Messes, dirty laundry and the real Christian Life
Even great men and women of God had struggles and just because you struggle doesn’t mean you aren’t a real man or woman of God.
Elijah’s miracles 1 Kings 17 -19
The Lord decides to make a statement and He wants to use Elijah
1 Kings 17:1 Now Elijah, who was from Tishbe in Gilead, told King Ahab, “As surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives—the God I serve—there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word!”
2 Then the Lord said to Elijah,
3 “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River.
4 Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.”
5 So Elijah did as the Lord told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan.
6 The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook.
Please notice, in verse one, Elijah is in the presence of the king. Imagine the palace, in the middle of the city,
He was a man that was recognized and respected.
Now, he is in hiding.
Time to rest. Time to spend Time undistracted, with the Lord.
The Lord will sometimes use the last thing that we could possibly expect to provide for us and bless us with.
7 But after a while the brook dried up, for there was no rainfall anywhere in the land.
What happens to us when God takes us to a place and then it seems like he just drops us off?
What happens, when the brook that you are relying on shuts down?
It’s not all bad when the brook dries up. It may just mean God wants to do something different with us.
God alone is the source of our provision.
A dried up brook is not the end of the plan!
He wants to provide in a different way because his plan requires us to get up and move.
8 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 9 “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”
God doesn’t send us into a situation that He has not prepared for.
10 So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”
12 But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”
13 But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son.
14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”
15 So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. 16 There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.
To experience Gods supernatural provision requires us to have faith. Faith in Him as the source of the provision.
Faith enough to take God at his word.
Faith enough to act like what God says is true.
17 Some time later the woman’s son became sick. He grew worse and worse, and finally he died. 18 Then she said to Elijah, “O man of God, what have you done to me? Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son?”
She let her grief blind her faith.
She lost sight of Gods Love for her.
19 But Elijah replied, “Give me your son.” And he took the child’s body from her arms, carried him up the stairs to the room where he was staying, and laid the body on his bed. 20 Then Elijah cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, why have you brought tragedy to this widow who has opened her home to me, causing her son to die?”
21 And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, please let this child’s life return to him.”
22 The Lord heard Elijah’s prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he revived! 23 Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother. “Look!” he said. “Your son is alive!”
24 Then the woman told Elijah, “Now I know for sure that you are a man of God, and that the Lord truly speaks through you.”
Why three times?
God is always trying to draw us near to him.
1 Kings 18
1 Later on, in the third year of the drought, the Lord said to Elijah, “Go and present yourself to King Ahab. Tell him that I will soon send rain!” 2 So Elijah went to appear before Ahab.
Meanwhile, the famine had become very severe in Samaria.
16 So Obadiah went to tell Ahab that Elijah had come, and Ahab went out to meet Elijah.
17 When Ahab saw him, he exclaimed, “So, is it really you, you troublemaker of Israel?”
18 “I have made no trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “You and your family are the troublemakers, for you have refused to obey the commands of the Lord and have worshiped the images of Baal instead.
19 Now summon all Israel to join me at Mount Carmel, along with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who are supported by Jezebel.”
20 So Ahab summoned all the people of Israel and the prophets to Mount Carmel.
21 Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent.
22 Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only prophet of the Lord who is left, but Baal has 450 prophets. 23 Now bring two bulls. The prophets of Baal may choose whichever one they wish and cut it into pieces and lay it on the wood of their altar, but without setting fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood on the altar, but not set fire to it. 24 Then call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by setting fire to the wood is the true God!” And all the people agreed.
25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “You go first, for there are many of you. Choose one of the bulls, and prepare it and call on the name of your god. But do not set fire to the wood.”
26 So they prepared one of the bulls and placed it on the altar. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning until noontime, shouting, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no reply of any kind. Then they danced, hobbling around the altar they had made.
27 About noontime Elijah began mocking them. “You’ll have to shout louder,” he scoffed, “for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is daydreaming, or is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be wakened!”
28 So they shouted louder, and following their normal custom, they cut themselves with knives and swords until the blood gushed out. 29 They raved all afternoon until the time of the evening sacrifice, but still there was no sound, no reply, no response.
30 Then Elijah called to the people, “Come over here!” They all crowded around him as he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been torn down. 31 He took twelve stones, one to represent each of the tribes of Israel, 32 and he used the stones to rebuild the altar in the name of the Lord. Then he dug a trench around the altar large enough to hold about three gallons. 33 He piled wood on the altar, cut the bull into pieces, and laid the pieces on the wood.
Then he said, “Fill four large jars with water, and pour the water over the offering and the wood.”
34 After they had done this, he said, “Do the same thing again!” And when they were finished, he said, “Now do it a third time!” So they did as he said, 35 and the water ran around the altar and even filled the trench.
36 At the usual time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command. 37 O Lord, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself.”
38 Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench!
39 And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The Lord—he is God! Yes, the Lord is God!”
40 Then Elijah commanded, “Seize all the prophets of Baal. Don’t let a single one escape!” So the people seized them all, and Elijah took them down to the Kishon Valley and killed them there.
As followers we have a responsibility to take inventory of our lives and identify the things that hold us back from a deeper relationship with the Lord.
Those things, have got to go!
It may take a violent purging in our lives.
41 Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go get something to eat and drink, for I hear a mighty rainstorm coming!”
42 So Ahab went to eat and drink. But Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and bowed low to the ground and prayed with his face between his knees.
43 Then he said to his servant, “Go and look out toward the sea.”
The servant went and looked, then returned to Elijah and said, “I didn’t see anything.”
Seven times Elijah told him to go and look.
44 Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, “I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.”
Then Elijah shouted, “Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!’”
45 And soon the sky was black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm, and Ahab left quickly for Jezreel.
46 Then the Lord gave special strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his belt and ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to the entrance of Jezreel.
Judah Ben-Hur Speed!!!!
1 Kings 19
1 When Ahab got home, he told Jezebel everything Elijah had done, including the way he had killed all the prophets of Baal. 2 So Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.”
Some revival this has turned out to be!
Welcome to burnout!
Burnout doesn’t happened because something became old or simply because we become tired.
Burnout happens when we do things for the wrong reason.
Elijah became burned out because he was focused more on his plan of how things should turn out rather than simply following God’s plan and allowing the Lord to Author the ending.
Burnout happens when our eyes are focused on the wrong goal.
Burnout is not an issue with our situation.
Burnout is an issue with our heart.
3 Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there.
This time, he did not wait to hear the voice of the Lord.
This time, he isolated himself.
4 Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”
5 Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” 6 He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again.
7 Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.”
Once again God provides.
The question is does Elijah even realize the blessing of God on his life enough to see this miraculous work or is he still too focused on his situation?
8 So he got up and ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to travel forty days and forty nights to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God. 9 There he came to a cave, where he spent the night.
But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
10 Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
Do you see the focus of Elijah’s heart in his reply to the Lord?
And then it goes farther and we can see that his focus is also on the people and what they are doing.
We can’t control other people, we can only control ourselves. And most of the time we are not even very good at doing that.
Our hearts and focus needs to be on the Lord, and we need to give control to him.
God met him in his despair
where he had isolated and insulated himself from everyone, felt no one cared, he was the only one, and was very afraid.
God met him in his fear, he fed him, cared for him
but didn’t push him until he was ready
Elijah complained and God answered him and helped him through his burnout, brokenness, and fear…
God meets us always when we are hurting.
He reaches down to where we are and sits with us until we are ready to hear…
He doesn’t leave us there he stays
but when He knows we are ready he speaks truth into our lives that sets us free
Burn out is only permanent if we allow it.
Take time to care for yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually…at the right time God will speak…listen then get back in the game