Summary: SERVING GOD IN CATACLYSMIC OCCURRENCES IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR COMMUNING WITH HIM ON A DAILY BASIS.
June 10, 2001 -- AM
GOD’S SLIENCE IN THE STORM OF DISCOURAGEMENT
(1) The world does not care if I die; it only cares that I get out of the way if I cannot compete.
(2) With God, dust can have a destiny and human frailty can be covered with eternal glory.
(3) To stand at a crossroads does not mean God has abandoned me. If not brings me to a crossroads, it is His business to get me beyond it.
(4) The wind was strong enough and concentrated enough that it tore rocks as Elijah watched from the opening of the cave. Yet God was not "in" the wind. The same is mentioned about the earthquake and the fire. The forces, powerful forces to say the least, did not harbor God’s presence nor signify His end in view. Because the Lord uses the wind on occasion, does not mean that every occurrence of wind is an example of His desire. God does not always operate in the realm of the spectacular.
PROPOSITION: SERVING GOD IN CATACLYSMIC OCCURRENCES IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR COMMUNING WITH HIM ON A DAILY BASIS.
Here are Four lessons from God’s silence in the storm before Elijah.
I. God lets life humble us (1- 4).
A. Elijah was riding the crest of a victory.
Elijah had just single-handedly overseen the embarrassment and execution of the devious prophets of Jezebel’s sinister Baal worship (chapter 18). In chapter 19, Elijah was blamed for the execution (1). No one else was charged with what had been done. Only Elijah was sought for the sake of revenge ("all that Elijah had done").
B. Elijah responded to threat in fear.
Jezebel threatened Elijah (2).
Elijah responded out of fear (3). He ran for his life. He felt inadequate to face the situation.
Note that he left his servant in Beer-sheba. Elijah was saying, "I want to get alone." He sensed his need to get alone before God and pray (4). Note that he went a day’s journey into the wilderness. Note that he sat down under a juniper tree. When a man or woman feels threatened and inadequate, the safest than most secure thing to do is get alone with God. Moses did it. Joshua did it. So did the prophets, the apostles, Paul, and even the Lord Jesus Himself. Why don’t we?
C. Elijah felt hypocritical.
Elijah was worn out and unfit to make decisions. He wanted another miracle. If he really wanted to die, Jezebel could accommodate him.
Note his feeling of hypocrisy: "I am no better than my fathers". His fathers were weak and now he felt weak. He was critical of them and now he was critical of himself. Do you ever get that way? Can you identify with Elijah?
Elijah realized that he was no better than "his fathers." He was brought down from pride (19: 4). Perhaps he had been critical and over confident.
D. Elijah wanted to die.
In verse four, Elijah requested to die. Now tell me that he did not feel bad. Tell me that he felt up to the situation. Tell me that he was just bubbling with the joy of the Lord. You know as well as I that he was hurting. You know very well that he was showing himself just as human and you and me.
Note also that he thought he could handle no more (it is enough!). He probably yelled this. He probably really uncorked on this statement.
Life can make us feel as if our actions make no difference (4).
Elijah laid his request before the Lord and trusted the answer to Him. Maybe deep down he did not want to die, but he felt like it a little closer to the surface. He just prayed. This was his way of calling for help. Too often we feel that God is unapproachable with our true feelings. We feel we have to put on a glossy exterior for Him so that we can pray.
When we feel that nothing we do matters we must listen for the voice of God and rely upon His power.
II. God takes over when our strength is gone (5-8).
A. It is no sin to rest when your spirit hurts.
Elijah laid down to sleep (5). Oh how much like Elijah I am. When I get depressed and frustrated, I find that after I pray hard, rest helps much. Elijah slept under the juniper tree, the place where he prayed. It was there than an angel touched him. Sometimes the Lord sends a message to you when and where you rest after leaving your troubles with Him. Elijah needed strength. The Lord fed him. When you need strength the Lord will feed you too. He may say a rise and eat. If you obey, you won’t regret it. It is no sin to get rest when your spirit hurts (6). The Lord knew that Elijah needed more strengthening and encouragement (7). Elijah was afraid and God gave him courage.