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Elijah’s Tough Time (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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May 31, 2023 6:00 am

Elijah’s Tough Time (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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May 31, 2023 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

Cross Reference Radio
Pastor Rick Gaston
Cross Reference Radio
Pastor Rick Gaston
Alan Wright Ministries
Alan Wright
Alan Wright Ministries
Alan Wright
Alan Wright Ministries
Alan Wright

He performed at this time no less than seven miracles, profound miracles. And all of it was just not applied. We pray that when we learn from the Bible, we will apply the lessons. And of course, we struggle from time to time and this or that, but many times we are able to achieve the objectives.

I don't know about you, but there's times I've said to myself, look at that, I'm actually loving this person. I'm doing it. I'm doing the Christianity. Thank you, Lord. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher, Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of 1 Kings.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the book of 1 Kings 19 as he begins his message called Elijah's Tough Time. 1 Kings, the 19th chapter, Elijah's Tough Time. Without judging the great prophet and he is, again, no less great for some of the things we're going to further examine about him that are not in his favor. Without judging him, we can learn from what God has preserved about him and that's the whole purpose is to look at what happened here, God's response to it, and hopefully that contributes to our growth. Now in this 19th chapter, if you're familiar with it, you may have noticed that Elijah's flight from Jezebel's death threat on him has some similarities to Moses in this respect.

He flees for his life. Well, Moses, of course, after it was found out that he had killed the Egyptian in defense of one of his Jewish brethren, he flees for his life. Forty days and forty nights in the wilderness for Elijah, without bread, without water, as with Moses also there on Mount Sinai, or Sinai, as some like to pronounce it, and then of course meeting there on Mount Sinai, and then the presence of the Lord passing by.

Those things put him in the same league with Moses. It's pretty impressive when you consider it that way, but we have a lot here, so let's look at verse 1, and Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Well, remember the last verse in the previous chapter said that Elijah got to the city first ahead of Ahab, and that's going to come back into the story.

Well, we'll just read it very quickly. Verse 46 of chapter 18, then the hand of Yahweh came upon Elijah, and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel. Here is Ahab, sniveling little crybaby that he is. He will again whimper over another man's property that he is coveting, and Jezebel will figure out a way to get that property for him, but here he's blubbering about being rejected and defeated. You would think after witnessing such a profound miracle, or plural miracles, that it would move the king, it would move Jezebel.

It does not. It moves them to violence. Also how he executed all the prophets with the sword. Your beloved prophets of Baal are dead, Jezebel, because of Elijah, and she loved those prophets.

Now, it doesn't mention the fire from Yahweh, although of course it says here that he told Jezebel all that Elijah had done. I bet you that was a piece of the truth that he would like to have suppressed. We know wicked people love suppressing the truth because the truth is not in their favor. Romans chapter 1 verse 18, for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. A lot of news editors are going to be in hell for the truths that they suppressed because they did not want people to find out about the wickedness that was going on so that it could be prevented.

But truth doesn't matter to these two. They preferred their soap opera gods. That's what man-made gods are. It's just this drama of superhuman beings doing their wickedness.

This was the case with Greek mythology and the Roman gods. It's just this big soap opera, never-ending story. They just keep tacking on a new story when that one got boring and perverse. The perversity. Pompeii, you know, the archaeologists have uncovered so much in Pompeii that tell us about just how perverted not only the people were but their gods were, which were a product of course of their imagination. Jezebel was an evil human being and Ahab adored her.

And we can't lose sight of that. It will come out later in chapter 21 when he steals the vineyard of Naboth. Verse 2, then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah saying, so let the gods do to me and more so, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time. She sends a messenger because she couldn't send an assassin. She wanted to kill this man. Why not put a dagger in the messenger's hand? I think this is bravado. I also think the prophet missed this point.

He missed the fact that, you know what, if she really wanted to kill me, here's her chance with the messenger. But it doesn't happen that way. It says here in verse 2 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.

Well, tomorrow will come and go. Well, he flees, of course. But her oath fails. If she could have killed him or had him killed, she would have.

And here we find out that for her, well, let me go back, go forward a little bit. There were those that took an oath to kill the Apostle Paul that they would either, that they would either drink or eat until they killed him. Well, he got away from them. Did they starve to death?

Or how do you, you know, what do you do? Okay, cancel the oath. Anyway, it just reveals the folly of it all. So she does not succeed. But Elijah gets the last say concerning her.

Later on, he'll come and approach Ahab again and he'll tell him how that she's going to die. That her gods could not honor her oath. It would backfire. She would be tossed out of a window. She would be trampled by horses. And then the dogs would eat her.

And that is what will happen to her. In verse 3, and when he saw that he rose and ran for his life and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. So he gets the message that there's a contract out on your life and it will be satisfied by tomorrow. And he says, I'm out of here. The threat of a violent death will test anyone's faith.

We're surprised at this. He's such a prophet of thunder and he will again regain that thunder. Up till now, he didn't move unless God told him to move. Go to Keirith, the brook, and then go to Zarephath, then go tell Ahab. Well, here he's moving without God.

What happened to the words of Elijah that said the God before whom I stand and the Jezebel whom I flee? This crushed him. He didn't take this lightly. This will collapse upon him, this mistake. God's going to be so gentle with this man. He performed at this time no less than seven miracles, profound miracles. And all of it was just not applied. We pray that when we learn from the Bible, we will apply the lessons.

And of course, we struggle from time to time and this or that, but many times we are able to achieve the objectives. I don't know about you, but there's times I've said to myself, look at that. I'm actually loving this person. I'm doing it. I'm doing the Christianity. Thank you, Lord. It's humorous on some levels.

Another one is quite remarkable. So he is running without God. Unconsciously, we can assume that God has grown less efficient in our lives if we're not careful.

Those earlier days, he seems to be right there with us and then as time goes on, all of a sudden we've got more knowledge of description, more knowledge of the faith, and yet God does not seem to be as on the ball for us or as interested in us. Of course, that is not true. At this point, Charles Spurgeon makes this statement, this comment, and I've said this before and it's such a remarkable statement. He says Elijah retreated before a beaten army. That's so accurate. It's so true. It's something to remember.

Do I do that? Do I gain the victory in Christ and then retreat because of something that spooks me? It says here, and he went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah. That's about a hundred miles from Jezreel. It is Judah's southernmost border at the end of Judah's territory, completely out of the jurisdiction of Ahab and Jezebel, but he's not finished running yet. He has to get rid of his servants so he can move faster, it appears. It says and left his servant there. This is the servant that was on the mountain with him and he said, go look for the cloud.

I see a cloud the size of a man's hand rising out of the east and now he's witnessing his pastor collapse right in front of him. Well, it's unfortunate, an unfortunate witness, but this stuff happens and I think also unfortunate is how Christians react. I mean, wouldn't it have been horrible if after God restores Elijah that the servant doesn't want to have anything to do with the prophet?

I don't think that happened at all. In fact, the ministry of Elijah gets elevated in this sense. Out of this, Elisha will be anointed to be his disciple. He doesn't take the ministry right away, he's got things to learn and Elijah and Elisha, they're both remarkable, remarkable servants of God. So he leaves his servant after defeating Satan's clergy.

Remember that. He gets up to the city gate. That's where I read from chapter 18 verse 46. He gets to the city gate, he gets news that there's a temple in his life coming and he retreats before that defeated army. There shut down his thinking and his faith and his recall, at least effective recall. In other words, he could have remembered the miracles, the wonders, sure, but he wasn't applying them so it was ineffective. At the word of evil, he runs.

Paul says to the Galatians, are you so foolish? Having begun in the spirit, are you now being made perfect in the flesh? And that's with seeing the unraveling of this great man of God without judging him, learning our lessons. If Elijah can flee, I can flee. If Elijah can be restored, I can be restored. If Elijah can flee, I can learn not to flee. Verse four, 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 Yahweh, take my life for I am no better than my father's. Well at this pace, according to what we have here, he covers a distance of a hundred miles plus a day's journey in less than 24 hours.

He's moving. We don't know how long he had to lay over in Beersheba, but if we have lost hope, then we have ceased to be an asset. This is a fact and it helps us remember to not lose hope, regardless of how great our ability is. Not even the mighty Elijah was worth much to God in this hopeless state. He ran without orders to run. Other times he was told to run, told to return. And to lose courage is to become a liar liability. Great lesson there. I don't want any of that in my life, but what happens if I do lose hope?

What happens if I do turn tail and run? Well there's more to me than that, and there was more to Elijah than that, and that is something that Satan does not want us to be mindful of. God does. And he came and sat down under the broom tree. This tree, incidentally, Job mentions that it was edible, the roots were edible. Job chapter 30 verse 4.

I'm sure you want to write that down in case you really get hungry sometime, you know you can eat parts of a broom tree. He says, it's enough. I've had it. I've had it with ministry. I've had it with life. That's what that means.

The drama, the brook with the ravens bringing me food, the child that died and that whole fearful episode, and now this, I'm done. I feel like a coward. That's what he is going through. Again, he doesn't see the victories. He sees only the present pressure. This is a tough time for Elijah.

It would be a tough time for anybody. Had he so isolated himself from other believers that he could not benefit from the encouragement that comes from the body, the body of believers, the righteous brethren, I think that is part of it. He says here now, Lord, take my life. Now, of course, he didn't mean this, but it is serious stuff. If he meant it, if he wanted to die, he could have just stayed back in Jezreel.

There are plenty of people that are willing to help him with that. So, he's dejected at this point. His performance as a man of God is now defective to him, unlike ever before. And he wanted to no longer be, to just be removed from it all. He was ashamed of himself.

He had to have told this story, and it had to still hurt when he told it. The sting was still there of having forsaken his duty to God. Isn't it ironic that the man here that asked to die never dies. He gets taken away in a chariot.

God, the comedian is just like, no, and in fact, I'm not going to let you die. Not in a spiteful way, not like so there, but just in a remarkable way. And we believe this, and there are countless multitudes that hate us for believing this. They think this is all a myth. And when you look at the things they believe, Jesus is like, you know what, I'm good where I'm at.

You need to get over here. Jesus said, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. He cannot read that verse without the complete verse, because it's not an empty statement. It has a question that goes with it. When he says to Martha, and I know I'm at the risk of just being redundant, whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?

It's quite a challenge. Well, he'll get other chances to run, and he won't flinch. In fact, he'll call fire down on people for having the audacity to come and arrest him. But this, please kill me alumni group.

We should consider it. Well, Job, Job of the group, to me, he had the greatest cause to say, okay, I'm done. But Job, of course, wanted his life to end. Moses, you know, if you're going to treat me this way, just kill me now.

Just love these guys for their honesty. Then Jonah thrice with Jonah. Jonah had big problems. But these guys prevail because they tell us things that, again, that only they could have told. Dejection can be a serious thing to a servant, to a great servant, and learning this can help us be prepared. I know in my life, I say, yeah, well, I'm not in any place when I feel down.

Other servants have been here, too. Jeremiah, he just fed up with ministry, fed up with life, fed up with all that was going on. Paul the apostle at one point said, well, I despaired even of life. Where was God?

The delay. Why wasn't God doing more quickly? And so he says, I know better than my fathers. Well, God never asked you to be better than your father. He just wanted you to serve him. A little insight into how the prophet saw himself as, you know, I'm better than everybody else.

But we've covered some of his arrogance, and we'll get back to it a little bit more, because he's not letting it go himself. It can take a long time to come to this realization that you know better than anybody else. In our youth we can tell ourselves that the world has been waiting for us. And here I am.

You know that everybody else is missing the ball. I see what needs to be done. Yeah, you go run with that.

We'll see you in 10 years after you've made everybody around you miserable and then you come to realize that you're just like us. Anyway, the lesson, it is better to run to God without running from the work of God. That's true. But it's also sometimes very difficult to do, because it just, there's these things inside of us.

They're invisible, but they're there. They make you want to strike back at God and say, you know, I'm done with you. And not as far as salvation.

I'm not talking about that. I'm talking, the apostates do that. I'm talking about serving God. God is so patient with us.

I'm going to let you just chew on that for a minute and see how you land. Verse 5, then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, arise and eat. So God does not give up on his prophet. He comes and he feeds him. He ministers to his physical needs.

Now it is true. There's one way Elijah could have avoided all of this. Just stay in bed. Don't serve.

Just go do something else. And so he's on the front line and that helps us be a little bit more gentle with him and ourselves and others. Verse 6, then he looked and thereby his head was a cake of bread on coals and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lied down again. Just like that. I'm always amazed at these people that have these angelic visions in the scripture and they just act like this guy just shows up in the wilderness with food.

He eats, thanks, and goes to sleep. Doesn't he have a comment to make? Like, are there houses in heaven? You know, so many questions to ask these guys.

They know so much stuff. Anyway, here's an interesting thought about this. God, I believe, created the universe in a matured state. When he created the universe, the light traveling at the speed of light from some far off galaxy was already at its destination. It did not have to wait light years to arrive. God can create cooked food. That's what we're seeing here. This is what, you know, you listen to billions and billions of years to do. No, not with God.

But they don't want that because then they have to be accountable morally and that is the big disconnect. So he ate and drank and lied down again. You know, what was he supposed to do? Didn't have a camera with him to take a picture of the guy? Could you see Elijah in a selfie and the angel? That just would have been wonderful, but God knew better. Again, most of the time in scripture, the recipients of such visions and miracles seem unimpressed.

It doesn't mean, you know, Aruna threshing the wheat and the angel shows up and he just keeps working. Gideon, just dialoguing casually, oh yeah, well, if I'm a man of God, how come our ancestors, Manoah and his wife, the parents of Samson, they were a little bit, you know, oh, this is spooky. That was cute because he's like, we're going to die. We've seen God. And she's like, stop it.

You'd be dead already. I mean, you've got to love that exchange. Anyway, verse 7, and the angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, arise and eat because the journey is too great for you. So again, he allows the prophet to eat twice. He feeds him twice. He lets him sleep twice. And he allows him to rest and digest. Now, my doctor told me once, don't eat and lie down. Don't eat and sleep. Well, but that's, the food makes me sleepy. I mean, it's the best time.

And I defy that because of Elijah. And I don't get heartburn and stuff from doing that. I get it from other things. So I figured out where those things are, and I avoid them. But sure, I eat and get a good nap so many times.

I mean, after like an hour at 2 o'clock, that lunch hits you. It's just interesting. What would you say to a Christian doctor that gave you advice? Elijah did it. Like a little kid, right? He did it.

I'm doing it. Anyway, building him up physically twice as strong with food and rest before God begins to deal with him spiritually. He puts him to, he feeds him, he gets him rested, and he puts him to work. And later on, he's going to get back to his emotional state. It's like God is just and I'm not going to rush this because he knows what he's doing.

He knows who he's doing it with. Already established in verse 5, it says this was an angel. Here it says it was an angel of the Lord, not that it was a theophany or a Christophany, an appearance of Yahweh himself in human form, but to make this distinction that this is an angel of Yahweh and not some superstitious character from some other pagan religion that shows up, it is a necessary distinction for the audience that would be reading this. In verse 8, so he arose and ate and drank and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God. Well that's Mount Sinai where Moses received the law, an alternate name.

Deuteronomy uses this more than the other parts of the law. This, the fourth and fifth time that God has ministered to Elijah with food. So we remember he did it with the ravens, he did it with the oil at the widow's house with a little bit of flour and here under the broom tree.

This is better than protein bars, these Elijah cakes man, they take you forty miles. It's about a two hundred mile journey from Beersheba but he's again in the wilderness somewhere. This is a long journey.

He travels, I don't know, if you factor two hundred miles forty days, five miles a day, he's going at a very slow pace. 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 1 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 We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast too so you'll never miss another edition. Just visit and follow the links under radio. Again, that's 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 1 Kings on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-31 07:57:37 / 2023-05-31 08:07:25 / 10

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