Sermon notes from message by Rev. Tom Boyd 9/4/2011
Elijah was feeling defeated, afraid, discouraged to the point of praying that he would just die.
What do we know about Elijah up to this point? He recently stood boldly before the evil King Ahab and informed him, “there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” Then he left to live in a ravine for three years. He was miraculously provided for by God there. Scripture tells us, “The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.” (1 Kings 17:6) Elijah was used by God to raise a widow’s son from the dead. Then he returned to face the evil king. Elijah dared the king to summon all the people of Israel and the 850 prophets of the false gods they followed. He challenged them saying, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” (1 Kings 18:21) The 850 prophets failed and proved their gods worthless. Elijah called down fire from heaven to prove to the people that his Lord is the only true God, and that He was giving them a chance to admit they were wrong in following false gods and come back to Him. The people responded and confessed that Elijah’s God was truly God and they worshipped Him. Elijah had the false prophets taken away and killed. Then he prayed and the rains finally returned to the land. Elijah was strong and confident because he knew God was in charge. God used Elijah, with his single-minded commitment and strong faith, to accomplish amazing miracles!
But now this man of God feels like a failure. The queen had already killed 450 true prophets. When king Ahab told queen Jezebel what had happened, she sent word that she would kill Elijah, too. Elijah ran in fear.
“I’ve had enough, Lord.” Elijah has reached his breaking point. He’s burned out. He is exhausted and not thinking clearly. He bravely obeyed and did the right things and now it seems to be turning out wrong. Many great men and women of God that we read about in scripture have times like these and so do we. We have times of deep discouragement when our spirit feels broken beyond repair. And what makes things even worse is we feel alone in our despair. Elijah believed that he was the only man of God left. We all experience feeling physically and emotionally drained. “I’ve had enough, Lord.”
God understands. He still loves Elijah and he still loves you and me. He sent an angel to nourish Elijah. We too need to be nourished, spiritually as well as physically. Sometimes, we forget that we are only human. We need to remember to go to the Lord to be filled with all we need. Read His word. Pray. Listen for His voice.
God shows Elijah hurricane force winds, an earthquake and a fire storm, but God is not in them. Next came a gentle whisper … His voice. Maybe God is saying “I control the wind, the earth and the fire.” Maybe He is telling us, softly and kindly, that it’s OK. He has power and authority over all things. He sends Elijah back to appoint helpers to serve God and His people. God reveals to Elijah that there are seven thousand faithful in Israel … he is not alone.
God sends us all to minister just as He sent His Son. Despite the storms, He will always provide, always guide, always be with us.
Life is difficult. Jesus told us that we would have trouble in this world. But because He has overcome, so can we! One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He truly is Lord. Until that day, trust Him, obey Him, rely on Him, minister in His Name in whatever way He leads you to.
Be encouraged! Our God is the highest authority in heaven and on earth. He sits on the throne now and forever and you and I have been called to minister in His Name.
“May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together - spirit, soul, and body - and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he'll do it!” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-34 (The Message)