Summary: Message dealing with some of the "caves" we as Christians hide in to get away from the work God has called us to do.
Times and seasons of disillusionment come into all of our lives, and often threaten to overwhelm us with a loss of hope and vision that we will barely make it through the night, let alone, live in victory in the days and years that lie ahead.
It is clear from any honest reading of the Word of God that we as Christians are going to have trials and tribultations just like the next person, and seemingly at times, more than the next person.
Elijah had just witnessed the awesome power of God some days before as God had answered his prayers on Mt. Carmel in the great showdown with the followers of the false god Baal. Fire had come down from heaven and licked up the water surrounding the altar that had been prepared, and then as we know consumed the altar, and wood, and even the dust around it.
Following this mighty miracle, we go on to see that the Prophets of Baal were then killed in the great purging work that took place after God answered with fire.
Then we see Elijah prophesying that rain was going to fall on the land, and the long, hot dry famine was going to be dealt with by the rains from God’s heaven.
Elijah told Ahab to arise, and get something to eat, because he "heard the sound of an abundance of rain" - 1 Kings 18:41 - I am sure that Ahab must have thought, "I don’t hear anything, but to arise and eat sounds like a good idea"
I believe today that Elijah was listening with a different set of ears... the ears of faith!
On top of Mt. Carmel once again, Elijah told his servant to go and look out toward the sea, and declare what he sees.
The servant comes back with the exciting news..."There is nothing"
Elijah knows what he knows. He has heard the sound of an abundance of rain! He tells the servant to go back again, and again, and still the same message - "There is nothing",
But on the 7th time, He said "I see a little cloud rising out of the sea, like a man’s hand"
That’s it! - Tell Ahab to get moving! Ahab got in his chariot, and began to race toward the palace. It is believed that this was a 30 mile trip. Elijah got on his spirtual Nike’s and outran Ahab all the way back. Talk about a miracle.
The rains came! The dry thirsty land drank, and the parched soil received nourishment once again.
Elijah may have been thinking to himself that there was absolutely nothing that was impossible for God to do!
If there ever was anyone who was on a "spiritual high" it had to be Elijah at this moment in his life. To see the power of God manifested so greatly all around him, and then to have such an instrumental part to play in all that God was doing.
However, there is a powerful transition in this story that leads us and Elijah in a totally different direction:
And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.
Ahab no doubt burst into the palace, "Honey, guess what just happpened, you won’t believe it!" And then he began to tell her the story from the beginning, and really that’s all she needed to hear, as she declared these words:
Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.
One would think that Elijah would have rolled over in laughter at such a threat, but we read that he "ran for his life" vs. 3-
We go on to read in vs. 4 that he went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and there he sat down under a juniper tree, and cried out for God to "take his life" - Elijah had had enough!
Elijah experienced the depths of fatigue and discouragement just after his two great spiritual victories: the defeat of the prophets of Baal and the answered prayer for rain. Often discouragement sets in after great spiritual experiences, especially those requiring physical effort or involving great emotion. To lead him out of depression, God first let Elijah rest and eat.
Then, we see that another miracle of God’s sustaining power take place when Elijah went another 40 days and 40 nights on the strength of the food that he had just eaten.
It is said that this journey he went on was over 200 miles!
This is where we pick up our story tonight...