand for God, but God will honor our obedience to Him! After all, who would we rather please, a few people that we spend a few years with, or God with whom we will spend eternity? Remember what Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24). This thought was echoed by the Apostle John, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world − the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life − is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15-17.)

  5. His Service (5-6)

    In these two verses, we find Obadiah actively involved in service to Ahab. Basically, Obadiah is guilty of two great errors.

    First, he is employed by the wrong people.
    He is in a job that requires him to compromise his beliefs so that he can keep it.

    Secondly, he is engaged in the wrong activity.
    Notice that Ahab and Obadiah seem to have no concern for the starving people of the land. They are out looking for grass to feed some horses. That shows a lack of compassion! Besides that, Obadiah is helping Ahab to do something that was forbidden by the Law of God. The kings of Israel were not allowed to keep horses (Deut. 17:16). Obadiah’s actions stand in marked contrast to those of Elijah. You see, Obadiah was busy looking for grass to save a bunch of nags, Elijah was looking for God to save a nation!

    God demands that we separate from the world, and from all things that are evil (2 Cor. 6:17). Surely Obadiah thought that he was doing the right thing. He thought he could serve God in that position. However, what ended up happening is that Obadiah found himself pulled into a life of compromise and powerlessness before God. That is always the case! We might think we can lift the world around us by being involved in it. The opposite is true! We will not improve the world, but the world will eventually drag us down to its level (1 Cor. 15:33). Remember the lesson of Lot, (2 Pet. 2:7-8). He did not improve Sodom, but he was sucked into its web and he lost his family as a result (Gen. 13-19). Obadiah found himself in a position where he was in direct disobedience to the Lord. He was guilty of helping sinners commit sin against God and he was reduced to the place of a hireling. He may have known God, but he knew nothing of the power of God!

Obadiah’s Selfish Service (1 Kings 18:6-17)

  1. These verses tell of the meeting between the hireling and the servant. Here Ahab’s boy meets God’s man and what a contrast there is between the two. Let’s look for a few moments at Obadiah’s selfish service.
  2. Obadiah’s Identification Of Elijah (7)

    By his dress and by the fact that he had probably seen Elijah before, Obadiah recognizes the man of God when they meet in the way. Obadiah is quick to show reverence to the man of God, but no one else is around to see it! That is always the way of the compromiser!

  3. Obadiah’s Indictment Of Elijah (8-9)

    Elijah sends Obadiah to tell Ahab that he has returned. Obadiah knows where Ahab is, he is his servant and so he should go to find him. However, he responds by pointing his finger at Elijah and accuses Elijah of trying to get him killed! His reverence to the prophet in verse 7 meant nothing! His accusation in verse 9 revealed the true character of his heart! He had no respect for the man of God and his mission of the word of God at all! The same is true for those who place themselves and the world before the Lord. They have no respect for the things of God, regardless of what they may say! Those who love the Lord will honor Him actively, obeying Him and responding in faith and not doubt. When a person responds to the command of God with doubt, accusation and resistence, it reveals that they are not in love with the God they claim to serve. It proves that there is a problem in their heart!

  4. Obadiah’s Indiffence Toward Elijah (9-14)

    In these verses, Obadiah begins to offer up one excuse after another as to why he cannot do what Elijah is telling him to do. These excuses reveal the hypocrisy that is hiding in his heart. No matter how hard we may try to hide it, what is on the inside of us will eventually make its way to the surface of our lives (Luke 6:45; Matt. 15:17-20). Let’s dissect this man’s excuses and see if they hold water!

    His Personal Fears (9, 12, 14)

    His first objection is that if he does this thing, he will be put to death for it. Apparently, he does not believe that God has the ability to protect him from Ahab.

    If we ever come to the place where we start to believe that God cannot take care of us, we need to check up! It may be that we have stopped trusting God and have started looking to other sources to meet our needs. This is always an indication of sin in the heart!

    His Pathetic Faithlessness (10-12)

    He tells Elijah that Ahab has looked for him in every country around Israel. He has made the kings of those lands take an oath that they do not know where he is. He even questions the faithfulness of God in verse 12. He has been so indoctrinated into baalism that he has come to believe that God is no better than Baal. He doesn’t even believe that God will honor His own Word. He has no faith in God, God’s Word or God’s man! He has been brought to a place where his faith is shattered!

    When we reach this place in our spiritual lives, we are in serious trouble! When adopt the idea that God is unable to do what He has promised and we lose faith in Him and His Word, that is a sure sign that we are out of God’s will and need to repent and seek His face!

    His Past Fruit (13)

    In this verse, he takes the position that he is too good for the job Elijah is suggesting. After all, why would God or the prophet risk losing a man with his connections? Doesn’t God think that Obadiah has done enough already? Obadiah seems to be living on his past works. Maybe he feels that being right with God and serving God in the past is enough to make up for being backslidden today!

    When we come to the place in our spiritual life where we have to point back at what we used to do, instead of being able to see what we are currently doing, we are in deep spiritual trouble. Don’t fall into the trap that claimed Obadiah! Serve God in the here and now, not the then and when!

  5. Obadiah’s Indulgence Of Elijah (15-16)

    At Elijah’s insistence, Obadiah reluctantly agrees to go find Ahab and tell him the news. As Obadiah walks away, he is never heard from again. Did Ahab kill him as he feared? Probably not! Most likely, he simply faded back into the woodwork and continued to live his live of compromise and disobedience. His is a life that could have been greatly used of the Lord, but because of his reluctance, his lack of faith and his compromise with the world, he was a man who never amounted to much for the glory of God. Later in this same chapter, Elijah is all alone when he confronts Ahab and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. If Obadiah had been all he claimed to be, he would have been right there with the man of God!

    We had better watch those people who have to tell us that they love the Lord! If they have to tell us it is usually because they cannot show us! Usually those who boast the loudest about their love for God, His church and His work are those who do the least! If they love the church, they won’t have to tell us, we will see it in their attendance! If they love the Lord, they won’t have to tell us, they’ll show us by the life they live! Our walk matches our talk.

Conclusion

  1. Are we a hireling, or are we a servant of God? Do we talk too much, or are we really living out what we claim to be with our lips? If we were really honest, would we have to say that we are more like Elijah, who did the will of God obediently, or that we are more like Obadiah, who made excuses and lived a life of compromise? Who describes us best?
  2. If God is dealing with our heart about salvation, service or total surrender, the place to get it settled is right now! Will we mind the Lord as He speaks to our heart today?

Elijah: The Prophet Of Courage and Confrontation
Sermon 4
1 Kings 17:17-24

Introduction
  1. Elijah is a recent graduate from Dry Brook University. There he learned to depend upon the Lord for all his provisions and not upon himself. It was there, by the brook Cherith, in the wilderness, that Elijah had his flesh broken.
  2. As soon as that trial of faith was past, Elijah finds himself enrolled in Empty Barrel Graduate School. While there, he has his pride broken as he must trust the Lord to provide for a widow, who in turn provides for the prophet.
  3. It seems that Elijah’s life is marked by one trial after another. Someone who did not know any better might start to think that Elijah is being punished for something.
  4. But the Bible teaches us a different truth. God isn’t correcting His prophet, He is perfecting Him.
  5. God is teaching Elijah lessons that can be learned in no other fashion than through trial and difficulty. It is in the storms of life that we learn God can walk on the waves. It is in the valleys of life that we learn that He is the Lily of the Valleys. Sometimes we must go through the fires of life to find out that He will go with us every step of the way.
  6. These are the things Elijah is learning and they will serve him well in the very near future. God is preparing Elijah to stand for Him in very powerful way.
  7. In our text today, the prophet faces another difficult trial of faith. In a sense, Elijah is getting some on the job training from the Lord. Let’s look into on this poignant scene of tragedy and triumph and learn, along with Elijah, the valuable lessons that are learn during On The Job Training.

Elijah’s Test (1 Kings 17:17-18 )

  1. A Dead Person

    This boy who had been so miraculously fed by divine providence is suddenly cut off and dies. It must have seemed like a great contradiction to the widow and to the prophet.

    God’s way do not always make sense from a human perspective (Isa. 55: 8-9). Yet, even when the Lord’s ways don’t make sense, we can trust Him.

    When He does what we think is contradictory and unusual, it is merely to open the door for Him to reveal Himself in a new and powerful way. Therefore, regardless of the problem or the trial, simply learn to walk with our eyes on the Lord. Trust Him and He will take care of every situation (Psa. 37: 5).

  2. A Distraught Parent

    Evidently this is the only son this poor widow woman had. Certainly she had pinned all of her hopes for the future on him. No doubt she was looking to the day when he would arrive at manhood and would provide for her upkeep. She probably expected to be with her son for many years to come. However, now her dreams are shattered and she is devastated and grief stricken. Her heart is broken and her world is shattered.

    She knew the drought was coming (v. 9) but she did not know death was coming (v. 17). She was prepared for one, the other caught her totally off guard!

    She is placing blame everywhere. She blames Elijah for bringing the judgment of God into her home. She is even blaming her past sins for the trouble she is having.

    All of us have been at that place in our life. Some of us have watched everything we worked for, everything we loved, and everything we lived for crumble around us. That is a difficult place to be! Yet, there are times when the Lord will allow His children to pass through those kinds of fires. (Job – Job 1-2; Abraham – Gen. 22; Joseph – Gen. 37-50; Paul – 2 Cor. 12: 7-11; The Disciples – Mark 6: 45-53.)

    Why? He does it so that we might learn to trust Him and not external resources. He does it so that we might learn to rely on Him more perfectly. He does it so that we might experience His grace in a new, fresh manner. He does it so that we might be brought to a place of utter dependence!

    When the Lord has brought us low, learn early to look to Him. It will help lift us out of our situation far faster.

    The widow thought she was passing through a storm of correction. She thought God was hurting her. What she failed to see was that she was in a storm of perfection. God was in fact helping her!

    We’re in that way too. We miss the help God is trying to give us while we focus on the hurt we feel in our hearts. The answer to life’s storms is found in looking up to Jesus early and always.

  3. A Discouraged Prophet

    What an effect this must have had on Elijah! He has trusted God to feed him with ravens. He has trusted God to give him water from a brook. When the brook dried up, Elijah had followed God’s call to Zarephath. There he had submitted to the humiliating thought of being fed by a widow. He had trusted God and miracles had resulted. He had seen God do the impossible. He had even watched as God worked in the heart of a pagan widow woman and brought her to the place of faith. He had watched the Lord feed her and her family through a time of terrible drought.

    Now, this woman’s son is dead and she points her finger of accusation at him. It must have been a very discouraging day for the man of God!

    We are never more vulnerable to the attacks of the flesh and the devil as we are when we are discouraged. When we have tried and things still fall to pieces, it is easy to get defeated and discouraged. When that happens, we begin to wonder why. We begin to question God. We begin to lose faith and hope and we become discouraged. When that happens, we are easily defeated.

    When we start to become disillusioned and discouraged, we need to run to God and find the help we need. If we do not, then we will be just another casualty on the battlefield of faith. Discouragement is a tremendous tool in the hand of the devil!

    Never discount what the Lord is doing in us, through us, to us and around us. He has a plan, and if we are a part of that plan, all will be well in the end! Therefore, fight discouragement as if we were fighting for our life, for in a sense we are!

Elijah’s Trust (1 Kings 17:19-23)

  1. Up until this point, Elijah hasn’t had to do much. He moved when God said move. He stayed when God said stay. He ate when God provided. All Elijah has done is basically watch God do the impossible, time and time again.
  2. However, he is placed in a position where he must get personally involved in what the Lord is doing. He is brought to a place where he must trust God for that which has never happened before!
  3. Elijah’s Calmness (19)

    Even though he is confronting death and baseless accusation, Elijah is the picture of calmness. He doesn’t get upset and attack back. He doesn’t lash out at the widow. He doesn’t even defend himself.

    He merely asks for the widow to give her son to him. Then he takes the boy to his room and places him on his bed.

    How often do the storms of life begin to blow in on us and we react to them very badly? Something unexpected will happen and instead of taking it into the presence of the Lord like Elijah did, we take it to ourselves and we fall apart. We worry. We fret. We wonder why. Someone attacks us and instead of taking it to the Lord, we get upset and attack back. God help us to learn the lesson that in the midst of trials and trouble, we can do no better than to bring them to the Lord and leave them with Him. We cannot handle them, but He already has (Phil. 4: 6-7; Matt. 6: 25-34). May the Lord help us to remember that He has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1: 7). Let us learn to calmly take our burdens to the Lord. He never gets excited, why should we? He never loses sleep, why should we? By the way, when the widow gives the prophet her son, she is giving tangible evidence of her faith in God to do the impossible.

  4. Elijah’s Compassion (1 Kings 17:20-21)

    Elijah’s heart has been touched by the pain this widow is experiencing. He has watched her grow in her faith. He has experienced her generosity. He has enjoyed her hospitality, and his heart is moved at her need. His compassion for this widow and her son is seen in three ways.

    Seen In His Prayer (20)
    He petitions the Lord on behalf of the widow. In doing so, the prophets reveals the heart of one who knows God and cares for others. In fact, he is seen actually fulfilling the law of Christ (Gal. 6: 2). He is bearing the widow’s burden in the presence of God.

    Seen In His Position (21)
    He humbled himself and stretched his own body on top of the body of this dead child. Elijah knew that Law and he must have known that touching a dead body would defile him (Num. 19: 10). The point here is that Elijah was willing to humiliate and humble himself to reach out to another. He was willing to suffer lose that they might gain. That is the heart of ministry! Elijah has learned to feel the need of others. That is the essence of Christlike service.

    Seen In His Petition (21)
    In this verse, Elijah asks God to do something that had never been done before! There is absolutely no record of any dead person ever being brought back to life before this day. This is an amazing prayer that Elijah prays! Elijah places everything on the line for the glory of God and for the need of this one woman. He trusts God for the unseen. His heart is moved for her and he trusts the Lord to do something about!

    During this time, Elijah’s world has been turned upside down. However, he seems to be taking no thought for himself. He seems to be occupied with the need of this poor widow woman.

    One of the surest and quickest ways for us to get our need met is to stop worrying about our needs, and find someone who has a need or a burden and get under that burden with them. As we do that, we are committing our way unto the Lord and we are saying, “Father, I trust you to take care of me, now use me to help this other person.” That kind of faith honors God and He will bless the life that is moved for others (Phil. 2: 4).

  5. Elijah’s Conquest (1 Kings 17:22-23)

    These verses tell us the triumphant news that Elijah received the object of his faith. He watched as God did the impossible before his eyes.

    Elijah Prevailing In Prayer (22)
    God honored the faith of the prophet and raised the child to life again. Why? Because Elijah trusted God by faith!
    A faith that honors God is a faith that is honored by God! “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matt. 21: 22); “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14: 13); “Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16: 23-24); “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hear us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” (1 John 5: 14-15). Those are great and precious promises from the word of God. However, we hear them say, “That’ll never work for me!” And that is absolutely correct! Why? Well, it isn’t because God can’t answer your prayers, it’s because He won’t answer the prayer of unbelief! Note what James said about it, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1: 6-8). God will not honor a lack of faith. If we want to see prayers answered like God answered Elijah, then let us learn the secret of prevailing prayer. It is simply stated in James 5: 16, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

    Elijah Presenting The Proof (23)
    When Elijah carried that child up those steps, all he had in his arms was a dead body. When he came back down, he had a living miracle. Imagine the joy that must have filled that house when God worked this miracle for Elijah and the widow. What a glad day that must have been, when God eliminated the problem by His power!
    We are talking about the power of faith in God to work in times of struggle! It was faith that moved this impossible mountain and it is faith that will move the mountain we are facing this morning as well, “So Jesus said to them, Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, Move from here to there, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matt. 17: 20)! We can count on the Lord to look after us!

Elijah’s Testimony (1 Kings 17:24)

  1. God’s Man Is Vindicated

    The widow expresses her firm confidence that Elijah is who he claimed to be. Apparently, Elijah and the widow needed this little bit of encouragement.

    Those who do not know the Heavenly Father may mock at our use of faith in the face of trials, but in the end, our faith will always be vindicated!

    He Who feeds the sparrows looks after us as well. He Who puts cloths on the grass of the field are repeatedly proven His power in our life. God can take a tiny grain of faith and transform it into a power that can receive the impossible! When God’s people trust God completely, He will see them through their trials!

  2. God Message Is Validated

    The widow also expresses her confidence in the Word of God. When she sees the outworking of faith through Elijah, she understands that God possesses all power in Heaven and earth and that He will perform His Word.

    That is the basis of faith (Rom. 10: 17). If God has given His word in a matter, then we can rest assured that He will see to it that His Word is kept to the letter. That which God has promised His people is a reality, even though it may not yet be seen.

    Why could Elijah pray for a resurrection when none had ever happened? Because of God’s promise to sustain the little band until the drought ended. That boy was supposed to be alive when the first rains fell on the land! Elijah prevailed in prayer because He believed God’s word!

  3. God’s Method Is Victorious

    Certainly, allowing a child to die and be resurrected from the dead would not have entered the minds of most people. It is probably not how we would have chosen to mold our man. However, God’s ways are not our ways! In the end, God’s plan was accomplished.

    The Widow Is Encouraged
    The widow is now strengthened and grounded in her faith. She can believe God for anything! That is the place God wants to bring us to! He wants us to cast aside our doubts and cling to His Word. When God moves in power, it has a way of encouraging the troubled heart.

    The Prophet Is Enabled
    Elijah is now ready for the battles that lie ahead. God has put him through school and placed him in several impossible situations. Each time, God has proven Himself to be greater than the problem. Elijah has learned the lesson that he can trust God for anything. He has arrived at the place where he is ready to be used of the Lord.

    God’s method for growing us isn’t always pleasant, nor is it fun. However, it is essential that we pass through the growing process so that we can be better used of the Lord. As God takes us through the battles, and we see Him win them all by His power, we are enabled by faith to trust Him for even greater victories.

Conclusion

  1. Where does this message find us this morning? Are we facing situations that seem impossible to us? Has it dawned on us yet that we aren’t there by accident? That things didn’t just work out that way in our life? Have we come to realize that, if we are saved, nothing can happen to us that isn’t first approved by God? If we can ever understand that, then we have taken the first step toward victory over all situation!
  2. Whatever it is that we are facing today, let us bring it before the Lord and trust Him to see us over it, around it or through it. Just like the widow placed the burden of her dead son in the arms of Elijah, let us place our burden this morning into the outstretched arms of Jesus. He will help us, but only when we trust Him by faith (1 Pet. 5: 7; Matt. 11: 28).
  3. If our problem is sin, Jesus can move that mountain. If it is emotional, financial, interpersonal, physical, spiritual, or anything else we can name, the answer lies in bringing it to Jesus. Will we come to the place where we can trust Him for our situation today?

Elijah The Prophet of Confrontation and Courage
Sermon 3
1 Kings 17: 8-16

  1. Elijah holds in his hand a diploma from Dry Brook University. He has trusted God to take care of him even in the most desperate of situations. He trusted God to send the ravens to feed him, and he trusted God to supply his water using the little brook Cherith. He watched as God met his needs day in and day out. He also watched as God allowed his brook, the only source of water he had, to dry up before his eyes. Surely, enduring this kind of trial would count for something! Surely, things would get better for the prophet now! 
  2. Yet, when God speaks to Elijah, it is to send him into another difficult situation. The prophet’s training isn’t over just yet. God is creating a man of God! Elijah may have graduated from Dry Brook University, but now he is about to enroll in Empty Bin Graduate School. At Cherith God broke the prophet’s flesh: He taught Elijah to depend on God. At Zarephath, God will break Elijah’s pride. Here, he will learn that God, not Elijah, calls all the shots of life. He will learn that things are never like they appear. He will learn that God can use the humblest of means to train His children for His glory.
  3. God intends to use this man in a mighty way! When we get to chapter 18, we will see why God put the prophet through such rigorous training. God is building a man of God!
  4. There are times when it seems that our trials come back to back. That is, it seems that before one trial can end, another begins! When these times come, we may be tempted to question the LORD as to what He is doing. Simply stated, God is getting you in a position where He can use you in a greater way. Before He can mold us, He must first melt us! After all, God’s goal for every saint of God is that we be made into the image of the LORD Jesus Christ, “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;” (Eph. 4:13.).
  5. Let us join the prophet Elijah as he continues his training at Empty Bin Graduate School. There are lessons here that we can glean from as well. These lessons will help us when we face our times of testing.

A Fresh Path (17: 8-11)

  1. The Call (17: 8 )
    As Elijah sat there beside that dried up brook, it must have felt like he had been abandoned by God. However, God had not forgotten about Elijah! God knew exactly where he was. God knew all about that dry brook and God had something else in mind for the man of God! The dried brooks of life are merely those things which God uses to move us along in His will. He will use the dried up brooks we face to teach us fresh lessons of faith and obedience.There is a lesson here for us, and it is a hard one to swallow! That lesson is this: genuine faith waits for God to reveal His plans. It will sit by a dried up brook forever, even if it means death, waiting on the will of God to be revealed. This is where we get into trouble! We have this tendency to run ahead of God and take matters into our own hands. Yet, God’s will is that we learn to wait on Him, even when He doesn’t move on our schedule! If our brook is dry this morning, do not fear! God has not forgotten about us. He knows just where we are and when the time is right, we will hear His voice calling us to a fresh arena of service! “But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” (Isa. 40:31). We are action oriented people, but sometimes God’s command is that we just be still and wait on Him, And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever (Exodus 14:13).
  2. The Command (17: 9a)
    When the LORD does speak to Elijah, He commands him to go to Zarephath. This is a strange command considering the fact that Zarephath is in a Gentile nation. It is a country of Jezebel. It is a land of idolaters. It is a wicked place filled with wicked people. Yet, that is exactly where the LORD sends His prophet! To top it off, to get to Zarephath from Cherith will force Elijah to march over 100 miles through territory ruled over by king Ahab, who is looking for Elijah everywhere. It seems like this command of the LORD makes no sense at all! Of course, one of the reason for sending Elijah to Zarephath was to vividly illustrate the impotence of Jezebel’s wrath and power! Again, there is a lesson for us in this verse: Often, the life of faith will lead us through difficult pathways. God never promised that this way would be an easy way. In fact, just the opposite is true! God has promised us that life will be filled with trials and troubles (Job 5:7, 14:1; John 16:33). Yet, that is the path of faith! Even when the command of God makes no sense, faith simply obeys God without regard for the consequences! We can see this truth displayed throughout the Bible:Noah and the ark (Gen. 6), Abraham and Isaac (Gen. 22), Daniel and the three Hebrews (Dan. 1)
  3. There are times when the commands of God seems harsh and strange. However, faith recognizes the voice of the Good Shepherd and follows obediently wherever He may lead!

  4. The Challenge (17: 9b)
    Again Elijah is told to “dwell there”. He is to go to Zarephath and stay there until he receives new instructions from the mouth of the LORD. Often, God’s times of testing do not come with a time limit attached! He merely sends us and leaves us there until His work in us is finished!
  5. However, the real challenge is in what God told the prophet next, “See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” That must come as a serious blow to the pride of the prophet. In those days, widows were the poorest of the poor! In times of drought and want, the widows were the first group to die off. Instead of God telling Elijah, “I have a widow over there in Zarephath and I want you to go and take care of her.” God says, “Elijah, I am sending you to another place of testing where you will have to look to me for all your needs every day.” For Elijah, Zarephath was a place that would live up to its name. The name Zarephath means “smelting furnace, or refining”. It refers to the furnace into which metal is placed so that it can be heated up and have any impurities removed. Cherith was the place where Elijah had been cut off and cut down. Zarephath would be the place where he would be refined. It would be here that the last traces of Elijah’s pride and self-reliance would be stripped away.

    We are a self-reliant people. We always want to believe that we can “handle it” ourselves. We would like to think that we are in control of our lives and that we are calling all the shots. However, when the LORD begins to work in our life to reveal Himself in us more clearly, He will send us to a Zarephath where we have to depend on nothing but Him. When we have been brought to the place where we can lean on nothing but God, He has brought us to the greatest of places that life can afford. For it is in that place that we will learn Who Is In Control. That is the challenge we all face in our life of faith. We all face the challenge of getting to the place where we are trusting God and Him alone for all the needs we have in life! That is where He wants each of us, “The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17). 

  6. The Comfort (17:10-11)
    When Elijah receives this command, he does not hesitate, he just gets up and goes where God tells him to go. When he arrives at Zarephath, he sees the widow picking up sticks. Evidently, the LORD lets him know that this is the vessel He has chosen to sustain Elijah. When he sees her, he calls to her to fetch him a drink of water. It must have been a comfort to his ear to see her turn to fetch his drink! It must have appeared like God had things lined up for the prophet.There is a lesson here as well. Our God is a God Who works on both ends of the line. When Jacob and his sons needed food, God provided a Joseph in Egypt. When the children of Israel sent their spies to Jericho, God gave them a Rahab. When the Jews faced a Haman, God raised them up an Esther. When an Ethiopian Eunuch needed salvation, God sent him a Philip. The point is this: When your time of need arises, rest assured that your Father has already gone ahead to spread the table of provision in your behalf (Phil. 4:19).

A Fantastic Promise (17: 12-15a)

  1. A Doubt (17: 12)
    When Elijah asks the widow for a cake of bread, her fear is brought to the surface. God had already commanded her to care for His prophet (17: 9) but she is trapped in the fear of faithlessness. She has her eyes on the circumstances and not on the God Who controls the circumstances! This is the place where many people are living this morning! When we look at our problems and our needs, we feel like we are trapped in a hopeless situation. We are guilty of looking at the problem and not at the Provider! As much as Elijah was sent to Zarephath for his benefit, he was also sent for the benefit of this widow. She needed to learn the value of faith in God. Are we trapped in doubt this morning? Does it appear that our situation is hopeless and that we are helpless to do anything about it? The answer lies in looking beyond our problem and getting our eyes on the Provider (Heb. 12:1-2)! If we are saved, then we are in the family of God. God is our Father and He has promised to take care of us (Matt. 6:25-34). Therefore, when we doubt, we are saying that God cannot do what He has promised to do! Is He God or isn’t He? Our doubt says that God is dead! Our faith recognizes His power and position! It must have been a discouragement to Elijah to hear the widow express her lack of faith. If he had focused on first impressions instead of on the word of God, then he might have lapsed into despair. However, he believed God more than he believed even what he saw! Real faith knows that God is greater than what the eye can see. Real faith knows that God can make the impossible possible (Heb. 11:1)!
  2. A Demand (17: 13-14)
    When Elijah hears the widow’s sob story, he makes what appears to be the coldest demand in the Bible. He tells her to go ahead and fix her last supper, but to feed him first! On the surface this appears harsh and cruel, but it was, in fact, a plea for faith and surrender to the will of God.

    Involved Encouragement
    Do not fear”. Elijah comforts her heart in this matter. She is told that she can trust God.
    Involved Enlightenment
    “For thus says the LORD God of Israel.” She gets a direct word from God concerning her situation. She has God’s word that she will be taken care of.
    Involved Excitement
    “The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.” This widow hears the news that she is about to be center stage for a miracle designed to care for God’s man. She is about to be caught up in a manifestation of the power of God. The point here is that God’s calls on our lives often make demands that are difficult to understand. Why would He call me to do that? Why would the LORD allow that to happen? However, when God’s demands are accompanied by a clear word of God, then we need have no fear, but we can respond in faith, knowing that God will take care of us. Abraham was called to sacrifice his son Isaac (Gen. 22). It must have been the most difficult demand he faced in his life! Yet, he responded in faith and came to know God is a brand new way. Abraham learned that God is Jehovah-Jireh! That is, He is the LORD Who will See To It! That is what you learn when the demands of faith are placed upon your shoulders.
  3. A Decision (17:15a)
    When this widow heard the word of God, she went and did as Elijah had commanded her. it took great faith to use the last little bit of flour she had to prepare bread for a total stranger. Yet she did it by faith! This is the place that God wants to bring us all too. He wants His Elijahs and His widows to learn to trust Him in every circumstance, regardless of what outward appearances may suggest. Have you reached that place in your walk with God? If not, then don’t be surprised when God’s paths lead through dark valleys and uncertain ways. He is in the process of training His servants. We can do no better than to learn to obey Him promptly, just like Elijah and the widow did! God wants us to get to the place where we can give it all away! We have to give it all away before we can get anything back. That is the essence of genuine faith! It is not a risk, but it is a challenge to human reasoning. Faith will call on us to do the unthinkable so that we might receive the impossible!

A Fabulous Provision (17:15-16)

  1. The Bible tells us here that until the rains returned to the earth, the bin of flour and the jar of oil did not run out. Every time the widow went to get flour and oil to prepare a meal, there was more to be used. When she decided to bake that cake for Elijah, she traded the certain for the uncertain and received the impossible in return!
  2. The Grace Of It
    Because this widow took God at His Word and prepared bread for Elijah, God allowed the widow, the widow’s son and Elijah to enjoy plenty while all around them hundreds starved to death. That is grace! The difference in the widow’s home was that she learned to live by faith and she was supplied by the hand of God. God honors faith because faith honors God!
  3. The Greatness Of It
    For years, until it rained, every meal time was a miracle. God worked a miracle in that bin and in that jar every single day. He took nothing and made it last until it was no longer needed. We serve a God Who specializes in doing the impossible! It may look hopeless to us, but we must never count God out! He can take the little that is dedicated to Him by faith and multiply it to enormous proportions! The 5 loaves and 2 fishes fed a multitude (John 6:5-13).
  4. The Glory Of It
    That bin of flour and that jar of oil were never full! Elijah and the widow were taught to live day by day. Everyday she scraped the bottom of the bin and everyday there was just enough flour to fix their food. Everyday she watched the last drop of oil drip from that jar, but the next day there was always more. The glory in the story lies in the fact that Elijah and the widow were taught to trust God day by day! As the days passed, their faith was strengthened as they saw the LORD provide!When God has brought us to the place where we are forced to trust in Him for today’s provision, He has brought us to the best place we can be. He has blessed us beyond words! We may not think so at the time, but when His path leads to a greater trial, it is a blessing to know that God always takes care of His children!

Conclusion

  1. Where does this message find our faith? Does it seem that God is moving us from one hard place to another? Does it seem that things just get harder and harder for us as we journey through life? We must remember that God is refining us! God will pass His servants from one difficulty into another to remove from our lives those things that are not pleasing in His sight. Don’t fight Him! Our best course of action this morning is to surrender to His will now!
  2. Some of us are lost, we need to be saved today. Some of us are not walking in close communion with the LORD, we need to be restored. Whatever the need, there is help to be found in Jesus. Let us come and trust God for whatever need we may have.

Elijah The Prophet of Confrontation and Courage
Sermon 2
1 Kings 17: 2-7

Introduction

  1. For those who have served in the army, military training is a time of brutal discipline, unending work, regimented training, cold fear and acute loneliness. Yet, it is here that soldiers are born. A soldier would never be able to serve on the battlefield unless he has first been through the military training camp. Here, soldiers have their self-will striped away. They lose their rebellion. They learn to follow every order from a superior without question. They learn to follow their leader, even to death, if necessary.

  2. The positive side of all the training, the discipline and the pressure is that the soldier grows stronger, more disciplined and more mature. He is transformed from a common man into a battle ready soldier. The soldier learns much in his short time here. What he learns in military camp is essential to his survival on the battlefield.

  3. When we think of Elijah, there are usually two events that seem to characterize his life. The first is the fact that he was carried away to Heaven in a chariot of fire. The second has to do with his great victory on top of Mount Carmel. Before Elijah can be trusted to stand on Carmel, he must first enter the dry brook university. Before God can use His servants, He must train them. Before He can use us greatly before men, He must first break us before Himself.

  4. Every child of God wants to be used by the Lord. However, before that can happen, we must first pass through God’s training. There are lessons that we must learn. There are courses that we must have. Before God can place us on the battlefield as a soldier of the cross, He must first send us to training camp. Before God can really use us, He must first remove from us all that hinders His will from being done.

  5. Therefore, let’s join Elijah this morning as he enrolls at dry brook training.

The Place God Ordained (17:2-4)

  1. Elijah has just stood before the King of Israel and delivered the message of judgment that God had given him. Now, the next word from God is a command to hide himself away. We are inclined to think that God would want to keep Elijah in the face of Ahab. However, God’s ways are not our ways! God has a plan! He wants to transform Elijah from Elijah the Tishbite (17:1) into Elijah the Man of God (17:24). To accomplish this, God is going to send Elijah to a training camp.

    The Name Of That Place
    (17:2-3) – Cherith – The word means “to cut off, to cut down”. God has cut off Elijah from public view so that He might cut him down to size. One of the hardest lessons the child of God will ever learn is that God must send us to Cherith before He can use us for His glory. He must hide us away and cut us down so that His image may be more clearly revealed in us.

    The Nature Of That Place
    (17:3) – It is a hidden place. Note the command from God, “Hide” (3). Cherith is by nature a hard and lonely place. Here Elijah would be removed from the spotlight. Here he would dwell alone while the Lord worked out His will in the prophet’s life.

  2. We must never overlook the power of the hidden life. It was in this place, hidden away from public view that Elijah became a man of God. It was here that he learned to trust God totally. It was here that Elijah was forced to learn to lean on the Lord. Before we can ever give out, we must first take in. Before God can pour anything out of our vessels, He must first put something in them.

  3. We all need to learn the value of the hidden life. There is a part of us the world sees and a part of us they do not. It is the part that men do not see that defines us. It is that time spent alone in the presence of God that can make us great for His glory. How much time are we devoting to the hidden life?

  4. There are times when we think God should use us more than He does. However, when He hides us away from the eye of the world, His plan is to grow us up in private so that He might display us for His glory in His time. A life that is lived in solitude before the Lord, is a life that will one day be used to bring Him great glory. God wants us to come to the place where we are found faithful in the hidden life. When we are found faithful there, He will expand our sphere of influence and bring us out of the hiding place, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.” (Luke 16:10). Therefore, we must come to the place where we are as willing to be hidden away, as we are to be used. That is the nature of Cherith! It may mean being passed over. It may mean being left out. Never forget that God knows where we are. If He has sent us to Cherith, He has hidden us away so that He might reveal us in His time! 

The Necessity Of That Place (17:4)

  1. Notice the use of the word “there“. Cherith was a specific place. It was the only place Elijah could be and be right with God. If he had gone anywhere else, he would have starved to death. God had ordered provisions for Elijah, but He had ordered them to be delivered to Cherith. It was the only place to be.
  2. When the Lord sends us to a difficult place in life, there is the tendency to want to be somewhere else. After all, who likes pain? Who likes sickness? Who likes financial trouble? Who likes to struggle? What we must learn is that if God sends us to a Cherith, He knows what He is doing. The only place for us to be is where God sends us! If we find ourselves in a difficult situation, we can do no better than to submit to it as the will of God for our lives and learn to trust Him while we are there. We must not forget Who is in control! If the Lord has sent us to Cherith, it is merely part of His plan for our life (Rom. 8:28). Therefore, we have only two choices. The first is rebellion. We can fight God and stay in our Cherith longer, or like Elijah, we can submit to God (17:5) and He will work out His plan in our life. In other words, we can either choose to be miserable as we go through the difficulties of life or we can choose to rejoice in spite of the situation (1 Thes. 5:18; Phil. 4:6-7).
  3. There is a place for us that has been ordained by God. We can do no better in life than to willingly follow Him there. It may be a hard place. It may be a place that hurts. It may be a frightening place. However, if the Lord ordained that place for us, then we can do no better than to submit to it!

 The Promise God Offered (17: 4-6)

  1. Elijah is sent to the middle of nowhere to hide. God sent him there for two primary reasons: Protectionand Training. God promise Elijah that his needs will be met while he is there. God’s call is always accompanied by God’s provisions. He will never send us to a place in life that He does not give us all we need to make it through that place. His place is always complete with His provisions for that place!

    Involved Advance Planning (17:4)
    Before the need arose, God already had the provisions in place. When He formed the world, He made sure to form that little brook just for Elijah. Before He told the prophet to go to Cherith, God had already commanded the ravens to take care of God’s man. Nothing catches God by surprise. When this came up, God did not wring His hands in despair and say, “Oh no! What am I going to do? How will I keep this man alive?”
    Our Cherith always comes equipped with God’s provision. We serve a God Who is already alive tomorrow! That is a truth that we can never comprehend, but one which we certainly can enjoy. Before the dawn ever breaks tomorrow, the Lord is already there and He has already placed what I need in the path I will take. Regardless of the circumstance or difficulty, God has already prepared the path that I will take (Psa. 37:23). This is the truth Paul encountered during his fiery trial with the thorn in the flesh (2 Cor. 12:7-10). Paul was told that the Lord had already supplied his need before it arose!

    Involved Amazing Provision (17:6)
    God used a brook and some ravens to feed Elijah while he was stationed at Cherith. This is remarkable because ravens are scavengers. They feed of the flesh of the dead. Yet God used them to bring life sustaining food to the prophet. God suspended the “laws of nature” to meet the need of His child. Never forget that God knows what we need. He knows where we are and He knows where the provisions we need are. He will direct our path to the place where He can meet our need (Phil. 4:19).

    Involved Abundant Peace (17:5)
    Note the phrase, “So he went and did according to the word of the Lord.
    When God called, Elijah simply stepped out in faith and obeyed. That is the secret to surviving our Cherith experiences! Coming to the place where we do not question God, but when He speaks, we respond by doing what we are told to do. However, when we choose to walk a path He has not ordained, we will pay our own way. (Jonah – Jonah 1:1-3.) This is the primary lesson of Cherith.
    God’s servants must come to the place where they trust God alone and they must trust Him absolutely. Elijah had nothing but the promise of God, yet for him that was sufficient to let him know that all would be well.

The Plan God Ordered (17:5-6)

  1. It Was A Sovereign Plan
    God was in absolute control of the situation. The ravens did as He had commanded them and they brought bread and flesh to the prophet twice per day. The brook continued to provide refreshment as well. All of this was ordered by the Lord to teach the prophet that God was in absolute control of what happened. When the Lord puts us in a place where we can do nothing but trust Him, He had done us the greatest favor that He can extend, outside of salvation. When we come to the place where we are trusting Him and Him alone, we have reached a great level of growth.
  2. It Was A Satisfying Plan
    Satisfying because Elijah enjoyed the fulfillment of the Lord’s promises to him. He received just what the Lord told him he would. He found God to be true. Nothing means as much to a suffering saint as the peace of knowing that God is in control! We may not like the situation in which we find ourselves, but if we know that God is going to take care of us, then we can be satisfied anywhere, with anything.
  3. It Was A Submissive Plan
    Verse 5 tells us that he went and stayed by the brook.” Elijah wasn’t headed out there for an overnight camping trip. He went out there to that brook and set up house. He intended to live in that place until the Lord came and told him to go somewhere else. That is when we begin to enjoy real victory in our lives, regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. When we arrive at the place where we can submit to the Lord’s will for our lives, no matter how bad we might think it is, then we are on the path to help and blessing. (Paul – Phil. 4:11-13; 1 Tim. 4:6-8.) Have we submitted to our Cherith?
    The whole purpose in God’s plan was to help Elijah come to the place where he could trust God one day at a time. We would imagine that there was some fear in the prophet’s heart that first evening. Would the ravens appear? Would there be flesh and bread in the morning? But, as the days passed and God proved Himself to be faithful and trustworthy, Elijah learned to walk by faith. That is where the Lord wants to bring us as well! The Bible tells us that “the just shall live by faith.” (Rom. 1:17). God wants us to come to the place where we do not know which step to take next. He wants us to be totally dependent upon Him. He wants us to rest in His arms by faith, without fear. And, He will put us by Cherith to bring this to pass! He will cut us off and cut us down to teach us to trust Him fully!

The Problem God Orchestrated (17: 7)

  1. A Dry Brook
    This stream of life-giving water finally ran dry! How Elijah must have felt as he watched that stream grow smaller each day. One day, its voice wasn’t as loud as it had been the day before. As the days passed, the little brook began to get narrow. Then, one day it was all gone! Nothing was left but a dry, cracked stream bed.

    This happens to us as well! That job that we have invested our lives in dries up. That partner that we have given ourselves to completely walks out on us. Our health that has always been so robust breaks. Regardless of the circumstances, the brook has dried up! When we are faced with these kinds of trials, we must never lose sight of two great truths :

    The God Who provides the water can also withhold the water. He is in control of our lives! As Elijah was about to find out, God had another place already prepared for him. So it is with us! When our brook dries up, God has another channel of blessing already lined up for us!

    A dry brook is not always a sign of God’s displeasure. God used the events of life to chasten us when we walk outside of His will. However, there are times when He will let your brook dry up in the midst of your serving Him. If happened to Abraham when he was called on to offer up Isaac. It happened to Joseph as he ministered in Potipher’s house. It happened to Paul as he faithfully served God in Lystra. It happened to Jesus as He agonized in Gethsemane and as He gave His life a ransom for sin on Calvary.
    Sometimes, the brooks of life dry up because God is pleased with us and desires to take us on to new and better things. He knows us and He knows that we would be reluctant to leave a place where everything was going perfectly. Therefore, He will dry up our brook causing us to be willing to go where He leads us.
    Sometimes, God allows the brook to dry up because we are guilty of trusting the brook more than we trust Him. We are to learn to look to the Lord and not to His gifts! Even when the gifts are gone, we are to trust Him by faith!

  2. A Devastated Prophet
    How Elijah must have felt as that brook dried up before his eyes. Did he feel abandoned and forsaken? Has God somehow let him down? Have we ever felt abandoned by the Lord when one of our brooks dried up? In fact, God hasn’t forsaken us. When we are standing there looking at a dried up brook, we are more His concern then than at any other time. God cannot forget us. Notice His promise in Isa. 49:14-16.

    God will often allow His people to sit by a drying brook. When it happens, and it will, never believe for an instant that God has somehow forgotten about us or forsaken us. If we are in His will, where He wants us to be, then we can rest in His promise to take care of us. Like Elijah, when our brook dries up, God has a new channel of blessing that He will reveal in His time.

  3. A Dynamic Situation
    For Elijah, that dried up brook should have been something to shout about. Why? Because of two things: his prayers had been answered (James 5:17-18). and his prophecy had been fulfilled (1 Kings 17:1). Elijah’s dry brook came about because God was pleased with the prophet. That doesn’t make sense from a human standpoint, but it is true nonetheless! We need to come to the place where we understand that God dries up the brooks of life because He has something even bigger just down the road. Sometimes the brooks dry up because you have done everything correctly. God has just chosen that dry brook as the vehicle to move you to a new place of blessing.

Conclusion

  1. God is sending Elijah to training camp. He is training a prophet. He is building a man of God. God knows that before Elijah can stand in power on Carmel, he must first be broken at Cherith. His goal is the same in our lives today. Many of us have attended the same training camp that Elijah attended. Brooks are beginning to dry up in our life. We wonder what to do and how we will make it. My advice is to come to the place early and trust Him to take care of us.

  2. Let us realize that everything that happens in our life is part of God’s plan for us (Rom. 8:28). And that nothing can happen in us or to us that He does not allow cf. Job. That makes all our dried up brooks easier to deal with.

  3. If there is a need this morning, let us bring it to the Lord God. If salvation is our need, we come to Him. If we are standing there looking at a brook that is drying up right in front of us, Let’s come to Him. If we need the Lord to move in our life, let’s come to Him. If we feel abandoned and forsaken by God, let’s come to Him. Whatever the need, Jesus can meet it today. Will we come to Him?

Elijah The Prophet of Confrontation and Courage
Sermon 1
1 Kings 17: 1

Introduction

  1. The pages of our Bibles are filled with accounts of men that seem larger than life. People like Moses, David, Daniel, Paul and others, all seem to be characters that are so far above the realm of our own experience that we may feel like we can never be like them. However, all these people were just like us. When we read about the life and ministry of Elijah, we will be amazed at his courage and at his power with God. Yet, we are reminded by the Word of God that Elijah “was a man with a nature like ours” (James 5:17). He was just a man who walked in humble obedience before his God.
  2. This morning, let us begin a series of study that will focus on the life and ministry of Elijah. We will call this series “Elijah: The Prophet of Courage and Confrontation”. Today, we will focus on this one verse and talk about “A Man Sent From God.” In this message, we shall see that God can take a nobody and make a somebody out of him. God can take any life that will be totally yielded to His will and use that life for His glory. Our goal this morning is to see whether or not we possess this kind of life within ourselves. If not, then we will be given the opportunity to get where God can use us. Let’s look at this verse together this morning and meet A Man Sent From God.

Elijah was A Common Man

  1. His Home
    This verse tells us that Elijah was from a place called Tishbe in the region known as Gilead. Gilead was a rough, mountainous area known for its high peaks and deep valleys. The very name “Gilead” in its Hebrew form means “raw or rugged.” This tells us that Elijah was a backwoods man. When he stepped onto the scene and began his ministry, his methods, his mannerisms and his message were as rough and rugged as the place he called home.Evidently, Elijah’s method of dress was as strange as anything else we know about him (2 Kings 1:8).
  2. His Humanity
    We are given an interesting insight into the prophet Elijah in the book of James. “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit” (James 5:17-18). As one follows the life of Elijah, it becomes clear that he was a mere mortal. He was a man with a fiery temper, who was prone to bouts of depression. He also suffered from loneliness, due to the life of solitude from which he ministered.The emphasis here is that the Lord is not looking for spiritual giants to use for His glory. He is simply looking for people who will readily obey His Word and follow Him where He leads them. Nothing at all is known about Elijah until he steps onto the scene in the presence of king Ahab. He was a nobody from nowhere, but he was handpicked by the Lord God to do His will and to carry His message to a wayward nation.God doesn’t need the rich, the educated, the intelligent, the beautiful or the movers and shakers of this world to get His work done. God has chosen to work through the lives of men and women who will simply yield themselves to the will of God and, who will like Isaiah, say “Here am I! Send me!” (Isa. 6:8). The bottom line is this: God wants your obedient surrender to His will more than He wants anything else you can give to Him (1 Sam. 15:22).

Elijah Was A Courageous Man

  1. He Defied A Foolish Ruler
    The king of Israel during the time of Elijah was a little toad of a man named Ahab. According to the Bible, Ahab was the most wicked king that ever squatted upon the throne of Israel (1 Kings 16:30, 33). Besides that, he was married to a wretchedly evil woman named Jezebel. She was the daughter of the king of Sidon. This too was an offense to the Lord (1 Kings 16:31). Jezebel was from a group of people who were ardent Baal worshipers. And she, along with her husband Ahab, did more to introduce the worship of Baal to the people of Israel than any other ruling family (1 Kings 16:32). This produced a state of affairs in Israel, where people lost all regard for the commandments of God. This is illustrated by 1 Kings 16:34, where a man named Hiel the Bethelite attempted to rebuild Jericho. This was in direct disobedience to a clear command of God (Joshua 6:26).Yet, it was to this king that God sent the prophet Elijah. Elijah walked right into the presence of king Ahab and delivered the message of the Lord without flinching. He told Ahab that there would be no rain or dew until he said there would be. It took courage to defy the wicked ruler!
  2. He Denounced A False Religion
    The crux of Elijah’s message was that there would be no dew or rain until he said so. This was a direct attack against the false religion of Baal worship. Baal was the Canaanite god of fertility. He was seen in the thunderheads and in the rain that fell. Baal worship was usually conducted on the tops of hills where statues of Baal were built. Typically, these Baal shrines were staffed by priests and priestesses. Worship was carried out through performing sexual acts with one of these ministers of Baal. It was their belief that when we were joined to a priest or a priestess in a sexual union, then we literally became a god or a goddess for that period of time. One of the most horrible aspects of Baal worship existed in the realm of human sacrifice. When there was time of drought, it was supposed to mean that Baal was angry with the people. To get his attention, they would often sacrifice a firstborn child by burning it alive. It was a terrible religion that existed to gratify the flesh. There is much more that could be said about Baal worship, but this is enough to see why it was an offence to the Lord God of Israel. After all, it involved breaking many of the commandments, but especially numbers 1-3 and 7-10.When Elijah made his announcement, he was declaring war on Baal. It took great courage to stand up before the chief promoter of that false religion and in effect say, “My God is greater than Baal! And to prove it, God is going to shut off the spigot. There will be no rain until I say so. And, there’s nothing you, Jezebel or Baal can do about it!”

Elijah Was A Committed Man

  1. His Designation
    His very name tells us his testimony. The name Elijah means “My God Is Jehovah”. His name tells us that he had a personal relationship with the God of Heaven. This is the first and crucial step in becoming anything for God. Until we know Him we cannot serve Him! Has there been that time in our life when we met the God of Heaven in a personal way? The only way to meet the Lord God is through His Son Jesus Christ, (John 14:6; Acts 16:31). Are we saved?
  2. His Dependence
    By walking into the presence of Ahab and Jezebel in the name of Jehovah, Elijah was demonstrating that in his life and ministry, he was totally dependent upon the Lord.He was not trusting the arm of flesh, but was resting in the everlasting arms by faith. There is a huge difference! This is the secret of success for the child of God living in a wicked world. Only when we are totally yielded to God in total dependence, will we be assured of success.There is only one thing that honors God: Faith (Heb. 11:6; Rom. 14:23). We must come to the place where we kick out all of our props and rest totally in the hand of divine providence. We must come to the place where we stop trying and start trusting God! We have plenty of people who live by job, by education, by ability, by intellect, and by whatever. What we need are people who will live by faith, depending on nothing but God to meet their needs and enable them to stand!
  3. His Devotion
    Note the phrase Elijah used: “before Whom I stand.”Elijah was standing in the presence of the king of Israel. He was standing in the presence of one of the most powerful men of his time. Yet, Elijah was able to see beyond all the trapping of the throne room of Israel. Elijah knew that he was standing in the presence of God. He knew that there was no need to try and please Ahab. There was no need to soft sell his message and make it more pleasing. There was only one Person in that room Who had to be pleased and His name was Jehovah.That is the place we all need to get to in our lives. If we can get beyond what this one or that one might think of us and live for nothing but to please the Lord God, then we are on the road to being used by God.Elijah was a man on a mission. He desired nothing less than carrying out the will of God. Can we honestly say that we do not care what anyone thinks about our stand for God? Can we honestly say that regardless of what anyone thinks, we are going to live for God, stand for God and serve God until He finishes with us? That is the attitude of total commitment. That is the attitude God can bless and that God can use!

Elijah Was A Confident Man

  1. In The Person Of God
    Elijah believed that God was alive. He said,
    “As the Lord God of Israel lives.”

    We need some people like Elijah who will stand up and say, “You can live like God is dead if you wish, but I am going to live for Him, because He is alive in me.”That was Elijah’s situation. God was living in him and he just can’t keep Him quiet! 

  2. In The Power Of God
    It seems that the drought was Elijah’s idea (James 5:17-18). Apparently, he was so upset with the sins of the people that he began to pray that it would not rain.Of course, this idea was put into his heart by the Spirit of God, no doubt. As he prayed, he received assurance that this was indeed the Lord’s will. So, he just marched up to Ahab and told him it would not rain. He believed that he served a God Who was powerful and able to do anything!One of the tragedies of the modern church is the lack of respect we have for God and His ability. We serve a God Who can do anything (Job 42:4; Luke 1:37; Eph. 3:20). He can meet any need. He can heal any disease. He can stop anything from taking place. He can cause anything to take place. He is God and He is all powerful! Nothing is too hard for Him (Gen. 18:14)! God help us that we quit living like God was dead or on vacation. God help us to remember that He is God all the time, in every situation, regardless of what we face in life. When we are battling sin: He is God! When we have a need: He is God! When we are fighting Satan and his activities: He is God! He is God all the time! Never forget that! What He did for people like Elijah, He can do for you and me. We just have to arrive at the place where we can trust His ability.
  3. In The Promise Of God
    This man stood before Ahab because he had received a word from God concerning this matter. Elijah had enough sense to know that when God told him something was going to happen, it would happen.God will never, never, never back away from a single promise he has made to His people. He will not desert us and leave us to flap in the breeze. If He has made a promise to us, it will be fulfilled (Rom. 4:21; Heb. 6:18).

Conclusion

  1. We are going to see that Elijah stirred up a hornets’ nest when he made his announcement before Ahab. However, the point of this verse is that he stood and he did what God had told him to do.
  2. Elijah was a man sent from God. He was sent to a wicked people to declare that judgment was coming from the hand of God. He was not afraid to speak up and expose the evils of his day. He was not afraid to live by faith in the God of Heaven. He was not afraid to put his very life into the hand of God and trust God all the way through.
  3. I just wonder this morning how many of us are like Elijah. How many of us are trusting in God come what may? How many of us are taking our stand for God in the midst of this wicked world? How many of us are standing against the tide of evil in the world today? How many of us really know God like Elijah did? We need some Elijahs in our day. Elijah’s God has not changed. Where are the Elijahs who will believe in Him regardless of the cost?