Even though he has a flash, one moment in chapter 20, he seems to be reachable.
He doesn't sustain it. You meet people like that. They'll say the right thing. Yeah, I know I need to get right with God.
And then they go and do the most heinous things and have no intention of stopping. These characters in Scripture exist for us to be able to sustain it. To learn our skill as Christians in dealing with people on behalf of the Lord and on behalf of people. Let's join Pastor Rick in the book of 1 Kings 17 as he begins his message, Days of Elijah. We're going over the kings, the politicians of Israel, and hopefully you'll find it a blessing. This chapter begins a new prophetic order. There were other prophets of course, but God now intensifies the ministry of the prophets. And he begins with Elijah.
And he develops it further with Elisha. And of course then you have eventually prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah. And of course Daniel was a prophet outside of Israel. But God is elevating the office of a prophet. And we're going to see that in these first few chapters concerning Elijah.
Now they're going to have national importance. Granted David had Nathan and Gad the prophets, but David had a direct line to the Lord. And when he needed to be rebuked or sometimes got into areas that were unclear to him, certainly God had David interact with the prophets.
But not like it is going to be here. From this point forward Israel, the prophet in Israel, the prophet will be superior to the king from God's perspective. And even though this will be in Judah also, or even though in Judah you have some righteous kings, not very many, but you do have some, even their work was due to the inspiration and the influence of the prophets, the office of the prophets. The arrival of this great prophet Elijah, and he is a great prophet, just in this chapter alone, so many miracles, innumerable.
He arrives on the scene and it's not an interruption in the records of the kings. It is a record of the response of God to the conditions created by corrupt kings. It is God's response to apostate kings and to those who are worshipping vapor, as we covered the word used for the idols here in Kings.
One of the words. In this chapter alone, Elijah comes on the scene, announces a drought, which is going to bring a course of famine. The rains will be withheld. The ravens, they will deliver, like a door dash without a door, kind of a time when they're going to deliver food to the prophet morning and evening. Then there's the widow at Zarephath, rations were set for her by the prophet, and then her son, of course, dies. It doesn't say that, but the implication is clear, and Elijah revives him. And this is what we're going to look at, so we go to verse 1 now of 1 Kings chapter 17. And Elijah the Tishbite of the inhabitants of Gilead said to Ahab, as Yahweh God of Israel lives before whom I stand, there shall not be do nor reign these years except at my word. Well, King Ahab and his anti-God wife Jezebel now rule, and we only have to look back to verse 33 of the previous chapter, chapter 16, and there we read Ahab made a wooden image. Ahab did more to provoke Yahweh God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.
And so God dispatches not only Elijah, but creates this new important or more emphasized ministry of the prophets. With this religion that was imported, these Canaanite religions, male and female prostitution, child murder, and sacrifice, how would you like to be the Prime Minister of Canada who is inviting people to come to Canada to kill the unborn if they can't kill them here? You see, this kind of evil is still going on, and the murder of the unborn, in those days here, the child could be older, not a newborn necessarily.
Nowadays, they can't wait for that. They can't kill them before they even get a chance. So anyhow, you can't be a Christian and sanction these type of things. I mean, yeah, there are medical exceptions, but they're very few in comparison. In fact, in fact, the number one killer of human beings is child murder, the unborn child being murdered.
You add up the wars, the diseases, they're more killed before they have a chance than after they enter into this world. Anyway, every conceivable vice associated with Jezebel's religion was now in the Northern Kingdom, in the Promised Land with the people of promise. This is what the devilish duo, they have and Jezebel brought into the land. And again, we have them today.
We had them in people like Bill and Hillary, we have had them in the Obama's, and the one now is not bright enough to be. Anyway, we have these things, these people that are just wicked to the core, so corrupt in the darkness in their hearts is astounding. Anyway, this is what the prophet is facing. And to counter this satanic influence, God raised up this powerful prophet in particular, and for us, God is to raise up the church. But so many of the churches are about so many other things than simply preaching the word. They think the Bible is not enough to keep people happy. Well, maybe they viewed their congregation like children.
You got to keep them busy, got to keep them happy. I don't know, but one thing we're going to hear a lot from this prophet is, Thus says the Lord, and this is what the church is supposed to be saying to the world. We're supposed to say, look, I know you're not going to go to the Bible yourself, so I'm going to bring it to you.
Thus says the Lord. Anyway, this chapter begins with a conjunction. If we look again at verse one, it says, And Elijah the Tishbite. Well, that, therefore, is in addition to what has already taken place in the previous chapter.
The story is continuing. Ahab and Jezebel have imported these evil religions, and God is now countering them. So it's not, well, I think God is countering. No, it's telling us, and Elijah the Tishbite of the inhabitants of Gilead. He is dispatched by God. It is God's addition. It is God continuing the story. That's all we have to do is read the end of the last chapter of the verse I just read.
It's a melancholy story. It's depressing to see the rapid and popular spread of evil. We're living through this today.
We're watching insanity on the defense of evil is astounding. Anyway, we are to be focused, and we're going to get that out of this chapter that, yeah, that's what's happening around you, but you have your assignment as a believer. We all have assignments as a believer.
Go into the world and make disciples, those who are willing to learn about God. And we would suppose that with the evil coming in, okay, that's it. We've been reading about these bad kings since Jeroboam, one after another, killing each other. God is not doing anything, and God is not going to respond. The guilty, they probably thought that. Ahab and Jezebel probably thought that Yahweh was marginalized.
He has no power. The influence of Baal is what matters, and in our time, it's the influence of the culture. That's their God, what everybody else is doing.
I wish there was a way to defund the doofuses, but you can't, so you've got to just meet them head on and change our battle plan. Anyway, the guilty, Ahab and Jezebel, they also thought that the false prophets would prevail. To them, they were not false prophets. Religion, they enjoyed.
They enjoyed this. It doesn't matter that it was fake. It doesn't matter that there was no unbroken witness from Adam to the present.
That did not matter, did not count. What counted is they liked these gods. And as the Bible teaches, from Deuteronomy into the New Testament, these gods are demons. They're demon-made. Yeah, Allah to us is demonic, and they'd kill you for that.
I couldn't say that if I'm living in Pakistan and expect to live. But I can say it here, and I just said it. I'm not trying to be cocky. It is an element of defiance. When you know you're right, when you know that evil is not being interfered with, the righteous have a defiant spirit towards that. That has cost us in our day, in the day of Christianity, and in the days of the righteous Jews, it has cost lives to confront these things. Well, anyway, impenitent sinners, repeat the same mistake. Those who sin and don't say to God, I know I'm violating your commandments, and I wish I could stop. The impenitent doesn't do that. If the impenitent does, it's because of their own self.
I just want to have more control over my life, but I really don't care about God. They make the mistake of supposing God is not going to respond, that they're going to get away with these things. There's a way that seems right to man, but it's way leads to death, an eternal death. Sin ruins a nation. Righteous exalts a nation. Sin is a reproach to all people, says the Lord.
Anyway, at this time, even the remnant of the righteous, even those who remain faithful to Jehovah God are still there, but they probably think God's not going to do anything. See, this is the difference. Well, this is for us, for example.
Alright, so America is becoming something else now. What is my assignment? What am I supposed to do? Well, I'm supposed to preach the word in season and out of season.
What part of in season and out of season does it not mean in season and out of season? I'm supposed to always preach the word, be a witness of Jesus Christ. That's what my assignment is, and when we start getting distracted into other things, you can get tripped up in politics very quickly, or you can trip them up with the truth of Jesus Christ. Elijah was God's response, and the two sticks, that couple of sticks, Ahab and Jezebel, who in their fits of evil precipitated this judgment that's coming, they're going to find out. We know she gets eaten by dogs. Well, the dogs didn't even want to eat parts of her, she was so bad.
I mean, I'm sure those dogs had stomachaches after, but anyway. Well, this is a fact concerning these things. If God did not send this type of prophet, this man, things would have been even worse in the history of the Jews. He has such an effect, not only in his time, but through the ages. Have I, as a Christian, any effect on my surroundings? Do I have an influence for righteousness? Have I learned, as a Christian, as the years have gone by, not to push the gospel in my own strength, try to tie a rope on the gospel and drag it up a hill into somebody's life. That's not the gospel. That's not what we learn in the New Testament on how to share the gospel and win souls, not by might nor by power attracts us from the prophet Zechariah, because it is a New Testament teaching concerning being led by the Holy Spirit. And it is that important and that helpful. Jesus said, you are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its flavor, if it's lost that taste, how shall it be seasoned? It's good for nothing but to be thrown down and trampled underfoot by men. And I, as a Christian, the only way I know to lose my salt is to become an apostate, is to bury the treasure and snuff out the light that God has given.
And I don't plan to do that. Knowing what's coming about this prophet changes its introduction. Elijah the Tishbite, he comes on this scene in a dramatic, startling way.
It is fitting. He comes from nowhere, obscure Tishbe. We still don't know where that is. He shows up in the midst of idolatry. He goes everywhere he wants to go because he's sent to the places that he goes, with the exception of one pronounced time.
He confronts the rulers. He slays the false prophets. He makes disciples. Yes, there be no Elisha without an Elijah.
He's a little eccentric at times. He gets carried away, but not in his religion, by God, to heaven. It's very easy to be carried away, to become a religious zealot, in a negative sense. Not zealous for the Lord you serve and worship, but a zealot for a religion and its ritual. You say, I don't really need God, I've got my religion.
And a lot of people do that. Well, this Tishbe likely meant little to anyone in those days, as it can't even be located on the map. And here is the prophet that we find in the New Testament, standing next to Moses, talking to Jesus Christ. That, on the Mount of Transfiguration, is alone a remarkable stamp of God's opinion of this man and his ministry. He is the prophet who sets the pace for repentance before the first and the second coming of Jesus Christ. I mean, John the Baptist is associated with Elijah.
And, of course, there are the two witnesses that are associated with it. These guys are calling fire down from heaven, just like Elijah did. He is the prophet that conveys the Spirit of God during the Great Tribulation. Malachi chapter 4, New Testament supports this, of course. Behold, I send you, Elijah, the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of Yahweh. And that's just a snippet of this Spirit of his ministry. There will be Elijah-like characters. John the Baptist was an Elijah-like character. And there will be others. Some believe that he will be dispatched again to earth in human form. You really can't argue that. There's nothing to say it can't happen.
You don't want to be here. You want to see it from the grandstands in heaven and not from real time. Anyway, he said to Ahab, now that's the king, of course, the wicked king, solely responsible for bringing Jezebel into the land. 1 Kings, again, chapter 16, verse 31, And it came to pass, as though it had been a little thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam, the son of Nabat, that he took as wife Jezebel, the daughter of Eph-ba-al, king of the Sidonians, and he went and served Baal and worshipped him. But he didn't go to Sidon to do it. He stayed in Israel to do it.
And he brought it all in. 1 Kings 18, Jezebel massacred the prophets of Yahweh. We just need to be clear on who we're dealing with here. When we talk about Ahab and Jezebel, even though he has a flash, one moment in chapter 20, he seems to be reachable.
He doesn't sustain it. You'll meet people like that. They'll say the right thing. Yeah, I know, I need to get right with God. And then they go and do the most heinous things and have no intention of stopping. These characters in scripture exist for us to learn our skill as Christians in dealing with people on behalf of the Lord and on behalf of people. Christ died for people, and we can't lose sight of that. He didn't just die for me.
He died for others, too. It says here in verse 1, Yahweh, God of Israel, lives. That's Elijah announcing this. This is his first recorded sermon.
It's very short. And he makes it clear that you, you, Ahab, you follow dead bows. This is junk. It doesn't even exist. My God, Yahweh, he is alive, and he participates, and he has power.
That's what he is saying. It's a formal way of saying, I have a message from the real God to you who worship a false God, because that's what it's all about. That's why eternity matters, because it's all about God. Someone would rather walk with angels than stand with God.
He's saying Yahweh, God of Israel, before whom I stand, he says. And the reason why people want to walk with angels is because they don't feel angels convict them. That's because, again, they're ignorant of God's word, ignorant of God's word. You get to the book of Revelation. You know, people are getting obsessed with Revelation, I think, and that's not good. They get spooked by it.
I think one of the reasons why they're focused on the negative. When you come to the book of Revelation, focus on the positive, the power of these angels. I mean, you can't top the Holy Hand grenade. That's in the book of Revelation.
He takes it and he throws it. I mean, every time the angel said with a loud voice, that's our side. That's our team. I should be excited about this and not, oh boy, the millions are going to die. Well, that's going to happen. I can't control that.
But what I can control is my perception of the power and the force that my God has available, so that maybe he can impart some of that to me to do his work, to carry out my assignment, because these are the days of Elijah. There's just as much Ahab and Jezebel corruption now than there was then. We're a little sheltered from the extreme, but that's closing in. It's shrinking that safe zone.
Anyway, he says, as Yahweh God of Israel lives, Abraham, this is what we read, when Abraham was finished praying, he prayed for the people in Sodom and Gomorrah. God said, it's just too late. I've got a remnant there.
I'll get them out if they want. And the proof of that, remember Lot's wife. And those who don't believe in free will, I just don't get that.
Do they freely believe that? Anyway, Genesis 18, 22, then the men turned away from there and went towards Sodom. But Abraham stood before Yahweh.
I just love that. You love that he stood by the tree waiting to serve the three visitors, one of them being Christophany, the appearance of Christ in the Old Testament. You love that Abraham just stayed there ready to serve. There shall not be dew nor rain these years except by my word. Well, why should God bless the defiant? They were defying him. Why should he let rain come? You know, Elihu, you're the windbag of the book of Job.
You know, you got to be careful. I don't want to quote Bildad, Zolaphad, Elihu, any of the guys that were problem to Job. But every now and then they say something that's wise and right. But you got to consider the source. And he is the one that said, you know, God, he didn't say it this way, but essentially he said, you know, God can just pinch the airline. We depend on him for our oxygen.
Yeah, that's true. But I'm still not going to quote Elihu. I don't like him. I'm going to get to heaven if he's there. We'll be friends.
We won't bring it up. Because, I mean, you know, teaching the book of Job is exciting when you're talking about what Job is saying. And you get to those other guys, it's like, man, they won't shut up. Who wrote this down? God, this was important. All right. Anyway, back to this.
No dew or no rain. Now the righteous are going to have to deal with this, too. It's not like it's just going to be a drought on those who are not right with me. This did not mean God did not care for the righteous. Thus the widow at Zarephath, I mean, God had her, you know, on his mind. But the righteous have their assignment within the drought. The remnant, they have something to do besides just enduring the hardship. God does care about them.
But he's got other things to do, and he has to use them as part of the process, and they're going to take some of the heat. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword? Which one of those are going to separate you from Christ? Good question. May none of them.
Because some have opted out because of those things. And Jesus talked about the seed that fell amongst the thorns and the cares of this world choked out the word of God in the lives of those people. He says, before whom I stand? To stand for anything means you have to stand against something else.
That is this life. You're going to stand for Christ, you're going to stand against the world. There's no merging of the two. A little leaven leavens the lump in our thinking, and sometimes it's a lot of work trying to keep the leaven out. There shall not be do nor reign these years except at my word. No reason to doubt God's word. Israel's famines, all of them, were a result of their idolatry, and that's made clear not only in Leviticus 26.
It just makes it very clear. The heavens are going to be like iron to you, like steel, you know. You're not going to be able to reach me with prayer if you start praying to these idols.
Of course, if they repented. Verse 2, hey, we got to verse 2. I was going to name this Days of Elijah Part 1. That still might happen. Anyway, the word of Yahweh came to him saying, before we get to the saying, the point is, of course, God speaks to Elijah, but the New Testament then rings in on this and says, James chapter 5 verse 70, Elijah was a man with a nature like ours. What? If God can speak to him and he's got a fallen nature like mine, then God can speak to me.
I'd rather dodge the whole drought thing, but here we are. That's a significant little verse. The word of the Lord came to him, to Elijah, a man with a nature like mine. Thanks for joining us for today's teaching on Cross Reference Radio. This is the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia.
We trust that what you've heard today in the book of First Kings has had a lasting imprint on your life. If you'd like to listen to more teachings from this series or share it with someone you know, please visit CrossReferenceRadio.com. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast, too, so you'll never miss another edition. Just visit CrossReferenceRadio.com and follow the links under radio. Again, that's CrossReferenceRadio.com. Our time with you today is about up, but we hope you'll tune in next time to continue studying the word of God. Join us again as Pastor Rick covers more in the book of First Kings on Cross Reference Radio.
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