Summary: Standing up for our faith calls for strong convitictions, Elijah demonstrated his faith by having the convitictions to stand for God, even when he was all alone
Introduction: We love heroes, and we especially love heroes who win despite overwhelming odds. As illustrated in the movie “Remember the Titans”. It seems the greater the odds the more we favor the underdog and cheer for him to overcome the obstacles.
While overcoming the odds and becoming victorious makes for great Hollywood ending it can be difficult in real life to take a stand when the odds are against you.
What do you do when…?
• You are asked to do something at work that goes against God’s principles or Honesty and Integrity?
• You are on the college campus and the professor mocks your faith and everyone chimes in and you are all alone.
• You are encouraged by other employees to cheat or look the other way so they can cheat – after all everyone is doing it!
In the real world, living against the odds can be both difficult and frustrating. Yet there are times when living out our convictions stacks the odds against us.
When the odds are against us; once again we find ourselves in a tight spot. In our series on TIGHT SPOTS we have looked at the lives of several OT heroes and discovered some fundamental truths from God’s word on how to handle life – when life is difficult. This morning we are going to look at the confrontation Elijah had on Mount Carmel and discover some principles of how to react when the odds are against us.
Like many of the OT stories we have to understand the background of the event before we can discover the principles God desires for us to know.
• Background begins in 1 Kings 16:29-33
In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him. He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than did all the kings of Israel before him.
A new king comes to the throne in Israel – Ahab. And Ahab is nothing like the former Kings of Israel, while many of the kings had flaws – Ahab was simply evil.
The writer of Kings tells us Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him. He married a woman by the name of Jezebel, who introduced Baal worship into Israel, Ahab built a temple to Baal where he performed sacrifices and made other idols as well. Vs. 31 says, Ahab… did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than did all the kings of Israel before him.
To date this had to be a dark period in Israel’s history; the people were literally turning their back on God as a result of Ahab and Jezebel.
• Not everyone was tuning their back on God
1 Kings 17:1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word."
Enter the prophet Elijah, He will play the part of our hero, and as we shall soon see the odds will be against him!
We know nothing of this man Elijah, the Bible does not record his call into God’s service, nor do know anything about his background except he is from the region of Gilead. One other fact – HIS NAME MEANS – YAWHEH IS MY GOD
Elijah is he a man of conviction. While all of Israel is turning toward Baal he enters the throne room of the evil king Ahab and announces there will be no dew or rain for an unspecified period of time. With that announcement Elijah leaves the throne room.
• 3 years later, God intervenes through the life of Elijah
1 Kings 18:1-2, After a long time, in the third year, the word of the LORD came to Elijah: "Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land." So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Samaria
Try to imagine the scene: 3 years without a drop of rain in all of Israel. Every stream has dried up. Every pond is gone. As Eljah entered the palace he must have walked past thousands of dead carcasses and skeletons of beat who had succumbed to the drought and the subsequent famine. The lack of water had brought about disease and death to all of Israel. Think of the courage it must have taken for Elijah to return to the scene of the crime – just 3 years before he had predicted no rain and now all around him is the signs of his prediction.