Summary: A first sermon message in which Elijah is transported to a modern day congregation to share how God shaped him.
“Getting Into Shape: When Faith Doesn’t make Sense”
Good morning. I suppose I should tell you a little about myself. Oddly, in the Scriptures I have no introduction – I just all of a sudden appear in what you know as 1 Kings 17. My name is Elijah – which means, “The Lord is my God.” I was a prophet – I spoke for God. My ministry began where your Scripture reading began this morning. That’s probably a good place to begin my sharing as well – to give you a glimpse of how God shaped me.
This was an interesting time in Israel’s life. It was the time of the greatest spiritual crisis Israel had seen for generations. King Ahab and Queen Jezebel had led the people into worship of Baal, the Canaanite god of fertility and rain. So the land was filled with gross sexual immorality and rampant theological heresy. In fact, the Scriptures now say that Ahab did more to provoke and anger the Lord than all the kings of Israel before him. Can you imagine such a condemnation? How do you think your pastor – what’s his name? Pastor Curly? Cutie? Oh, Curry – sorry! How do you think he would feel if he were to go down as the worst pastor you ever had? Well, that’s Ahab. The most wicked and idolatrous King Israel ever had. Because of him, Israel was about to experience God’s judgment. God will only let His people rebel just so long, you know. Sooner or later EVERY BANQUET OF SIN IS SERVED THE DESERT OF CONSEQUENCES. This was no exception. Your sins, whatever they are, have consequences, too. They may seem harmless, even enjoyable now; it just means your desert has not yet been served.
But back to my ministry. It started when God asked me to confront King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. He told me to announce to them that there would be no more rain or dew until God decided there would be. That’s quite a pronouncement. After all, rain was more important to them than electricity is to you. They could not grow crops, and therefore eat, without rain. That’s why Baal – the god of rain and fertility – had such appeal to God’s people. So God decided to render judgment upon Israel by proving to them who was in charge of the rain. So I made the bold announcement. As the rain stopped, and the drought began, I would become public enemy #1; I knew the drought would be blamed on me. Talk about a grand beginning to ministry! Sometimes faith doesn’t make sense.
So be careful what you pray and wish for. Ever ask God to use you? Ever dream about being used by God in a special way? Beware – NOT ALL GOD’S CALLS ARE TO THE GLORIOUS HEIGHTS. I had to begin with Ahab! Not all people are assigned by God to minister in beautiful vacation spots; some are sent to the slums. To where, and to what, is God calling you? If you want to be used by God – wonderful! But be prepared! He will decide where you go and what you do. Remember, I began by turning off the water – and therefore cutting off the life – of my own people. I was branded “The enemy!” Sometimes faith doesn’t make sense.
But God was for me. He moved me – literally, physically moved me. He told me to go to the Brook Cherith, that there would be not only the water of the brook to quench my thirst, but also ravens to stay my hunger. I would also be out of the jurisdiction of Ahab. Isn’t that just like God? GOD PROVIDES FOR HIS PEOPLE. I went to Brook Cherith and, sure enough, there was water and food every day. God never gave me more than I needed, but also never any less. What I needed, He provided. So what’s your need right now? Where is your life on the brink of shortage, facing hunger? What lack is staring you in the face? And where is your Brook Cherith? To where, to whom, to what is God sending you so He can feed and water your soul? We need to learn to depend upon God. If I had not gone to the brook, I would have had no blessing. I had to trust God to provide. And He did!
But back to the story. It’s tough to be right! I had told Ahab there would be no rain or dew! And there was no rain or dew. I know – because every day the brook dried up a little more – until one day the brook was gone. No rain, no water for the brook! I knew that day would come – but still it shook me. We’re never fully ready when a crisis arrives at our doorstep. Sometimes faith just doesn’t make sense. But God was prepared again. When the brook dried up, He told me what to do and where to go. Isn’t that just like God? HIS WORD COMES AT THE TIME OF CRISIS, NOT BEFORE. Seldom does God tell us His will before we need to know it. Don’t worry or panic about some crisis that may come to your doorstep sometime in the future; when it arrives, so will God.