Summary: Each of us is important to God and God can use one person to make a difference.
One Sunday morning, a priest wakes up and decides to go golfing. He calls his boss and says that he feels very sick, and won't be able to go to work.
Way up in heaven, Saint Peter sees all this and asks God, ''Are you really going to let him get away with this?''
''No, I guess not,'' says God.
The priest drives about five to six hours away, so he doesn't bump into anyone he knows. The golf course is empty when he gets there. So he takes his first swing, drives the ball 495 yards away and gets a hole in one.
Saint Peter watches in disbelief and asks, '' Why did you let him do that?''
To this God says, ''Who's he going to tell?''
We all go through those periods of life where things just don’t go the way that we think they should. Life can get pretty dark, and if feels like we are all alone in the world. Intellectually we know that God is always there but since we can’t see Him, it can feel like He is distant and sometimes if we’re honest we’re wondering who’s side He’s on. The economy slows and jobs with it. The news from the doctor is bad. Your family is struggling. Life seems to be tougher then you are and it doesn’t seem like there’s anyone around who can help you. You feel lost and alone. Today we are going to talk about three men who God used when they seemed to be alone.
The first is Elijah. Elijah is one of those guys in the Bible I mean God did amazing and powerful things through him. I mean where we’re going to pick up the story he has just called fire down from heaven, essentially to win a bet, that our God is real and that no other god is.
The very first time we hear of Elijah is chapter 17:1, “And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.” He was a Tishbite, from Tishbe this was a remote region, it was mountainous, it had bad weather, the people from there were few and they were rugged. The first appearance we have of this mountain man is to walk up to the king, surrounded by his guards and he tells him, God has declared a drought and I’m in charge of it. That takes guts this was a tough man.
He and the king and the king’s wife they squared off for years, and the climax of this part of the story, not the whole story, just this chapter was that the Elijah dares Ahab, the King, to call all of the prophets of Baal together. Baal was the false god that they were worshiping, for a contest, whose God would send down fire from heaven. There were 450 prophets of Baal, and just Elijah. They invited all of Israel to watch, the nation that at this point followed their king, and supported 450 prophets of Baal and 400 more prophets of Asherah. This is a hostile crowd, you probably know the story, Elijah gives them all day and nothing happens, then he prays one time, and bam fire from heaven. Complete victory, but he doesn’t stop there then he tells the people to seize the prophets that they had been following and he personally puts them to death. I guess he wasn’t feeling very ecumenical. After that then he sees one cloud the size of a fist and tells everyone to go home to get out of the rain storm that’s coming. Picture it, there’s been a drought for years, he sees one tiny cloud and calls for a massive storm…and it comes.
This is one of the great victory stories of the Bible. This is one that we preach on to tell people to that we are more than conquerors. But look at what happens next, Ahab goes and tells his wife Jezebel what happened and she swears to kill Elijah that day. And what happens, Elijah the mighty man of God, the man who could call fire down from heaven, a man who prayed and saw God raise the dead, chapter 19 verse three says, “when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life.’ He ran like a scared little girl. So many times we focus on the victories of the people in the Bible and we miss the times that they were scared. That there were times when even the mightiest people of God were at the end of their rope, the end of their faith, the journey seemed too hard and they didn’t know if they could go on.