Summary: Learning to know and listen to God’s voice over all others.
BIG LESSONS IN SMALL PACKAGES
Part 3—Listening to the Right Voice
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Pastor Brian Matherlee
One of my favorite stories is about Chippie the parakeet. Chippie was a happy little bird, content every day to sit on his perch, swinging and singing to his little heart’s content. One day Chippie’s owner took the initiative to clean out his cage. She took off the attachment from the end of the vacuum hose and stuck it in the cage to remove the sediment from the bottom. Just then the phone rang. She turned to pick it up and had barely said hello when "ssopp!" Chippie got sucked in! As you can imagine, the bird owner gasped, dropped the phone, turned off the vacuum and ripped open the bag. Inside, there lay Chippie, still alive but stunned by the trauma. The bird was covered with all the terrible grit and grime that fills vacuum bags, so the owner did the only thing she could think to do. She grabbed him up, raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under running water. Then realizing poor little Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any good bird owner would do, she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the little guy with hot air. Poor Chippie never knew what hit him. A couple of days after the experience the reporter who first wrote about the event talked to Chippie’s owner. He asked how the bird was doing. She said, "Well Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore-he just sits and stares." It’s no wonder. One minute the little guy was swinging and singing, and before he knew it, he was sucked in, washed up and blown over. If that doesn’t turn your song into a blank stare, nothing will. (From Max Lucado, In The Eye Of The Storm, p. 11)
Today we’re going to examine a portion of the life of the prophet Elijah. Elijah was a man very close to God and yet experienced ups and downs in life that baffle the mind when you read his story. But his experience can help us if we are relating to Chippie a lot this morning.
Read 1 Kings 19:9-18
Elijah was focused on his troubles and first listened to the big negative voices…
1. My problems are not fair (19:10, “I have been very zealous)
a. Elijah was, in effect, saying to God, “I’ve been fighting your battles—where have you been?”
b. Difficulties in this life are not a matter of fairness.
c. We can listen to the little voice that says, “All your living for God isn’t getting you anywhere.”
d. We will have trouble for several reasons:
i. We bring it on ourselves
ii. We live in a fallen world and we get caught in other people’s messes
iii. Others seek to make trouble for us
2. My problems have left me alone
a. Elijah was telling himself he was the only one
b. When we tell ourselves we are the only one we play into our enemy’s hands.
c. The devil wants to isolate us from others and from the Lord.
d. Divide and conquer (derived from the Latin saying Divide et impera) Divide and rule, in politics, sociology and economics, a strategy to gain or maintain power
e. The feeling of loneliness is one of the four danger signs of falling into temptation (HALT-Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired)
3. My problems are too big (19:4)
a. Elijah despaired even of life.
b. If you’re struggling at all…if you’ve reached this place of despair, hold on and listen for the next few minutes to the good news from Elijah’s story.
When you need to overcome a tough situation recognize:
1. God is patient & gracious with our struggles
a. Elijah was pretty insolent in his approach and conversation with God.
b. God knows our struggles and is exceedingly patient with us.
c. He knows we need time to come around.
d. But we cannot presume on God’s grace. Elijah did seek an answer and we must seek after the Lord.
2. Be patient and wait on the answer God wants to give
a. Don’t short change God’s timing
b. Don’t look for the dramatic answer
c. Keys to knowing God’s will
i. Time in prayer
ii. Time in God’s Word
iii. Seek wise counsel (not just a yes man but someone who will stand up to you)
3. God has a solution for your problems
a. You’ll have to face them but God will be with you.
b. Charlie Brown said, “There’s no problem so big that I can’t run from it.”
c. God will put them in perspective (7,000 have not bowed the knee)
d. What you have fought or hoped for will be completed.