Summary: Elijah’s response in the midst of Northern KIngdom Living
Following God in the midst of Northern Kingdom Living 1 Kings 17-19
Illustration: My experience is that many people do not live out of their relationship with God. They have believed God for salvation from hell, but not salvation in this life.
Ask is there anyone that does not understand what I am speaking about? Romans 5:10; “we shall be saved by His life”.
Begs the question, saved from what? Having to depend upon my own ‘flesh’ to live as a Christian in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.
Today we are going to look at another Old Testament prophet that found himself right in the middle of such a people. Did he depend upon his flesh or God? To add to the issue these were God’s covenant people. Elijah followed God in this environment I call “northern kingdom living”.
Why do I refer to it as the northern Kingdom?
Life in the Northern Kingdom:
1. NOT SUBMISSIVE NOR SURRENDERED TO THE AUTHORITY AND DOMINION OF GOD;
1 Kings 3:1-3; every thing was fine EXCEPT FOR just two little things; and now go to 11:1-4; do we now see where these two little things lead him?
There is an interesting phrase; “ his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord” as David his father was; (no matter wherever David found himself he still had a warmth and respect and surrender to God, Solomon never had that kind of heart)
After Solomon’s death the kingdoms divided. Ten of the tribes became the Northern Kingdom called Israel;
IS THIS SOMETHING YOU CAN IDENTIFY WITH? Do you live in the midst of this? Is there an element of this in our own lives, this element I call Northern Kingdom Living?
2. Chapter 12; tells us about the split. Cutting themselves off from God resulted in a HUGE SPIRTUAL DECLINE IN THE NORTHERN KINGDOM TRIBES.
From 12-16 we see the results of these two major choices;
Finally the most wicked king to this point comes on the scene, AHAB; 16:29-34;
22 years of his reign; one of the major decision he made: allowed the rebuilding of Jericho
3. Even though the Bible does not say Jericho is a type or even a metaphor it does symbolize the “flesh”. It was a fortified city that stood in the path of the Israelites as they entered the “promised land”. It was utterly destroyed with a curse upon it; and a ban upon the contents; anyone rebuilding the city would lose the relationship of the first-born and the last-born.
Now we have here in these chapters the Northern Kingdom at is height: a non submissive people, a spiritual decline no one depending on God for anything; and a King that has even defied God by rebuilding Jericho; WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU ARE GOD?
God is a god of grace, he has always been, so what does grace do? He does not abandon His people; he is going to let them know that even though they have cut themselves off from Him, He has not cut Himself off from them.
HE WILL BRING DISCIPLINE INTO THEIR LIVES IN A SEVERE WAY TO LET THEM KNOW HE STILL CARES FOR THEM; HIS PLANS HAVE NOT CHANGED;
Chapter 17; We see Him sending Elijah; Now our issue this morning is not what God did in the way of discipline and judgment, but for us to see:
HOW ELIJAH RESPONDED IN THE MIDST OF SUCH PEOPLE AND LEADERSHIP; HOW DID HE FOLLOW GOD IN THE MIDST OF NORTHERN KINGDOM LIVING?
1. Living out of his relationship with God he: HELD FAST THE WORD OF LIFE; 17:2-24; note how many times “the word of the Lord came to him: and what did it provide for him?
a. Direction; when everyone else was going to a different river God sent Him to a brook
a. He was able to witness a daily miracle
b. Was proven to be true v24
c. Paul 4000 years later encourages the Philippians in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation to “hold fast the word of life” some things I have ‘held on to in the midst of my Northern Kingdom experience: Romans 8: 31-38 ‘nothing can separate me from the love of God; 2 Cor. 2:14; Phil. 4:10-13; Romans 8:28-29;
In holding fast the word of life; you may experience the brook that dries up, but you will expertise God’s’ provision; and ultimately life while everyone else is experiencing death due to the drought; SO WE SEE THAT ELIJAH HELD FAST THE WORD OF LIFE IN THE MIDST OF NORTHERN KINGDOM LIVING;
2. He also LIVED IN COMPLETE SURRENDER TO GOD THROUGH THE DROUGHT; CHAPTER 18: 1-2; for him to go and be obedient to God with these circumstances is a testimony of surrender. How many of us would have gone back? Don’t speak too quickly? Some of you may have been asked to do something or to “go back” into a drought so to speak in a relationship, did you go? It was not an easy thing he asks Elijah to do. We know the story and how it turns out but Elijah only knew that he was to go back and God would send rain; He would provide, Elijah had to trust God with Ahab and all the other elements of this circumstance; this kind of trust only comes when a person will live in complete surrender to God. Trusting him with all of the things that have to be done etc. Elijah, WALKING IN DEPENDENCE FOR THREE AND ONE HALF YEARS OBVIOUSLY BROUGHT THIS KIND OF TRUST;