Summary: God is always at work in his world and in his people.
- Stacey’s gonna kill me for sharing this story. But, I just have to. One winter several years ago, Stacey and I were traveling from Colorado to her home in Arkansas. Now the route that you take to make that trip is Interstate 70 which runs from the Western border of Kansas all the way to the Eastern part of Kansas. And if you have never been on that Interstate, then you are a blessed individual, because it is the most boring stretch of interstate in the entire country (except for the -- you can find along the way.) So we driving along on I70, it’s the middle of winter, and the weather is terrible. It didn’t start off bay, but halfway into our trip, the freezing rain started falling, and the roads were getting slicker and slicker and Stacey was driving. Now I had dozed off when it all started, but I was quickly awakened, when I heard a gasp come from the driver’s side. And I quickly realized that we had just done a 360 degree turn on the shoulder of the interstate and the nose of our car was facing the ditch along the side of the road. Talk about feeling out of control. Anybody who has lost control of their car on an icy road knows exactly how that feels. When you want one thing, but your car is doing something completely different.
- Sometimes that is how our life feels. Out of control. And sometimes there are times when it seems the world is out of control. And that maybe even God is not in control anymore, but has gone silent on us. Maybe we don’t say it, but often that’s how we feel.
- Like when we turn on our TV’s and we see immoral lifestyles being not only accepted but celebrated. Like when we see evil people do evil things and get away with it. When we see racism still alive, and injustice and dishonesty getting the upper hand. When we see these things, we wonder, why does God remain silent? Is he in control anymore?
- Or in our own personal lives. When we see a loved one suffer and suffer with cancer or Alzheimers, and we wonder why God doesn’t just take them? Or when we are criticized and condemned for doing what is right. Or when our children reject and rebel from everything you taught them growing up. Whenever things like this happen, we wonder, why does God remain silent? Is he in control anymore?
- Well, Elijah was asking the same questions. We have to remember something as we look at the life of Elijah. We have to remember that though he is a great prophet, he is still a human prophet, with human weaknesses, and human frailties, like all of us. And in I Kings 19 we see this more than ever.
- Let me remind you what has happened leading up to this point. Elijah went before the wicked King Ahab to give him the message that there would be no rain in the land for years. Elijah is sent into seclusion and then he spends several years with a widow in Zarephat. Then in chapter 18, God brings Elijah to confront Ahab. And on Mt Carmel we read about the battle of the gods. One one side are the 450 prophets of Baal and on the other side is Elijah and the Lord. It is the Lord who answered by fire and the people cried out, "The Lord- He is God! The Lord- He is God!" You see the people who witnessed fire come screaching down from heaven to consume the altar, the soil, the water and the stones realized that it was the Lord who had performed such a miracle. And so when Elijah commands these same people to seize all of the prophets of Baal and Asherah (as he does in I Kings 18:40) and to throw them in the Kishon Valley to be killed. The people quickly respond.
- And after all of this takes place, Elijah goes to Ahab and tells him to go home and get ready because the 3 and a half year drought is about to come to an end. So Ahab races home to his summer palace which is located in Jezreel, and Elijah goes also, even beats Ahab back. And listen to what happens back at the palace... (19:1-2)
- It’s hard to believe that Elijah, this great man of God, who had just witnessed fire come from heaven, who had just confronted the 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah, who had just stared down the King of Israel would be afraid of this woman, this wife of Ahab, this Jezebel. On writing about this, an author once said,