Elijah's Experience

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I have made the statement over this past year that “I would rather take a decade of 2020 over six months of 2019”.
I’m not saying that the difficulties we as a family went through were more or less difficult than what God may be allowing you to go through
What I am saying is that life brings struggles, hardships, and valley’s to us all… EVEN PASTORS (sometimes especially pastors)
There are seasons of life where the pressures of life seem to crush us… I love to illustrate with the example of Atmospheric pressure
The pressure that surrounds us
If you heat up a can with just a little water… the steam replaces the air creating a vacuum inside
The greater air pressure outside can cause the can to implode
It’s neat with a soda can, it’s impressive with a tanker car of a train!!!
What pressures of Life are you experiencing today???
1 Kings 19:4 is an interesting place to find the man of God …
1 Kings 19:4 NASB95
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.”

Where are you at?

This was a man of God! One who was the voice of God to the people… God took this man to Heaven later in a flaming chariot!!!
As your pastor I have seen the heartache, sufferings, worries, trials and uncertainties of God’s people
If you come here today or maybe down the road and you find yourself in a discouraged place like Elijah
I want to encourage you to do several things...

Where have you been?

Sometimes when we get in an emotional state such as Elijah we need to remember.
Remember or don’t forget is a command we see over and over in scripture
Elijah could have remembered
How God had heard his prayer to stop rain
How God had supplied for his food and water in the drought
1 Kings 18:18–24 NASB95
He said, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, because you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and you have followed the Baals. “Now then send and gather to me all Israel at Mount Carmel, together with 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” So Ahab sent a message among all the sons of Israel and brought the prophets together at Mount Carmel. Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people did not answer him a word. Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. “Now let them give us two oxen; and let them choose one ox for themselves and cut it up, and place it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other ox and lay it on the wood, and I will not put a fire under it. “Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, He is God.” And all the people said, “That is a good idea.”

Elijah’s Mountain Top Experience…

Fertility god of crops and rain and storm
He sent lightning from the heavens
450 Prophets (many people followed Baal
Mt Carmel considered Baal’s dwelling place
The challenge
o The odds 450 to 1
o The people rejected God
o The first god… pathetic
o The Only God
4 pitchers 3 times!!!
Soaking wet overflows
o The Victory
1 Kings 18:36-40 is such a powerful expression of our God
1 Kings 18:36–40 NASB95
At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word. “Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that You, O Lord, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again.” Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God.” Then Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape.” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.
DID YOU SEE THAT!!!!????? amazing how God works in peoples hearts!!!!
o The Rain
Fervent faithful prayer
o The Run
1 Kings 18:45-46 God does some pretty amazing stuff!
1 Kings 18:45–46 NASB95
In a little while the sky grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy shower. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. Then the hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he girded up his loins and outran Ahab to Jezreel.
Mountain tops are fun, amazing, wow to stay there would be great… or would it? We find Elijah not on the mountain… RATHER he is curled up, under a juniper tree, in the valley wanting to die. Look at 1 Kings 19:1-4
1 Kings 19:1–4 NASB95
Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.”

How did you get here?

Physical fatigue
Built alter
Killed 450 false prophets
Outran kings horse 20-25 miles
Fled on foot to Beersheba 96 miles
About 15 miles into the desert
Another 40 days in wilderness to Mt Sinai

How did you get here?

Life’s Circumstances:
PRESSURE, this mean lady, who happens to be a queen, threatens his life! (He runs away 96 miles to Beersheba)
Bills, rough day at work, kids, health , economy, relationships, past hurts, COVID, Politics
The call from your sister
Being Alone. Elijah leaves behind his servant!
He forgets about the 100 other prophets still alive and serving
We need each other.
Other believers help build us up, encourage us, they help remind us who God is and what He has done.
I so appreciate those who walked through the last year and a half with me
The Spiral. Elijah, by himself, goes a days journey into the dessert.
Our health is important to our emotional state
God gave rest, bread and water (He knows what is ahead)
40 days in the dessert
Comes to Mount Horeb
We take our eyes off of God and onto the circumstance
Jonah focused on evil Ninevites
Peter focused on the waves
Elijah focused on Jezebel
What about you and I???
Our circumstances are real and bring real hard things and times
Stay focused on Him in those times
When we lose our focus on him and focus on the circumstances we become self centered… we throw a pity party and invite all to join in pitying us!
Check out Elijah’s pity party… 1 Kings 19:9-19
1 Kings 19:9–19 NASB95
Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Then he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” The Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram; and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. “It shall come about, the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall put to death. “Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.” So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, while he was plowing with twelve pairs of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth. And Elijah passed over to him and threw his mantle on him.

Why are you here?

God ask Elijah “WHY ARE YOU HERE?”
God didn’t send him
God works here in Elijah and He will work where you are at as well
The wilderness God was ministering to him and still with him
The wind, earthquake, and fire (Attention getters and reminder of His Power)
Whisper (God deals gently in our weak moments)
Valleys can not be avoided. Collapsing in the valley is what needs to be avoided. In fact don’t fear the valley. It is during those times the Lord teaches us the most. However be careful the valley can be dangerous.

Where are you going?

God puts things in perspective for Elijah… His perspective on things is soooo much clearer
7000 still have not worshiped Baal
God is in the process of establishing new governing authorities
God has a man in mind for Elijah to disciple and train to succeed him!
God is far greater than us or our lives… He continues to work!
The Lord ask us to follow Him
Ups and Downs will come
Don’t go through them alone
Stay focused on Christ
Discover how God wants to use you?
God’s people are not exempt from troubles in this life… In fact we will have more. However, consider this when the pressures of life begin to feel like they are crushing you 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 & 1 John 4:4
2 Corinthians 4:7–9 NASB95
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
1 John 4:4 NASB95
You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
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