Summary: God wants us to turn to him in everything.
- I love the true story of a small town in Kentucky which had two churches and a bar owned by a devout and well known atheist. It seems that one night the people from the two churches called a special prayer meeting and spent the whole night praying that the bar would close down. Well, lo and behold, that very night, around midnight a storm blew in, and lightning struck the bar and burnt it down to the ground. Well the churches were elated; but, obviously the atheist who owned the bar wasn’t. And to make matters worst, the insurance company told him they wouldn’t cover the damages because it was "an act of God" not covered by the company. So the owner took the two churches to court to sue them for damages, which they claimed they weren’t responsible for.
- The presiding judge said and I quote "This is the most perplexing case I have ever sat on because on one hand I have an atheist who claims to believe in the power of prayer and on the other hand I have two churches that deny it"
- Well, I wonder sometimes if I were on trial. If my belief in the power of prayer were on trial, would I be guilty or not guilty. Really, we claim to believe that prayer works, that prayer changes things, that prayer has power.... but do we really, truly believe what we say, what we claim. Do we really believe in the power of prayer? I’m not so sure sometimes.
- I think that we unfortunately have a faulty view of prayer. And the faulty view is this... we often view prayer as the Last Resort. The last option among many options. And so we say things like this...
"Well poor Aunt Susie has really been suffering lately. She’s tried everything to get better, she’s gone to the doctors, she’s taken pill after pill, she’s even tried strapping on magnets, but nothing seems to be working. So I guess all we can do now is pray for her."
- Or we here that someone’s going through a tough time, and we ask if there is anything we can do for them. And they say, "No there’s really nothing you can do. Thanks any way." And then we say, "Well, I guess I can at least pray for you." At least, is that the least we can do for them. Or is that the most we can do for them.
- You see, so often prayer is a last resort, a last option. It’s something we hope can bail us out of tough times when nothing else seems to be working. But prayer is intended to be much more than that.
- As we continue to look at Elijah’s life, a life that has learned to trust in a God who is worthy of our trust. We now turn to I Kings 1 where I think we will see ourselves for a moment. Now that King Ahab is out of the picture, remember he suffered an arrow and the dogs licked up his blood. Now that he is out of the picture, in steps King Ahaziah, King Ahab’s son. And in I Kings 22:51, we read that the acorn does not fall far from the tree. Or as they say, "Like father like son." Read vss 51ff
- Only 2 years he reigned, not much time to do much of anything. But we do read about the end of his reign in chapter 1. And in chapter 1 verse 2, we read that King Ahaziah had an unfortunate accident. Read verse 2. Not much detail, but however it happened, and whatever the results may have been, the accident was so serious and caused so much damage that King Ahaziah was fearful for his life. He was afraid he might die as a result of this fall. And it is this fear, that prompts Ahaziah to do something that would really be the end for him.
- What does Ahaziah do? Well the rest of verse 2 tells us that... read verse 2
- Ekron was a major city of the Philistines, the country along the Great Sea coast. And this god, Baal-Zebub, which literally means "Lord of the Flies" was obviously known for its power to tell the future. To foresee things to come. And so Ahaziah falls into the trap of fortune-telling. If he were alive today, then he would be picking up his phone and dialing, "1-900-???-????" Or if he were alive today, he would be having a candle-lit seiance and asking the Ouija board to answer the one burning question... "Will I live or will I die?"
- It was a deadly decision he makes, to consult this false god of Ekron. A god whose name over time would eventually be associated with Satan himself. In fact, in the NT, in places like Matthew 12, the Pharisees and Jewish leaders accuse Jesus of being possessed by "Beelzebub, the Prince of Demons." What we have to remember, is God despised such acts of witchcraft and sorcery. It was all too common in the land of Israel. And that’s why God gives such stern warnings to his people, like in...