Summary: This sermon speaks of the unsettling times in our life when things are ALMOST but NOT YET. It is a time of not knowing how things will work out for us and that time creates feelings of fear, anixiety, and apprehension. Elijah experienced such a time.
Valley Grove A/G
July 21, 2013
“Living Without Fear in
In the previous chapter the Prophet Elijah saw God send rain on the land where there had been no rain for three long years. He then went to Jezreel. King Ahab told Jezebel all that had happened and how the prophets of Baal had been slain. She was furious over it and sent a message to Elijah. “Let the gods do to me and more also if I do not make thy life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time” (I Kings 19:2). At that Elijah was fearful. He had seen God do the miraculous in bringing rain, but now he had a prediction of impending doom upon his life. He was living in an ‘in-between’ time where he might not survive Jezebel’s wrath by this time tomorrow.
1. What is an ‘In-Between Time’: How could you describe an ‘in-between’ time? An ‘in-between’ time is almost but not yet. We are still waiting to see what will happen. Elijah was still waiting to see if Jezebel would carry out her threats. An ‘in-between’ time could be either a time of waiting on good things to happen or not so good things. We all live in such times when things are almost but not yet. For example, it is spring but not yet summer. School is almost out but not yet. It is almost vacation time but not yet. Still have to get up and go to work a few more days. We place a catalog order, and it has been shipped. It is almost here but not yet. We enter a contest and the winner is to be announced on the first day of the month. It is almost but not yet time for the announcement. We have had tests run and should hear from the doctor’s office in a week. It is almost but not yet. You get the picture.
What happens during this ‘in-between’ time? It can cause us to experience a variety of feelings—apprehension, fear, uneasiness. The unknown ‘in-between’ times are unsettling to us. It raises our anxiety level just as it did Elijah’s. It caused him to be fearful—so much so---that he left town in a hurry. He was not only fearful but was depressed and exhausted. He went a day’s journey into the wilderness and sat down under a juniper tree. He wanted to die. He said, “Enough is enough. I’m no better than my ancestors.” As you can see, he was not handling this ‘in-between’ time very well. This is a time that the devil can beat us down in spite of all the great things that God has already done for us in the past. Sometimes this time is when we slip up and sin and then the devil comes and tells us, “You have lost your testimony. You might as well just give up, quit doing to church, just give up.” Scripture tells us to be aware of how the devil works on us during these ‘In-between’ times. In Rev. 12:10 he is referred to as the “accuser of the brethren.” He will tell us when we are feeling anxious over things, “you are not a Christian, look how you snapped back at your co-worker, look how you were dishonest, look how…and he tries to make us think that we can’t live a Christian life.” All of these previous good things melt into a sense of discouragement. Elijah was in such a state as this when he took a nap under the juniper tree. Later a ministering angel said to him, “Elijah, rise and eat.” God had not abandoned him, and he will not abandon us in the ‘in-between’ times we face.
God’s people have always faced the unknown and have survived because of God’s support. Elijah received help from the angel and ate the food that was there for him. He took another nap, and the angel was still there. When he woke him the second time, the angel said, “Arise and eat for the journey is too great for you.” This is a good indication to us that the Lord sticks with us in our “in-between’ times for however long it takes to pull us out of our slump. The Lord doesn’t say, “hurry up and pull yourself out of your pity party.”
Scripture says, “for he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). God knows when we are wrestling with an ‘in-between time.”
2. God Knows the Details: God know the specific details of events that are to happen in our world and in our lives. Years before Jesus came to earth, the plan was already in place for Him to be our Savior. It was not an after thought. It was all the time unfolding. God knows the details of our life whether or not we know or see them.