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Which Side Are You On? | Importance of Waiting on God

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
September 23, 2022 3:00 am

Which Side Are You On? | Importance of Waiting on God

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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September 23, 2022 3:00 am

None of us likes to wait. Like when we’re on hold hearing that annoying music repeat over and over again. Or when we’re in line at the grocery store or the airport. Or in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, and our name is finally called and we go to the exam room to . . . wait some more. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out that when we wait on GOD, it can renew us. We’ll see some great miracles took place through the prophet Elijah AFTER a time of waiting on the Lord.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org. Pastor Greg Laurie says, let it refresh you. None of us likes to wait, like when we're on hold, hearing that annoying music repeat over and over again, or when we're in line at the grocery store or the airport, or in the waiting room at the doctor's office, and our name is finally called and we go to the exam room to wait some more. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out when we wait on God, it can renew us. We'll see some great miracles took place through the prophet Elijah after a time of waiting on the Lord.

This is the day, the day when life begins. And we're talking, of course, about Elijah the prophet, and it's a series we're calling Elijah, The Power to Stand. And we're looking at how one man's life made a difference, and Israel had gone off the rails spiritually and morally. Whenever you go off the rails spiritually, you'll go off the rails morally too, and that's exactly what they had done. Instead of worshiping the true and living God who had been so good to them, they turned to false gods. They turned to idols, and specifically in their case, they turned to Baal and Ashtoreth, and in fact it was Jezebel the queen who brought the worship of Baal into Israel.

Ahab was a spineless man who was really manipulated by effectively the wicked witch of the west, Jezebel. So they're in charge, and everything's going the wrong direction. Enter Elijah, who enters the picture with boldness and courage and throws down the gauntlet. I wonder if some of you feel like you're the only one around who speaks up for your faith. Maybe it's in your family. Maybe it's in your workplace or your campus or your neighborhood or wherever. You feel all alone, and that's probably how Elijah felt.

He actually wasn't the only one, but he felt like it at times. So we're going to read now one of the most well-known stories in all of the Bible. This is where they're up in Mount Carmel. This is bigger than the Thrilla in Manila. This is bigger than the Rumble in the Jungle. Not jumble.

There's no jumble. These are fights from days gone by if you don't know what I'm talking about. This is the shootout at the Carmel Corral. This is where Elijah stands up on Mount Carmel and throws down a challenge and says, let's ask the real God to answer us by fire. This is an appropriate challenge considering the fact that Baal, in theory, was the god of the elements, the god of the sun, the god of the rain, the god of everything. So let's go ahead and just let God answer us himself. Fire from heaven. Can you imagine if you had the power to call fire down from heaven? Elijah did. And he used it on two occasions.

One is on Mount Carmel. The other is when a king sent a captain of 50 soldiers to arrest Elijah who was up on a hill. And the captain said, Elijah, man of God. The king says, come down from that hill right now. Elijah says, if I'm a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your 50 soldiers. Well, he was a man of God. And fire came down.

Now another poor guy is tasked with doing the same thing. He comes up to Elijah up in the hill and he says, oh man of God. The king says, come down from there. Elijah says, if I'm a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your 50 soldiers. He was still a man of God.

They got torched too. The third guy is like, hi, sir, Mr. Elijah. Look, I'm just on my job here.

I already heard what happened to the other guys. Would you pretty please come down. Here's pictures of my family. Look. Elijah says, okay. Because then the angel of the Lord said to Elijah, go with him. So he had this ability. Man, if I had the ability to call fire down from heaven, there would be some torched people on the freeway.

Right? The crazy things people do coming over eight lanes or tailgating you the whole time or the things that people do. And there would be some torched people using cell phones too.

Especially people using cell phones on the freeway which is the reason they do a lot of the crazy things that they do. In fact, an interesting story in the New Testament. James and John aptly described as the sons of thunder were upset because a certain city in Samaria was not hospitable to Jesus and the disciples. And they said, Lord, shall we call fire down from heaven on them as Elijah did? Jesus is like, hey, guys, come on. I didn't come to torch people.

I came to save people. And then he said, you don't even know what kind of spirit you're of to make a statement like this. But Elijah never used this ability for a personal purpose or to vent his anger. He did it when the Lord called him to do. Where did Elijah get this courage that he had?

Reviewing back in something I gave in the first message if you're taking notes. Number one, Elijah stood continually in the presence of God. Elijah stood continually in the presence of God. He said to King Ahab, as the Lord God lives, 1 Kings 17, 1.

As the Lord God lives before whom I stand, there will not be rain but according to my word. He served a living God and he was aware of the fact that he constantly was in the presence of God. And when you stand in the presence of God, you will not bow before any other person.

Proverbs 28, 1 says the righteous are as bold as a lion. Secondly, Elijah was a man of prayer. James 5, 17 says Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain and it did not rain in the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed and the heavens gave rain and the earth produced its crop. It was Elijah's prayer in private that was a source of his power in public.

Let me say that again. It was Elijah's prayer in private that was a source of his power in public. That's where he got his courage. Thirdly, Elijah knew scripture and acted on it. There's a statement given to us in Deuteronomy 11 where God warned if Israel turned to idols, he would send a draught to their land. And so he knew what the word of God said.

So what he did was based on scripture. Fourthly, Elijah faithfully delivered the message. This is not an easy message to deliver.

Hey everybody, you're going to experience a great draught and many of you are going to die. You've been a great audience. Good night. God bless. Mic drop.

Right now. Who wants to give a message like that? And in the same way it's hard for us sometimes to tell people what the Bible says about final judgment and how Christ is the only way to the Father.

And maybe we have a discomfort with certain areas of scripture but if we want to serve the Lord and represent him we need to give his truth and not edit it or varnish it or whitewash it or anything else. Also number five, Elijah was a man of faith and obedience. So after he throws down the gauntlet in the court of Ahab and Jezebel, the Lord says, Okay, let's go. You're leaving. And he sends him to a little brook called Cherith. He has to go off the grid. Action man has to be quiet because this is an outdoorsy kind of rough and tumble kind of guy and now he has to go and basically be silent and wait on the Lord. He could have complained.

He could have said no but he did exactly what God called him to do. You know we live in an instant gratification culture today, don't we? You download everything. You want to read a book? Just download it. Have it in a few seconds. You can get your news real time on the feed, on your phone.

You can send a text and food is on the way. You want to watch a movie? Remember the days Blockbuster? We'd go on Blockbuster and rent these things called video tapes. Remember the statement, be kind, rewind. Remember that?

It's like ancient history. Then there were DVDs. Oh DVDs. And so you could get an account with Netflix and they would send you a DVD and then you would watch it and you would return the DVD and so forth. And then it became downloadable and now everything is downloadable.

Who even looks at DVDs anymore? So we are used to getting things quickly, immediately. Amazon, same day delivery. Whatever you need you can have it now. So it is hard. Well God says to us, slow down. But God has this timing. You know when you see a work of God that is working it is always the right person in the right place at the right time.

And just as important as the will of God is, is the timing of God. We read over in Isaiah 40-31, They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary.

They shall walk and not faint. Notice that God energizes us as we wait upon Him. Maybe the reason you are so tired and worn out and depleted is because you haven't taken time to just wait on the Lord. You just sit before the Lord.

You are always on the go, always moving, always active. And sometimes it is good to just sit. And that is what Elijah did for a long period of time. Then the Lord said, now I want you to go over to some widow's house and ask her for free food and live there for a while.

And he did it and he obeyed the Lord and God was getting him ready. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Many listeners write or call us sharing their stories of how these daily studies in God's Word make an impact on lives. I started listening to your message. I transport a lot of veterans to medical appointments and things of that nature. I keep the radio on to your station and the veterans have a chance to hear the word, some of them for the very first time.

And a couple of them have decided to give their life another chance. A couple of veterans who had attempted suicide found peace and comfort in the words that were given through your message. I want to say thank you very much and God bless you. What an encouragement to know that Pastor Greg's messages are touching lives in some unexpected ways. Do you have a comment to share with Pastor Greg? If so, call 1-866-871-1144.

That's 866-871-1144. And now Pastor Greg continues this fascinating section of Scripture in his message called, Which Side Are You On? So now we come to 1 Kings 18, verse 2, and we're introduced to a man named Obadiah. Meanwhile, the family had become very severe in Samaria. So Ahab summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace.

And then we have this very important statement. Obadiah was the devoted follower of the Lord. Once when Jezebel had tried to kill all the Lord's prophets, Obadiah hid a hundred of them in two caves. So Elijah's making his way to the palace and here comes Obadiah, who's in charge of the palace of the king. But then this detail is added because we could quickly say, oh, in charge of the palace of the king, that's a wicked king.

This is a corrupt man. Oh, no, it says he's a devoted follower of the Lord. God often places his people in positions of significance. Think of Joseph there in the court of the Pharaoh giving him advice. Daniel, before two kings, advising them as well. Nehemiah, the cup bearer of the king, who had the king's trust, who was able to take that position he had and use it for God's glory and help to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. And the king even funded it.

It was amazing. And so God will often place his people in these important positions. I think sometimes we think, you know, when you become a Christian, now you need to serve the Lord and you probably should be a pastor or a preacher or maybe working at church staff or at least just go hang around at the church all day and criticize other people, right?

No, no. God has a calling for many people. God has not called us to isolate but to infiltrate. Listen, we need Christian teachers in our schools today, right? We need Christian doctors. We need Christian businessmen. We need Christian lawyers, especially Christian lawyers. We need Christian mayors and congressmen and senators and Christians in politics. You know, I think about some of the people I've gotten to know in Washington, D.C. who are strong believers like Senator Marco Rubio, former Congressman Trey Gowdy, Senator Tim Scott.

And I've talked with these guys and I've prayed with these guys and see how they have their faith. And God puts people in amazing places. How about Alice Cooper, right? I've written a book, you know, Len and Dylan, Alice and Jesus. Is it possible that God can place His men in the middle of rock music to be an influence on other people?

The answer is yes, by the way. And Alice told me that he shared the gospel with Johnny Depp. He told me that he gave a Bible to Marilyn Manson. I said, did he burn it or anything?

He said, oh no, he was thankful to get it, you know. So not everyone's called to be an Elijah. Some are called to be an Obadiah. We might say, well, they're compromisers.

Why do you say that? God put them there and the Bible says he was a deeply committed man to the Lord. Think of Queen Esther. You know, you can say she was a compromiser. She was in a beauty contest. That's sinful.

Really? Well, looks like the Lord had His hand on all those events. And she ultimately became the queen.

And it's an interesting thing. She didn't walk in and say, hey everybody, I'm Jewish just in case you didn't know. She kept it to herself until she needed to use her influence for good and ended up saving the Jewish people because God had put her there for such a time as this. Some of us are called to be Elijah's. Some of us are called to be Obadiah's.

But every one of us is called to use our influence for God's glory wherever we are. You know, there's an interesting story when Jesus was talking about how John would live on longer and how Peter would die. Peter didn't like what he was hearing. And he said about John, well, what about him? And Jesus said, what is that to you? Follow me. And sometimes we're like, hey, what about him?

Well, I don't agree with that. Hey, the Lord says, what's that to you? You follow me. Don't worry about how well someone is doing it somewhere else or if they're not meeting your expectations. And just make sure you're using your life to bring glory to God where the Lord has placed you.

Stay in your lane and focus. Alright, so Obadiah goes back and says to Ahab, guess who's back? Elijah, the prophet, he's kind of hard to miss. He's that hairy dude with the crazy clothes and the wild look.

Yes, he wants to talk to you. So Ahab can't wait to confront Elijah. 1 Kings 18, verse 16. So Obadiah went to Ahab, then Elijah had come. And Ahab went out to meet Elijah. And when Ahab saw him, he exclaimed, so is that really you, troublemaker of Israel? Elijah replied, I didn't make any trouble for Israel. You and your family are the troublemakers, for you've refused to obey the commands of the Lord and you've worshiped the images of Baal instead.

We'll stop there. Interesting statement, Ahab calls Elijah the troublemaker of Israel. It's for troublemakers from a root word that means one who wreaks havoc or brings a pestilence or is a plague. The Hebrew word is snake. Ah, snake in the grass, Elijah.

The one that's caused all the chaos. You're like a walking plague, man. And why are you even here? Elijah says, I'm not the walking plague, you are. You're the one that brought this upon yourself.

And I just think about the differences life made. We need more troublemakers like this today. Because the church is the only hope for America. The church, you say, why do you say that? Because the church established by Christ himself is the restrained force in the world today. You know, I mentioned earlier that we're called to be salt and light in the world. And salt in the first century was used as a preservative.

It was used to stop the rotting of the meat. And in many ways the church stands and we speak out against what is wrong. We speak up for what is true. And the anti-Christ can't even be revealed until the church is caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Because we're told in Thessalonians, he who now restrains will continue to do so until he is taken out of the way. And then that wicked one will be revealed whom the Lord will destroy with the brightness of his coming.

It's speaking of the work of the Holy Spirit through the church. We're the restraining force. Imagine if we were suddenly taken from this earth overnight. How easily evil could spread rapidly, quickly with no one speaking up. No one saying a thing.

And so you can see how our influence is so needed in our culture. So Elijah says, okay Ahab, here's the deal. 1 Kings 18, 19, summon all of Israel to join me on Mount Carmel. Along with the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Ashtoreth who are supported by Jezebel. Elijah likes these odds.

850 to one. Bring out all your false prophets. Let's get up there on Mount Carmel.

Tell Israel to show up. You know, bring their popcorn and milk duds and let's do this thing. Let's have it out. Let's have this battle right now. It was the battle of the gods.

Here's what amazes me. Is Ahab agrees to this. Now why would he think he had any advantage over Elijah? Baal, his god of the elements of the weather was kind of a dud, right? He had not brought the rain when Elijah said it would not rain. Why did he think that Baal would be able to send fire from heaven?

Why would he agree to this thing and put all Israel up there to watch it? Simple answer. I have said it before.

I will say it again. Sin makes you stupid. This is the biggest mistake of Ahab's life. To agree with this idea. 1 Kings 18, 20. So Ahab summoned all of Israel and the prophets to Mount Carmel. Elijah stood in front of them and said, how much longer will you waver hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him.

If Baal is God, then follow him. But look at this. But the people were completely silent. Their silence was deafening.

Why? Because they worshiped many gods. And they did not want to stop. So hey, let's go. Let's see who has the real God. Well, the best part of the story is yet to come. Pastor Greg Laurie will have more from this encounter between God's prophet, Elijah, and the 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah.

Be sure to keep listening to A New Beginning. And then we want to mention Pastor Greg's compelling resource called Revelation, a Book of Promises. Now Pastor Greg, nearly everyone can think of a question they'd like to ask about the Book of Revelation. Maybe something about the 144,000 or if believers will be here when the Antichrist is revealed. Will they find answers in your new book?

100 percent, they will. Let me just give quick answer to every one of those questions. Who are the 144,000? There are 144,000 Jewish people who believe in Jesus as the Messiah. There's sort of like 144,000 kosher Billy Grahams combing the planet, sharing the gospel, and they're under divine protection. And then you mentioned, will believers be here to see the Antichrist?

I think the simple answer is no. Because the Bible says he who now restrains will continue to do so until he is taken out of the way, and then will that wicked one be revealed whom the Lord will destroy with the brightness of his coming. The restraining force in the world today is the work of the Holy Spirit through the church. It is my opinion that Antichrists cannot be revealed until the church is removed. So we should not waste time looking for Antichrists, but instead be looking for Jesus Christ. So the main thing we want to focus on is being ready to meet the Lord.

So I answer those questions and a lot more in this book called Revelation, a Book of Promises. It's hardcover. This is a pretty thick book, folks.

And we're going to send it to you for your gift of any size, because I believe this is going to be a resource that you can go to time and time again as you study this book. It's understandable. It's down to earth.

It's practical. I don't use a lot of theological language. I speak in a way that you can grasp it. And I want to send you this book again for your gift of any size. Whatever you can send, we'll use to reach more people with the gospel and the teaching of the word of God. And we so much appreciate that investment. It's really an investment in touching and changing lives. So get in touch today with that donation, and we'll thank you with a copy of Pastor Greg's book, Revelation, a Book of Promises. And by the way, we'll include a bookmark designed by our team to show the timeline of end times events very clearly.

What comes before what, what comes after what. So write us today at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call us any time around the clock at 1-800-821-3300.

1-800-821-3300. Or go online to harvest.org. Hey everybody, what are you doing this weekend? I'd like to hang out with you at Harvest at Home. When is Harvest at Home? It is a time of worship and Bible study exclusively designed for people that are viewing in from all over the place. So you can be a part of our extended congregation at Harvest at Home. Join us this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well next time, more from our study of the life of Elijah and his encounter with the prophets of Baal. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story, leave a review on your favorite podcast app, and help others find hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-15 11:52:17 / 2023-01-15 12:02:12 / 10

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