1 Kings 19
I hope you've been blessed by the "Together" series that we've been studying in our ABF's here at Second. These passages have been immensely encouraging to study through for a few reasons. Occasionally we can get burned out in ministry or even take for granted what we have been given as children of God. These verses from 1 Corinthians 15, Romans 10 and Luke 10 have been grand reminders as to the beauty of the gospel, it's importance and the mandate that we have as believers to proclaim it to the world.
I don't know if you have noticed, but that is kind of the pattern by which we in the worship office try and plan our services. I believe wholeheartedly that we cannot stray too far from the gospel before we begin to experience seasons of spiritual dryness, depression, and just a flat out unwillingness to even read our Bibles.
Elijah experienced that in 1 Kings 19. The previous two chapters introduce us to Elijah, demonstrate the power God has given him through raising someone from the dead and amazing account of his success against the prophets of baal. Seemingly Elijah is unstoppable and would have built up all kinds of confidence in ministry and would go on to conquer the known world for the one true God Yahweh! And then we come to 1 Kings 19, just two chapters into his story, and boom! Fear and doubt settle in and he tucks tail and runs. Elijah catches wind that Jezebel, King Ahab's sadistic, baal loving wife, has it out for him and wants him dead by the days end. Now after raising a kid from the dead, challenging 450 prophets, witnessing God answer his prayer by fire, and hacking to pieces a whole bunch of bad dudes, you would imagine that a threat from this woman wouldn't affect him much. Well, you would be wrong. He bolted. Not only that, he asked God to just end his life as he wallowed in self-pity and loneliness.
It's amazing how fast we can find ourselves in the same situation as old Elijah. Coming down from a spiritual mountain top and not have the energy or motivation to keep going. We can't seem to muster the energy to pray, read, commune or even fellowship with other believers. This is the part of the story that gets me. God imparted such grace to his trusted servant. He doesn't condemn him, or discipline him really. He feeds him. He gives him food and lets him rest. God sends him to the place where He met with Moses. He speaks to him by the gospel. God demonstrates his great power in wind, earthquakes and fire, and then calls to him in whisper. This great and powerful, magnificent God speaks to us in ways we can understand. He shows His love and compassion to Elijah in a tender soft spoken voice. The Lord doesn't stop there. You see there is work to be done. He gives His prophet a job.
"Go. Call out some leaders. I'm gonna give you a helper. You thought you were going to have to do this alone. I got you child. I've never left you. Keep working."
God is so gracious to us. Martin Lloyd Jones once said, "Elijah got too busy listening to himself, when he should have been speaking to himself." He's talking about the gospel. We have to rehearse this good news over and over again. When doubt and fear creep take over, preach to yourself. Remind yourself "whose" you are. Speak the glorious scripture to yourself again. "There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus". "God demonstrated his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." "For it is by grace that you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." "If you confess your sins He is faithful to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."What great news!
As you sing the gospel this weekend, sing it with fresh eyes of gratitude for the wonder that it is.