Sermon:
Keep the Oil Flowing

Sunday, July 29, 2007 Ė AM

By Pastor Jim May

Oil Ė the very word brings forth images of gushing wells of black gold as it comes out of the ground. It is a source of wealth, energy and power for our world. Without oil, most of the things that you enjoy as a part of every day life would simply not exist in their present form.

Oil is used in the production of everything from ink pens, plastic spoons, those little foam dinner plates that we use so often, to the circuit boards in every piece of electronic equipment on the planet. Without oil, we would be powerless, reduced to using coal, steam and wood-burning stoves and heaters. How many of you would like to go back to living like they did before oil came on the scene?

In this day and time, life moves at a swift pace, and we just canít seem to slow down until we are forced to. If you are still trying to get the most out of life that you can, it is just a non-stop rat race. And it doesnít seem to do much good to stop and smell the roses, especially when they are all plastic Ė made from oil. Probably, the vast majority of the money you make is spent on oil products and by-products.

But today I want to talk to you about another kind of oil. Over in the book of I Kings we find the story of a man of God by the name of Elijah. He was a man among men; a man called by God to speak for God at a time when Israel was ruled by the worst king in its history. That kingís name was Ahab and he had a queen whose very name personifies evil and idolatry. She was from the land of the Zidonians, a people who worshipped an idol god by the name of Baal, and she was one mean, ornery, hateful, self-centered woman. She had King Ahab wrapped around her little finger and through her influence Israel was plunged into one of the darkest periods of its history.

Elijah served the Living God, not some dead idol. He lived in Godís presence, and walked in Godís presence, and he was close enough to God that he could call upon God whenever he needed to. He was a man of great faith; a man of prayer; and a man of power.

He had made Ahab and Jezebel mad by pronouncing a drought upon Israel for the space of three years because of the idolatry of Israel.

The rain that fell upon Israel was a form of ďanointing oilĒ upon the land. The rain that fell brought life and prosperity to Israel, and Godís blessings were upon them. But there came a time when Godís hand of blessing was lifted from them because they began to worship Baal. Another god had taken the place of the Living God in the hearts of the people.

Elijah spoke the word and the anointing rain ceased to fall. Godís judgments were upon the land and the wayward people. The land no more brought forth its abundant harvest. The little that they had began to dwindle away until nothing was left. Little by little, the wealth and power of Ahab was disappearing. There was unrest among the people, and as the drought continued,