Tonight in Bible Study we focused on one of my favorite passages. Peter Reid preached a sermon on this passage at the 2009 3CA Conference, and I’ve listened to it innumerable times, but we took out 5 applications tonight.
The Background: 1 Kings 18:16-46: Elijah on Mt. Carmel
The Scene: Elijah vs. 450 prophets of Baal.
The Challenge: You have a bull and some wood. Pray for your God to send down fire and burn the offering.
Baal worshippers, go first: They prayed, they danced, they mutilated themselves; nothing happened.
Elijah, your turn: He set up the sacrifice, he soaked everything down with water, he prayed; God sent fire from heaven.
The peoples’ response: fell and declared “The Lord – He is God!”
What an awesome miracle! One thing Amanda pointed out tonight though – even though Elijah was on a huge spiritual “high,” and the crowds were excited and worshipping – they may not have been as high as he was. Sometimes it’s frustrating when we see the Lord do amazing things and people don’t respond as enthusiastically as we think they should.
Verse 2 of the next chapter, the queen threatens to kill Elijah.
Our Focus for Today: 1 Kings 19:3-18: Elijah Flees
Elijah ran, left his servant in town, and continued alone a day’s journey into the desert.
Live is overwhelming sometimes. Sometimes the best you can do is run and hide. Mom, this might mean you turn your cell phone off on the way to pick up the kids. Or you might tell your husband to keep peace in the house while you go on a walk after supper. Or you might just shut the door when you go to the bathroom, whatever works! College student, this might mean you go off campus for a while. Or you reserve a study room in the library. Or you find a family away from home in your college town church who is willing to pour into you (and let you borrow their homelike atmosphere at times).
Elijah laid down under a tree and went to sleep.
Sleep deprivation can make difficult circumstances seem absolutely impossible. Take a nap. Start winding down a few minutes earlier each night until you have a reasonable bed time. Think about how you can maximize your time in the morning for a few extra minutes of sleep. Also, try to get the most from your sleep – there’s an article on yahoo almost every other day with hints to help you sleep better – see what works for you.
The angel of the Lord provided bread and water for Elijah, and told him to get up and eat.
Eat! It doesn’t have to be fancy – Elijah had bread and water. It would help if it were nutritional though. Don’t expect your body to survive and thrive on crackers, candy and coke. Eat something that nourishes you. Eat regularly.
Pray and think were seperate tonight, but I have combined them for simplicity’s sake.
Elijah talked to God. God whispered to Elijah. Then they talked.
Tell God what your issue(s) is(are). He already knows, but there are two reasons you need to tell Him. First, God is a gentleman. He has given us free will and will typically wait for us to ask for help. Second, there is freedom in expressing your hurt or situation. Let the steps above be preparations so that you can hear God’s whisper. Sometimes God will be in the “big” events and be very obvious. But often, as in this passage, He is a whisper. Be sure to listen thouroughly, but then continue the conversation. The Lord comes alongside us – He doesn’t just whisper a suggestion and good luck.
I think this is a great passage. It is an example of how even the greatest of God’s servants – even after a major spiritual high – can crash. How comforting that even the greats had human struggles. It is also extremely practical in an approach to healing and restoration. I’m not great at any of these. The only one I’m half-way decent at is eating, and I usually don’t do that very healthfully or regularly. But I do think we should take strides to live in this Biblical model.