2nd SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
SUNDAY JUNE 23RD 2019
TEXTS: 1KINGS 19: 1 – 15a
THEME: ABOUT TO GIVE UP OR TO QUIT?
Elijah lived when Ahab was the King of Israel and Jezebel was the powerful wife of Ahab who was indirectly the ruler. She was so powerful that everybody around her feared her and what she would do.
When Israelites got to the promised land they lived as one nation but eventually the differences came due to their lineage of the two wives of Jacob. The 10 boys from Leah formed Israel while the two boys from (Racheal) became Judah.
Saul was the first King then followed by David then his son Solomon took over. After Solomon death then there came the two Kingdoms. Before then the Hebrews were led by prophet like Prophet Eli, Samuel …
During the time of Elijah there were two Kingdoms that were part of the 12 tribes of Israel. The Northern Kingdom was called Israel while the southern Kingdom was Judah. That is then how we encounter Ahab as the King of Judah while Israel was under king Asa. One of the 10 commandment handed down to them was not to worship any other God except Yahweh. But as we read in the bible most of them especially the kings abandoned Yahweh and started to worship these other gods like Baal.
In the earlier chapters Elijah had told Ahab that there would be no rain for 3 years because of worshipping idols. In those 3 years Ahab had been looking for Elijah to kill him for causing the famine in the area due to lack of rain. Then one day Elijah shows up and meets Obadiah (Prophet of Yahweh) who he sends to Ahab to inform him that he was around. When Elijah meets Ahab, he invites him to a contest to see whose God was more powerful. Baal had 450 prophets and Asherah(female) had 400. The context was to sacrifice a bull and call fire from one’s God to burn the offering. The prophets of Baal and Asherah prepared the bull first called their gods the whole morning and there was no fire. When it came to Elijah turn, he prepared his sacrifice called the fire from his God and fire came from heaven and consumed everything. He ordered all the false prophet to be killed. When Jezebel heard what had happened he ordered Elijah to be killed too and that why Elijah runs for his life.
This where we pick our story today because Jezebel Ahab wife want to kill him because he had killed all the Baal and Asherah prophets. He runs for his life.
He run to the desert and came to a solitary broom bush.
This bush does not provide much of a hiding place for someone running away. But it here where we see God continued hand of showing his might before Elijah. Elijah had already seen God bring fire from heaven, witnessed rain come on a clear day yet he is about to give up. People can give up even after witnessing a mighty hand of God. Let us recount God mighty and miraculous work before Elijah
- God stops rain for 3 years
- God brings fire from heaven that consumes the sacrifice
- God bring rain as promised (looked out 7 times before there was any sign of the cloud forming – 1 Kings 18:43-44)
- God feed Elijah in the wilderness using birds.
- Eat on time and the food lasted for 40 days until he arrived at mount Horeb
- He recognized God who passed by the cave with a thin quiet noise. God was not in the: a, strong wind, b, not in the earthquake, c, not in the fire.
Elijah we can say he had experienced God in a real experiential way that he would be a true witness of God’s greatness. But even with all that he would get discouraged when things got really bad especially when his life was danger. Through his experiences we can easily see how humans face different kind of challenges of life. Challenges come in all formats:
- Challenges blow like wind: There are challenges that we face that feel like a forceful wind that can’t be stopped. Sometimes we experience this wind blow out our shelter, our hope even the people we love. This strong wind can come from all directions. For Elijah it came from those who were worshipping other gods of the land led by Jezebel the wife of Ahab. When the wind is blowing it feel like there is nowhere to go and hide. But God is reminding us he has control even over the wind. When the disciples we faced with bad weather in the sea and their lives were in danger Jesus calmed the sea. Jesus is going to calm the wind blowing around your life you have to be patient. Luke 8:22-25 Jesus calms the storm.
- Challenges shakes like earthquake: This when things shake the foundation of the things you have believed in. What used to be evil is given another name. Marriages sometimes experience this kind of challenge. People are no longer respecting the natural boundaries of life. Often, we are left wondering and asking, “what has happened to the world?” Earthquake challenges can come from the extended family as well as from those people you trust. These tremors shake our faith in such a way that unless we find quick help we can easily lose our faith. Our roots and what used to be our pillars are shaken. It is important to remember not to give up because the one we believe in is able to do all things.
- Challenges burn and consume like fire: When challenges come in form of fire they consumes all that which is on its way. Very often it leaves nothing behind. But we also know another aspect of fire. Remember God’s promise in Isaiah 43: 1b-3a “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned and the flame will not consume you. For I am the LORD your God the Holy one of Israel, your Savior.” Fire also refines something to become a better-quality like in the case of Gold and other minerals. The intention of the one bringing fire to us would be to kill who we are as people and with God’s help it might help refine us to become better persons.
But in all these God reminds us of how he shows up in our lives. He comes like a thin small sound. For Elijah hear this small sound he had to go out from the cave. He needed to get out the cave to hear God voice asking him “Why are you here, Elijah?” He (Elijah) explains to God why he was there (God already knew but he needed to hear from him). If you read the verses after our text today you will learn how God gave him specific instruction of what he was going to do. God invites us to come from the cave of fear and terror and trust him to carry us through. It is in coming out of the cave that Elijah was able to hear the still small voice. He was able to experience the presence of God
I would like to close with a poem that I found in the internet as I was preparing for today’s message titled “Don’t Quit”. Let us listen to this video together.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twist and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow-
You may succeed with another blow
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out-
The Silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It might be near when it seems afar;
So, stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit-
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.
(Unknown Author) www.bing.com/video