Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Evening Sermon Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/ev/ev20030810.htm
1 AND 2 KINGS: ENJOYING GOD'S BLESSINGS IN AN APOSTATE ERA
Part XX: Building On God's Past Helps For Confidence In Today's Imposing Challenges
(1 Kings 18:1-15 with 17:1-24)
Lesson: Elijah's CONFIDENCE in God's HELP, ABILITY and DIRECTION for his life in BOLDLY arranging to meet the POWERFUL king Ahab whom he had ANGERED came via the PRECEDENTS of God's superiority over the false god upon which Ahab relied, Ibid. Bib. Know. Com., O.T., p 525.
- The walk of faith is a building process whereby God wants us to handle ever-increasing challenges of faith we currently face through learning from His leading and provision in our past life of faith.
- This fact is illustrated in Elijah's confidence in God's leading in 1 Kings 18:1-15 to face an infuriated Ahab in confidence in light of what God had done in his past to elicit such confidence (as follows):
- Building On God's Past Helps For Confidence In Today's Imposing Challenges.
- When God told Elijah to present himself to Ahab after announcing there would be no rain or dew for three and one-half years (cf. 1 Kings 18:1 with Luke 4:25), this command involved a great risk to Elijah's life as seen in the fear of Ahab's subordinate, Obadiah, 1 Kings 18:3-14:
- In order to show himself to Ahab, Elijah contacted a trustworthy, secret believer in the governor, Obadiah to arrange for the meeting between Ahab and Elijah, 1 Kings 18:3-4:
- Since Obadiah was a government superior to Elijah, the prophet, Elijah contacted Obadiah to arrange to meet with king Ahab, 1 Kings 18:3a.
- Another reason Elijah felt comfortable contacting this governor was Elijah's awareness of Obadiah's past courageous and sympathetic action toward Elijah, 1 Kings 18:3b-4; Obadiah had risked his life to hide God's prophets by fifty in a cave during the famine years, revealing he was a man Elijah could trust regarding his welfare.
- Yet, Obadiah revealed Ahab was now an angry and dangerous foe to Elijah for the years of drought (in competition against Baal worship, Bib. Know. Com., O.T., p. 522), 1 Kings 18:5-14:
- Ahab had sent Obadiah throughout the land seeking water for the king's animals, indicating Ahab was very motivated to solve the problem of the drought introduced by Elijah, 1 Kings 18:5-6.
- When Elijah met Obadiah in his search for water, and asked him to arrange for Elijah to meet Ahab, Obadiah balked, revealing he risked his life before an infuriated Ahab were Elijah not to show up: (a) When Elijah appeared to Obadiah and asked for a meeting with Ahab, Obadiah stalled, revealing Ahab was so angrily intent on capturing Elijah that he had made the search and international one, 1 Kings 18:7-11. Thus, Obadiah feared if he arranged for the meeting but that were Elijah to fail to show up, Ahab would kill Obadiah for mocking him, 18:12, 9. (b) Obadiah even reported on his good deeds of hiding God's prophets to tell Elijah he was too innocent for Ahab to kill, 18:13-14.
- However, Elijah obeyed God in seeking to show himself to the infuriated Ahab (1 Kings 18:1-2a), and convinced Obadiah he would show himself to Ahab that day in confidence God as the God of Hosts was able to protect him from Ahab's intent to slay him, 1 Kings 18:15.
- The reason Elijah was so confident in God's willingness and ability to protect him from Ahab's anger was built on God's precedents in Elijah's life of showing Himself to be greater than Ahab's false god, Baal:
- At Cherith, God had shown His supremacy over Ahab's god, Baal by hiding Elijah over Baal's ability to expose Elijah, and that though Elijah hid in Gilead where Ahab expected to find him, 17:1, 3; 18:10.
- God had also shown Elijah at Cherith His ability to supply food supernaturally by ravens in the famine over Baal's impotency to come close to accomplishing such a provision, 1 Kings 17:4-6.
- At Zarephath, God had shown His supremacy over Jezebel's god, Baal by hiding Elijah from Baal's ability to expose Elijah though Elijah hid near Jezebel's hometown, 1 Kings 17:9 with 1 Kings 16:31.
- God had also shown Elijah His supremacy over Baal by giving him food where Baal could not, and in raising a boy versus Baal's impotence to do so even as a fertility god, 17:14-16, 17-24; Ibid., p. 524.
Application: If we face a CURRENT and IMPOSING challenge, God wants us to RECALL His PAST provisions, directions and lessons as the BASIS of His leading in the PRESENT so that we, like Elijah, can face a MORE IMPOSING set of circumstances in the PRESENT with CONFIDENCE!