Summary: My goal today is; 1st to challenge us to honestly reflect on our personal knowledge of God and 2nd to send all of us on a fast pursuit to know God better. (I kings - pt 5)
LIFE’S ULTIMATE PURSUIT"
TEXT: 1 KINGS 18
One of the most powerful scenes in the bible is the prophet Elijah going 1 on 450 -- against the prophets of the false god Baal.
Elijah prepares his altar - soaks it down 3 times, and then prays to God -- and God sends down fire that not only burns up the sacrifice but also burns up the wood, the stone, the soil and even licked up the water in the trench.
It was a powerful display of God’s power...
Listen to the prayer that Elijah prayed:
"O LORD, GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND ISRAEL, LET IT BE KNOWN TODAY THAT YOU ARE GOD IN ISRAEL AND THAT IA M YOU SERVANT AND HAVE DONE ALL THESE THINGS AT YOUR COMMAND. ANSWER ME, SO THESE PEOPLE WILL KNOW THAT YOU O LORD ARE GOD, AND THAT YOU ARE TURNING THEIR HEARTS BACK TO YOU."
There is a statement in that prayer that intrigues me... One that makes me kind of scratch my head and ask the question, What does Elijah mean when he says, "SO THESE PEOPLE WILL KNOW THAT YOU, O LORD ARE GOD"?
I mean didn’t these people know God? After all they are God’s people they bare His name. They had been God’s people for over a thousand years, He delivered from bondage in Egypt. Had this people really forgotten God and therefore didn’t know Him anymore?
That’s what I want to talk about today, "KNOWING GOD." And as we study the condition of the people on Mt Carmel who bore God’s name that day and their knowledge or lack of knowledge, of God, we will see that they closely parallel the condition of many who bare God’s name today...
More important then the food we eat, the air we breathe, more important than anything else is our knowledge of God -- My goal today is twofold; first to challenge us to honestly reflect on our own personal knowledge of God -- and second to send all of us on a fast pursuit to know God better. To make knowing God the Creator and Redeemer of mankind -- our number one main pursuit in life.
And to help break the ground on this ultimate pursuit -- "KNOWING GOD" we will answer 5 questions.
THE FIRST QUESTION IS,
1. DOES GOD WANT TO BE KNOWN?
This is an important and vital question, because if God does not want us to know Him -- no matter how hard we try we will not find Him.
Does God want to be known by man, by you -- by me? Yes He does. You see God is not some cosmic hide and seek player who is stashed in the bushes saying to us "your getting warmer, your getting warmer...as we fumble around in the dark trying to find him" No God is not trying to hide from us -- but has rather disclosed Himself to us... You see, God wants us to know Him.... And I am grateful that he does....
A. The created world itself, speaks to God’s desire to be known....
The Psalmists writes in Ps 19, "THE HEAVENS DECLARE THE GLORY OF GOD, THE SKIES PROCLAIM THE WORK OF HIS HANDS. DAY AFTER DAY THEY POUR FORTH SPEECH; NIGHT AFTER NIGHT THEY DISPLAY KNOWLEDGE..."
And the apostle Paul writes in the first chapter of Romans, "SINCE WHAT MAY BE KNOW ABOUT GOD IS PLAIN TO THEM, BECAUSE GOD HAS MADE IT PLAIN TO THEM. FOR SINCE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD GOD’S INVISIBLE QUALITIES -- HIS ETERNAL POWER AND DIVINE NATURE -- HAVE BEEN CLEARLY SEEN, BEING UNDERSTOOD FROM WHAT HAS BEEN MADE, SO THAT MEN ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE..."
B. And God has not only revealed himself to man in His creation, but He has also revealed Himself to man personally/directly...
Right from the beginning it was God’s desire to be known by man -- the crown of His creation.
We are told that in the garden God walked with Adam and Eve...
Later we see God walking with Enoch, speaking with Noah, calling Abraham, wrestling with Jacob and appearing to Moses in the burning bush.... Throughout the Old Testament in events like these and in many others like: God giving His people His law -- sending the prophets, performing great miracles and in inspiring the written word of God. It is readily apparent that God desires that His people know Him -- that they know what He is like... God has given us glimpses of His majesty.
Paul when he spoke in Athens to the intellectuals of the day, said this about God’s dealings with man.
"FROM ONE MAN HE MADE EVERY NATION OF MEN, THAT THEY SHOULD INHABIT THE WHOLE EARTH; AND HE DETERMINED THE TIMES SET FOR THEM AND THE EXACT PLACES WHERE THEY SHOULD LIVE. GOD DID THIS SO THAT MEN WOULD SEEK HIM AND PERHAPS FIND HIM, THOUGH HE IS NOT FAR FROM EACH OF US. FOR IN HIM WE LIVE AND MOVE AND HAVE OUR BEING.."