Summary: What do we expect God to do in our lives in the coming year. What can we expect from the new year that God brings to us. The Life of Elijah shows that God works even through our discouragement.
“What Are You Doing Here”
1Kings 19:1-18 1 Peter 4:12-19 1/13/2020
Have you ever given someone an assignment to go and do something, and you thought they had left to do it. But then you turn around later and they are in the same spot, and you ask the question, “what are you doing here?” Or have you met someone who has been saying that one day they were going to do such and such and, you run into them five years later, and they are still in the same place. You look at them and you think to yourself, “what are you doing here.”
We are in the second full week of 2020. One of the phrases I heard after the countdown of 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Happy New Year was, “We made it here.” How many of you know a lot of people that were with us in 2019 didn’t make it to 2020? On average 55.3 million people die each year.
For some of us even, there were times we were ill, and we weren’t quite sure we were going to make it, or we found in ourselves in accidents or situations that could have easily ended our lives. Some of us are here by the miraculous grace of God but we never saw what God did to keep something from happening to us.
The real issue before us in 2020 is not whether or not we made it, because all of us have made it, but if the year 2020 could talk, I think it might ask the question, “What are you doing here.” In other words, what’s God’s purpose for having you alive in 2020. What assignment is there for you to do? How we came out of 2019 can cloud our judgement for how God wants to use us in 2020. God’s plans for us, may be far different than what we have in mind. We enter 2020 still under Jesus’ call, “Come follow me.”
In our Old Testament reading we ran into the prophet Elijah. Elijah had come off a banner year in terms of his being used by God. He had confronted the powerful king of Ahab who had turned his back on God. Elijah told him, “there will not be dew nor rain in the next few years until I say it’s going to rain.” He had birds bringing him food to eat. He had fed a widow and her family with just a tiny bit of oil and flour that kept multiplying day after day. He had raised the widow’s son from the dead.
Elijah had dueled with the 400 prophets of the false god Baal and won by calling down fire from heaven. He had the false prophets executed. He had said it was time for it to rain again, and the biggest rain storm you can imagine hit the land bringing relief to the severe famine that was devastating the country. The power of God came upon him making him one of the fastest distance runners in the world in that he was able to outrun the king who was riding in a chariot from Mount Carmel to Jezreel which was about 17 miles. He had done everything the Lord told him to do.
When King Ahab went and told Queen Jezebel that Elijah had killed her 400 prophets of Baal, she got as angry as angry could get. She put out a contract on Elijah’s life and promised that either he would be dead by the next day or may the gods take her life.
We are under the false impression, that if God uses us in a mighty way, we’ll never doubt what God can do again. But that’s just not true. Our faith can not simply rest upon how can has dealt with us in the past. Our faith is to always rest in the fact that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead and because of that event, our hope and confidence remains in God.
For we have the promise that because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, God will one day raise us up as well. We have the promise from the risen Christ, “I will be with you always.” That includes our moments of fear, our moments of doubts, our moments of discouragement, and our moments of wondering, “God don’t you see what’s going on in my life, don’t you care.”
What would you have done, if someone came running to you and said, “the government has a contract out on your life to bring you in dead or alive. No questions asked, show the body and get your reward.” Elijah did what most of us would do. He got scared, packed his bags and ran for his life. But his being afraid didn’t cause God to cast him to the side or to rebuke him for his lack of faith.