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Youth week 30 June - 7 July 2006

"Escape for your life" Gen 19:17


Text summary of sermon by Rev Erlo Stegen, 3 July 2006, 10:00

 

1Kings 19:1 - 4 - 1 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” 3 And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”

 

Elijah was an amazing man, though just like us, as we read in James. He served God wholeheartedly and was prepared for heaven, not only spiritually, but even physically, so that God took him alive to heaven in a chariot of fire.

He prayed and God shut up heaven so that it did not rain for 3 and a half years. He prayed again and it rained abundantly.

When Israel fell into Baal worship, and Jezebel killed all the prophets of God, God hid Elijah so that he was not killed. The prophets of Baal and Ashura ate at Jezebel's table.

Although Ahab sought Elijah, he couldn't find him, until God told Elijah to reveal himself to Ahab. Ahab accused Elijah of troubling Israel, but Elijah answered him that it was he, the king, who was troubling Israel with his Baal-worship. Then he challenged him to gather all the Baal prophets to mount Carmel, so that the true God can reveal Himself. There God worked wonderously when Elijah prayed, and fire came down from heaven and consumed the offering together with the water, stones and dust around the altar.

Elijah then challenged Israel to choose whom they wanted to serve, God or Baal. The nation answered with one voice that the Lord is God. Then Elijah caused the altar of Baal to be destroyed and the prophets of Baal to be killed.

Then Elijah cried to God to send rain, and the seventh time a cloud appeared, the size of a man's fist. He sent word to king Ahab to make haste and drive home quickly before the rain comes. Within a very short time the sky was black with clouds and a very heavy rain descended.

However, the wicked queen Jezebel, wasn't touched by God's wonders, and she sent word to Elijah that she was going to kill him the following day, as he killed the prophets of Baal.

When Elijah got the news he was shocked and anxious. He was devastated with disappointment that although God worked so miraculously, there were still those who stuck to their idols and wickedness.
Elijah presumed Jezebel would be touched but she was indifferent.
Ahab told everything to Jezebel, like throwing pearls before the swine.
She wasn't impressed by God's fire from heaven or the mighty rain. She was totally self-centered.

When the rich man burned in hell, he told Abraham that Moses and the prophets was not enough to convert his brothers, but that something miraculous like someone rising from the dead would convert them. But Abraham answered him that if they did not listen to Moses and the prophets neither would they listen though someone rose from the dead. Here we see how true those words were. Someone whose heart is hardened simply refuse to listen; it doesn't matter what wonders are performed.

From Abraham's answer we also see the foolishness of ancestral worship. Those who are dead are either in heaven or hell. They cannot come from heaven or hell to speak to the people on earth.

So the prophet was bitterly disappointed with Jezebel's reaction. He fled into the wilderness and slept there. When he awoke an angel of God was there and asked him what he was doing? He answered that he was bitterly disappeared and desired death rather than life. The angel answered him that he still had work to do. So he showed him a piece of cake to eat. He slept again, and was woken by the angel, who gave him more cake and water, which he ate and drunk.

With that strength he ran to the mount of Horeb in the south of Judah, for 40 days and nights. God then asked Elijah what he was doing there.
When God gets involved in your life, he enquires into the details of your life. He calls you to account for the details of your life. So Elijah answered that he had served God faithfully and that they seek his life. God told him to go to the entrance of the cave. A violent wind passed in front of him, tearing even the rocks apart, but God was not in the wind - it was just the wirlwind that went before Him.
Then there was a terrible earthquake. But God wasn't in the earthquake either. Then there was a fire but the Lord wasn't in the fire.
Then there was a still small voice and the prophet took his cloak and covered his head and worshipped.

You need to take earnest heed of this, lest you end in hell. When something dramatic happen, discern whether God is in it. If a person performs miracles discern whether God is with him. If a person preaches ever so wonderfully, discern whether it is from God. Many have gone astray because of sensational matters, but God wasn't in them.

God wanted to reveal Himself to Elijah. All the miracles and wonders only went before God, but He wasn't in them. He was in the still small voice.

The antichrist will even call down fire from heaven and give life to the image of the beast and yet God will not be near.

God then told Elijah the work He still had for him to do. He had to mentor Elisha as the prophet to follow in his footsteps.

Do not mix God's work with the world. If you want to make the world your God, follow it; but if the Lord is God, then follow Him.

back to main July 2006 Youth Conference page

 

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