What Are You Doing Here?
Topic: Faith Passage: James 5:16–5:18, 1 Kings 17–19
What Are You Doing Here?
You and Elijah are a lot Alike!
- Are there places in Scripture that are hard to grasp?
“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it would not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.” – James 5:16-18
A Day in the Life of Elijah, a Man Like Us
- 1 Kings 17-19 is a microcosm of what we see throughout Scripture: a larger story and its truth, with a smaller story or incident of God’s grace at work in people’s lives. There is the big picture, with a main plot, and there are smaller stories, each with a lesson for believers.
- 1 Kings 17:1 - Elijah predicts a drought to Ahab. Judah and Israel divided: Ahab is the 6th and worst king of Israel. He brought Baal worship to Israel through his marriage to Jezebel. Baal was the storm god, the god of rain, so Elijah is predicting a drought to show that God and not Baal, controls the rain and everything else!
- Highlights of Elijah’s ministry: Ravens brought this guy dinner every night, the first Uber eats delivery service! With only a drop in her jar Elijah prophesied an endless supply of oil to a widow in Zarephath. Raised her son from the dead. Elijah confronts Ahab. Elijah sends Obadiah, a God-fearing man, to get Ahab (v.8). The drought is 3 ½ years on. Obadiah is afraid, because he knows Jezebel ordered the death of Israel’s prophets. He hid 100 of them in caves, so he doesn’t want to go anywhere near Jezebel and Ahab! “Ahab will kill you and me!” Calm down, Obadiah, go tell Ahab I am here.
- 1 Kings 18:17 – A showdown between Ahab and Elijah – Ahab sees Elijah as the reason for the drought, when Ahab’s and Israel’s worship of false gods was the reason. Sometimes God gets our attention by withdrawing something from us!
- 1 Kings 18:20-29 – Waiting for Baal to show – I’ll provide color commentary! 1 Kings 18:30-40 – Now it’s God’s turn.
Elijah was a Man with Great Victories in his Faith!
- My “great victory” in India
- Next scene…
- 1 Kings 18:41-48 – amazing grace to Ahab! He heads home to Jezreel, where Jezebel is. Elijah goes too, arriving before Ahab. Perhaps he thought repentance was coming from Ahab and Jezebel in response to the defeat of the 450 prophets of Baal. Sometimes even the greatest prophets get it wrong! Jezebel wasn’t repenting.
- 1 Kings 19:1-3 – afraid, ran for his life…what?!? You don’t run Elijah! “What just happened?!? V.4 - A day’s journey in the wilderness – literal and symbolic…the opposite direction of faith. Bold, courageous, faithful, Elijah, who has seen miraculous things, is on the run. 120 miles later he stops, and then 1 Kings 19:4… condemnation hits. “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” Ashamed, condemned; after great victories the words of Jezebel send him running.
Elijah was a Man with Great Defeats in his Faith.
- Sometimes some of our greatest victories of faith are followed by self-inflicted defeats! - My “great defeat” in Ottawa
- Elijah was soaring on the heights of confidence, trust, and courage in his faith, only to come crashing down in fear, unbelief in the twinkling of an eye. Can we relate? Do you see it, Christian? Great victories, obedience…great defeats, sin…sometimes on the same day!
God is Not Like Us…He Never Forsakes Us, He Never Deals With Us as Our Sins Deserve
- 19:9-10 – Elijah thinks he and he alone is the only faithful one left, even though his faith had just faltered. To Elijah, Jezebel’s resistance was greater than God’s power. Same question in v. 9 and 13. In between God demonstrates his power, but Elijah answers the same way. He missed the point! V. 15 – God is patient with us. In a low whisper, in tenderness, God says, “Go, return, the work I’ve called you too isn’t finished. We have some new leaders to anoint.” God uses the spectacular and the ordinary to accomplish his purposes…sends Elijah back the same route; redemption!
- God’s dealing with you has never been dependent on your absolute perfection but on his absolute faithfulness!
- Our standing in grace is based on what God has done for us in Christ, not perfect obedience on our part! Gospel sightings all over 1 Kings 19! “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:1
- God may discipline us as sons and daughters when we stumble, but don’t declare yourself out of God’s mission! Some of you have been under the broom tree instead of on the path of God’s calling. Don’t lose another day. Brothers, what are you doing here? What has you stuck, condemned, what failure is bigger than God’s grace? God can do it again! Out of the cave!
What are You Doing Here?
- Elijah was a man like us…the basis of him getting back to his calling was not his perfection, but God’s mercy. And so it is with us. We are righteous…because of Jesus!
- Get Back Up Again Video by Toby Mac?/Personal Ministry