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8. Elijah and God

October 12, 2010

Text:    I Kings 19:3-21

Outline:           I.     Elijah Flees for His Life                          I Kings 19:3-9

                              II.    Elijah Pities His Life                                I Kings 19:10

                             III.  Elijah is Restored to Life                        I Kings 19:11-21

Context/Discussion/Comments: 

            There probably are better more fitting verbs to use in the outline but these are the first that came to mind when I was studying this passage.  Elijah not only fears for his life but he runs for his life, leaving Jezreel quickly with his servant.  He goes to Beersheba in southern Judah.  He leaves his servant there and goes into the desert to find peace and rest.  His servant was probably  Elijah’s early warning security device if Jezebel’s people happened to pursue  him and come looking for him.  Elijah is tired, is afraid, prays asking to die, and falls asleep under a tree.  Elijah wants to throw in the towel.  An angel awakens him and encourages him to eat the food and water the angel brought.  Elijah eats and lays down again to rest.  The angel comes a second time and again encourages Elijah to eat and restore his strength for an even longer journey to Mt. Horeb.  It took Elijah 40 days and 40 nights to reach Mt. Horeb in the Sinai where God spoke to Moses.  Elijah is being summoned by God to His Presence.  Elijah finds a cave and rests.

                 God comes and asks Elijah what he is doing here at Mt. Horeb.  Elijah explains that he has worked hard for the Lord but he hasn’t had any positive results.  Israel is still idolatrous.  He is the only one left of God’s prophets and they want to kill him too.

                 God tells Elijah to stand on the mountain [similar to Moses hiding in the cleft of the rock so God’s glory could pass by] and He would pass by.  A wind, an earthquake, and fire comes but God doesn’t.  After the fire Elijah hears a whisper and God asking again what he is doing there.  Elijah gives the same answer he gave earlier.  He has worked hard for the Lord with no tangible results.  He is the only one left and he has a contract on his head.  

             God gives Elijah another assignment.  He is to go and anoint Hazael king over Aram, Jehu king over Israel, and Elisha to succeed him.  The judgment of God is beginning.  Jehu will kill any not killed by Hazeal and Elisha will kill any not killed by Jehu.  And God is preserving 7000 loyal faithful followers of God as a remnant for the future.  Elijah thought he was alone but he is not.  Elijah goes and finds Elisha working his field.  Elijah gives Elisha his cloak and Elisha runs and says good-bye to his parents.  Elijah asks “What has he done to Elisha?” perhaps thinking Elisha had no family or feeling sorry for Elisha and the reception awaiting him from Israel.  Elisha returns, slays his oxen, gives a great feast, and follows Elijah. 

                 Obviously, God has prepared the heart of Elisha for the work of the Lord to come.  Elisha is ready to serve God.  There is no turning back.  He is fully committed to the work of the Lord.

 Lessons/Applications: 

  1. Listen to God and look forward and upward.  Do not look backward or down.  The fruit of one’s labor for Christ is God’s responsibility, not ours.  It is His doing, not ours.  [I Cor. 3:6-9]
  2. God’s judgment for our sin comes first from the hands of others orchestrated by the Lord’s sovereign Will.
  3. Depend on God, not on your own swiftness [capabilities] when facing persecution.  Remember God is faithful.  Remember the times He has cared for and protected you.  Thank Him and ask Him to do it again.  Running from trouble wastes valuable energy.  Face you problems head on with God in front of you.
  4. God will send His angels and care for you in your darkest moments.  Listen for His coming and enjoy His blessings.
  5. You may be able to hide from man but you cannot hide from God.
  6. When feeling defeated, God will restore you by His Presence in a place where you cannot be disturbed and where you must focus on Him.  He will restore you in His Sanctuary [see Psalm 73; especially verse 17].
  7. Self pity breeds defeat.  Keep your eyes on the Lord, rejoice is Him, and WIN!
  8. If you are resting or transitioning, listen to His voice.  His next assignment may be something completely different.
  9. Your ministry is important to God.  Pray for guidance.  Let Him ordain you successor and then devote time to train him/her.
  10. Committing to full time Christian service means leaving your family and material assets behind.  Burn some bridges so you won’t be tempted to quit but be encouraged to continue, living in Faith.
  11. It is a special privilege and joy to be called into full time service for the Lord.  Rejoice in your calling.  Throw a party!
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