Summary: Part 2 of series on Elijah, talks about the idols we are led astray by.
Which God Will You Worship?
I am definitely not a fan of the San Francisco Giants,
especially because they beat the Reds in the playoffs last year. Their starting pitcher in game 5 against us was Barry Zito, and I was reading an article about him last week.
Barry Zito was once known as one of the most dominating pitchers in Major League baseball. But in 2010 Zito had reached his lowest point: He was removed from his team's starting roster. The next season he was plagued by injuries and poor performances. But by the end of 2012 he had returned to his peak performance, winning his last 14 starts and playing a pivotal role in the San Francisco Giant's World Series victory.
[here’s where it gets interesting]
In a 2012 interview Zito said that God used suffering to get his attention, and to lead him to commit "his life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior."
Zito said: Sometimes you have to go through difficulty and physical trials to really get broken down. In 2011, I got broken down physically as well as mentally. I had this very odd injury in April, after never being hurt in 11 years, and I said, "All right, something bigger is going on here. A message is being sent, and I've got to listen."
A few months later, my best friend told me an old story.
A shepherd will be leading his sheep, and one of the sheep will be walking astray from the pack. The shepherd will take his rod and break the sheep's leg, and the sheep will have to rely on the shepherd to get better. But once that leg is completely healed, that sheep never leaves the side of the shepherd ever again.
Then Zito applied that to himself.
A lot of things happen to us as people, and we realize we've been relying on our own strength for too long. Last September, I got a tattoo, and it's the only one I have, of a golden calf on the inside of my right bicep. I show people that, and it signifies idolatry, and that I was putting things before God.
If you have your Bibles, open them up
to I Kings, chapter 18.
This is the second week in a series on Elijah…
If you missed last week, let me quickly review.
Elijah was called by God
to confront a very evil king named King Ahab,
who was married to the wicked Jezebel.
Ahab was the nineteenth consecutive evil king in Israel,
but scripture says that
he did more evil in the eyes of God
than anyone before him,
so he was the worst of the worst,
and of all his long list of evil actions,
the worst thing that he did was,
he continued turning the hearts of the people
away from the one true God
toward idols or false gods
especially Baal and Asherah.
Baal was the sun god.
Asherah was kind of like Baal’s wife,
and was the god of fertility and rain.
The people thought that if they worshipped these gods,
they’d have better crops,
be more wealthy and successful,
and have a better life.
You see, false gods promise what only the true God provides.
So God starts to use Elijah, to confront the king,
and Elijah tells Ahab,
“Because of your idolatry,
God sent me to tell you it’s not going to rain
until God tells me to pray and ask for rain.”
So, here is this major drought and famine,
Thousands of people are dying.
and during this time, God sends Elijah
into a period of hiding and preparation.
Well, as we pick up the story,
its now about 3 years later,
3 years of this drought has devastated the nation,
And God tells Elijah,
okay, its time to go back and talk to king Ahab again.
Chapter 18, Verse 1
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."
Skipping down to verse 17
…When Ahab saw Elijah, he said to him, "Is that you, you troubler of Israel?"
"I have not made trouble for Israel," Elijah replied. "But you and your father's family have. You have abandoned the Lord's commands and have followed the Baals.
So he tells Ahab,
This is really your fault,
because you’re committing the sin of idolatry,
you’re putting false gods ahead of the one true God.
Lets do a little quiz.
Anyone whose been to seminary, you can’t answer…
What does the word monotheism mean?
[It’s the belief that there is only one God.]
What is polytheism?
[the belief that there are multiple gods]
In Israel at the time of Elijah,