Summary: In this message I look at some of the many places we go to find God and discuss why they do not work. Where do we find God? Elijah gives us the answers.
“Looking for God in all the Wrong Places”
1st Kings 19:1-3
Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the man who had lost his keys and he was standing at the edge of the street right underneath a street lamp looking for his keys. A neighbor saw him and walked over to help. After a few minutes he said to him, “exactly where was it you dropped your keys?” He says well I was in my house. He says well then why are you looking out here? He says because the lights are better out here. It is a truth that we have known for a long time ... you will never find what you are looking for unless you look in the right place. Many people today are looking for God but they are looking for Him in all the wrong places.
All of us have difficult times we go through when we begin to feel a bit lost; we need direction on this road of life. We sometimes live such driven lives that we honestly do not know how to slow down. This seemed to be the case with Elijah in our text today. He is so driven, so desperate, do discouraged that the Bible tells us that he came to a broom tree which is pictures here on the screen...Elijah sat down under the tree and prayed that he might die. Elijah is considered to be one of the most powerful prophets, preachers in all the OT.
In the previous chapter we have what has been referred to as the God contest. Elijah went before the people and said to them, “how long will you waver between two opinions?” He says, “if the Lord is God then follow Him, if Baal is God then follow him. The people then became suddenly quiet. Elijah then says I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has 450 prophets. So he challenges them and says bring two bulls to be sacrificed. Stack a large pile of wood and place them on it but don’t set fire to it. Then you call on your god and I’ll call on my God and we will see which one will send fire down from heaven to consume this sacrifice. So they agreed to do it.
Those who worshiped Baal had the first chance. They brought the sacrifices. They built the altar and called on Baal until noon that day. No response. Elijah is so confident that he actually begins to taunt him. He says, “shout louder to your god, maybe your god is in deep thought or maybe he’s busy or maybe he is on a trip and not here right now or maybe he is just asleep. The people continued to shout to their god, now it was evening. No response. No answer. Just silence.
Then Elijah says take 12 stones and build an altar to God. Then he dug a trench around it to hold water. H then tells them to fill it up, then again and again a 3rd time and so now the trench is filled with water. Then he prayed to our God and asked God to send down fire from heaven. Then we see what happens in 18:38-39. Now Elijah leaves this scene and the scripture says that the power of the Lord came upon Elijah. Elijah took his cloak, tucked it into his belt and ran all the way to the city of Jezreel. Word gets out of Elijah’s experience on Mt. Carmel and then Jezebel threatens to kill Elijah. Elijah is so afraid that he runs for his life .... he goes a day’s journey into the desert, comes to this broom tree and he sat down and prayed that he might die, now write this truth down.
1. Standing for God sometimes makes us feel like we are standing alone. There are more of us who are lonely than would like to admit it. We think no one understands us and we cry out inside for someone who will understand. Many people feel they have no one to talk to. It is said that over 1/3 of Americans deal with these feelings at some time. I think it’s more like 90-100% who deal with it.
2. A 2nd truth is this. God takes over when our strength is gone. We are weak when God is at His best. You and I serve a God who is very practical. Elijah is down, he’s weak, he’s tired so God sends a messenger, an angel who touches him and then says get up and eat. Elijah looked around and there by his head in the place where he was resting was a cake of hot bread and a jar of water. So he ate and then he laid down again. Then the angel comes back and touches him again and says, get up and eat and drink and he did and he had so much strength then that he traveled 40 days and 40 nights to Horeb which is known as the Mt. Of God and he goes into a cave and spends the night. Now let me ask you a question ... has there ever been a time in your life when you felt like the journey was too much to bear? You felt alone, you were weak, perhaps hurt by the actions of someone and you thought I can’t do this anymore. If you can identify with that feeling then you really need to listen to this next point.