Summary: Elijah's encounter with God
All Scripture quoted in this lesson is from The Bible by Jesus unless otherwise noted
A. INTRODUCTION: A DISCOURAGED ELIJAH NEEDS DIRECTION: 1 KINGS 19:1-16
1. Encouragement the great day in Elijah’s ministry, i.e., fire from heaven on Mt. Carmel, 450 Baal prophets killed, God breaks 3 ½ years famine with a thunderstorm.
2. Discouragement BBJ page 428-429 1 Kings 19:1-16.
B. SEVEN DESCRIPTIONS ABOUT ELIJAH’S ENCOUNTER WITH GOD
1. God encounters those who are running.
a. Crossed two nations and 316.3 miles into desert.
b. Was Elijah running from danger or God?
c. Mental – discouraged, frustrated.
d. Suicide. “Take my life” (19:4).
e. Needed physical strength. “He ate some baked bread . . . drank some water and went back to sleep” (19:6).
2. God asked questions, not because he wants information, but to teach us something. “Why are you here Elijah? (1 Kings 19:9).
a. Encouragement with His presence.
b. Get eyes off self.
c. God wanted Elijah to face his conscience and calling. God had called him to minister (17:2). Elijah’s life was directed by “the word of the Lord” (17:2).
d. Running for wrong reason.
3. A physical fast from food is associated with encountering God. “Eat . . . because He would need strength for the journey” (19:7).
a. Some fast after encountering God (Paul).
b. Principle – eat before a fast.
c. Forced fast because of desert. “He arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb” (19:8, KJV).
4. Get ready to encounter God.
a. Needed strength. “He slept in a cave” (19:9).
b. Remembered his calling. “The word of the Lord came to Him” (19:9). Does God have a special place to encounter us? “Geographical anointing.”
5. Does God lower His voice to get our attention?
a. God didn’t use His control of weather. “But I the Lord, was not in the wind” (19:11).
b. God doesn’t use His power. “After the wind an earthquake” (19:11, KJV).
c. God didn’t use fire to change or destroy. “But I the Lord was not in the fire” (19:12).
d. “Then Elijah heard a soft whisper” (19:12).
e. It’s not how loud, but what God says that is important.
f. Why? To get us to stop, be still and pay attention. “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10, KJV).
g. People won’t see an encounter with God or appreciate it. “He covered His face with his cloak” (19:13).
6. Sometimes direction to a task is the best thing to break discouragement or self-pity.
a. Rationalization will not help discouragement.
b. An appeal to the mind or emotions won’t help; get their feet and hands working.
c. Work is sometimes therapeutic.
d. But not just work, there must be a task meaningful to them and helpful to others. “Appoint Hazael king over Syria . . . Jehu . . . king of Israel, and Elisha . . . to be My prophet in your place” (19:15-16).
7. You get hope, encouragement and direction from an encounter with God, not from circumstances.
a. For 3 ½ years God used ravens to feed Elijah and the brook Cherith dried up.
b. Elijah went to Zeraphath and God use a widow to feed him, her son died.
c. God did miracles on Mt. Carmel, then Jezebel threatened to kill him.
d. After encountering God, Elijah’s greatest ministry.
e. Don’t pray too small, i.e., “to die.” Elijah didn’t die. He went to heaven in a fiery chariot.
f. See God’s big picture. “I have 7,000 in Israel who have not worshipped Baal” (19:18).
Our vision may discourage us, God’s vision encourages us.
C. SEVEN LESSONS
1. God may encounter you, even when you are running away (Jonah).
2. God may question you about your motivation.
3. You may want to fast when encountering God.
4. You won’t always like what God tells you in an encounter with Him.
5. You can break discouragement and pessimism with action.
6. You will pay better attention when God whispers (or you can’t hear Him).
7. After encountering God, follow Him to a fruitful service.
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.