THE TALE OF TWO HERO-COWARDS
This morning, I want us to take a look at two great figures in the Bible- one is from the Old Testament, who was named ‘Jehovah is my God’- i.e. Elijah (and the meaning of his name is actually ‘Jehovah is my God’). The other is from the New Testament and he has an interesting name too- he is called ‘Rock’. I am referring to Peter; the meaning of his name is rock.
I want us to do a comparative analysis of some aspects of their characters and experiences (i.e. we are going to compare these two fellows) as we re-examine the two Bible stories that have been read to us by Chi Chi and Denise from First Kings chapter 19 verses 1 to 16 and Matthew chapter 14 verses 22 to 33. Therefore, the topic we will be looking at is:
The Tale of Two Hero-Cowards
Let us pray: Lord increase our faith to trust your word this morning. In your Name we pray- amen.
Brother Eric and I will do some power point presentation as we compare these two guys- Elijah and Peter.
As we try to cover this topic, which you will see in slide 1, I want us to think of this riddle on slide 2:
What is greater than God? More evil than Satan?
I hope you will come up with the answer at the end of the day. Now let’s examine a couple of slides i.e. slides 3 to 7 on the sub topic:
Elijah and Peter- a Comparative Analysis of Some Aspects of their Characters and Experiences
Acts of Bravery/Heroism Boldly challenged 450 prophets of Baal (First Kings chapter 18 verses 16 to 45) Braved it out of the boat to walk on water (Matthew chapter 14 verses 28 to 29)
Experiences of God’s miracles Exercised faith and saw God’s miracles- fire came down from heaven and rain poured after three years of drought (First Kings chapter 18 verses 36 to 45) Glaringly saw the feeding of over 5,000 people (Matthew chapter 14 verses 13 to 21)
Cowardice- the cause of their show of little faith He heard/listened to Jezebel’s threat and believed it (First Kings chapter 19 verses 1 to 2) He ‘saw’ the wind or took notice of it and believed its power (Matthew chapter 14 verse 30)
The outcome of their little faith Flight/fleeing (First Kings chapter 19 verse 3) Sinking/drowning (Matthew chapter 14 verse 30)
Despite the outcome of their little faith, God still reached out to both of them. In the case of Elijah, he had a celestial chef. In First Kings chapter 19 verse 5b, we are told ‘all at once an angel touched him and said, “get up and eat”. Then the Lord appeared to him and this you will find in verses 9 to 18. For Peter, we are told in Matthew chapter 14 verse 31- ‘immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him...’
The experiences and dispositions of these two fellows, to some extent, mirror my own experiences and attitudes to challenges, difficulties or hard times.
I believe all of us here have experienced great miracles of God’s interventions in our lives. The fact that we are alive is a miracle. Definitely if ‘we count our blessings and name them one by one...’ we can cite many miracles God has done in our individual lives.
But when challenges, difficulties or hardships come (that may perhaps threatened our very existence may be at your place of work or your home), we are quick to forget the miracles of God and we easily lose sight of Jesus because of what we have heard and seen; as in the case of Peter. We then begin to believe what we have seen and heard instead of what God had done for us in the past. Subsequently, we fail to remember what God has said to us from the Bible, i.e. His good promises over our lives. For example, in the case of Peter, he forgot the command of Jesus. Jesus had told him in verse 29 to ‘come’. He failed to recall that Jesus’ words are yea and amen and that His word will never return to him void but will accomplish the purpose for which it is sent (see Isaiah chapter 55 verses 10 to 11). Or like Elijah, we quickly forget that Jehovah is God and there is no one like Him.
When we ‘listen’ to and ‘see’ the challenges that Satan bring on our way to the point that we believe that the problems are greater than God; we are bound to flee instead of facing the problem in the strength of the Lord and we are sure to be drowned or overwhelmed by the problems when we take our focus off Jesus.
My brothers and sisters in the Lord, I don’t know the nature of your challenges. But what I know, there is no one or nothing greater than God!
The hymnist Johnson Oatman (Jnr) said:
‘when upon life’s billows you are tempted thus
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost’
We must do one thing:
‘count your many blessings and see what that Lord has done’
And I will add, reflect on God’s past blessings or miracles in your life and it will surprise you to see what God will do with your current challenge/s.
Oatman went on to say:
‘So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end’
Finally my brothers and sisters, if we have been in fear and show of cowardice because of the challenges we are faced with, our tale or story should change. Let us be brave and be heroes and heroines for Jesus when challenges come. For there is NOTHING greater than God!
So what is the answer to the riddle?
What is greater than God? More evil than Satan?
The answer is NOTHING.
Let us pray- Lord increase our faith in you, that we may trust your word in every challenge, difficulty or bad situation we are faced with. We ask this prayer, in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit- amen.