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Elijah’s Tough Time (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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June 1, 2023 6:00 am

Elijah’s Tough Time (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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June 1, 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

Moses said, Now therefore, if I have found grace in your sight, show me now your glory that I may find grace in your sight. So Moses was saying, God, I want to know you more. I want to see you. I want a closer relationship with you. And God says, Well, you can't see me straight on.

I'll have to downsize for you. That's what happened with Moses. He's saying, My servant needs my presence.

He needs a deeper experience with me. 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, he had, 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, 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 onto 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 ten 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 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. Not as far as salvation.

I'm not talking about that. 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 lie 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 her, thanks, and goes to sleep. Does he have a comment to make? Like, are there houses in heaven? You know, there's 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 Eliza 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 they, 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, and 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 two 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 in, 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 five, 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 eight, 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 getting 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.

Maybe sleeping in the day traveling at night as some of the Bedouins like to do, I don't know and I don't know why I'm even discussing this with you. But anyway, forty, that number. Well judgment is associated with it for sure, trial is associated but also isolation is associated with the number forty. Israel was isolated in the wilderness, we know why but others will have that number forty associated with them and it will not be trial and judgment.

It will be work in process. Moses was on the mount with God for forty days, there was no judgment on Moses for that. Elijah's journey here in the desert.

Jonah, he declared to Nineveh, forty days and they isolated themselves in the sense that they separated themselves from their normal life, their common experiences and began to consider their ways. And of course the Lord Jesus in the wilderness for forty days before he was tempted. And the great purpose of that temptation of Christ was to tell us all, hell and human alike, this is the Son of God and nobody like him. So the question is could he have failed? Could he have submitted to the temptation?

No, that's the point. The point is any other human being would have submitted to face to face temptation with Satan, not him. And Satan knew it. But Satan's insane so it's not enough, he doesn't process what God does. If he wasn't insane he never would have rebelled in heaven. The thought would never have crossed his mind, I will be like the Most High.

What are you crazy? Absolutely he is, he is. He's the father of lies, he's the father of insanity. Verse 9, there he went into a cave and spent the night in that place and behold the word of Yahweh came to him and he said, what are you doing here Elijah? So he's isolated from serving and yet God finds him approachable and so God approaches him. And he asked him this soul searching question, why are you here? You would think he would say, well you fed me and you've been leading me along here, helping me for this journey. You know the answer, that would have been a smart aleck response which would not have bode well for him. He was sulking of course.

He's on the sidelines. He didn't get his way in ministry. He did not get his way in life. And for the Christian life is supposed to be ministry. Then there is of course public ministry.

We are to do both. Christ served privately and then when he comes to his public ministry and John the Baptist baptizes him which is the initiation of his public ministry for us to learn and observe and to do. Well he had been a critic commando Elijah of everybody else and now God is dealing with him. He's gotten him far away from everything. And if you've ever been far away in some remote place in the world, when you think about it you say, you know I really am far from home.

Especially in another country where you're not a citizen. You know you look at a map, you say wow I'm here and I live here. Well Elijah is far away from his stuff. Verse 10, and he said I have been very zealous for Yahweh God of hosts, for the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, torn down your altars and killed your prophets with the sword.

I alone left and they seek to take my life. So was Obadiah hid people in a cave instead of hiding in a cave like you're doing right now. And the servants that he hid, what about them? Well we've discussed that so we're not going to take too much time on that unless it helps what's going further develop it. He says for the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, torn down your altars. Okay we've talked about that too. True. But there are still souls to be saved, there's still a Baal worship to get rid of and they will get that worship of Baal out of the land.

But it will be a process. He says I alone am left and they seek to take away my life. Yeah, what about that victory on Carmel, Elijah? He's saying if they succeed in taking my life then your work is over, Lord. Because I'm the only one out there on the front line. People think get to this place. Somebody in ministry can get to think I'm running the soup kitchen and if I don't show up on time and get this done it ain't going to get done.

They can't do this without me. This is still a trap for human beings. So Elijah worked himself into lopsidedness. He's listing. He's about to capsize. God is intervening on his behalf and he figures it out later. He doesn't see it now because he's too emotionally invested in this. His dejection has got his vision clouded. He can't see.

His spiritual cataracts are on him. So in addition to feeling ashamed and alone, he feels abandoned. And that's not the same thing. You can be alone but no one abandons you.

But to have someone abandon you now creates another condition. You've been wronged. And this is what he is saying. He felt that God should have done more for him in the cause of righteousness and God did not. I know that.

I know this place very well. So does James. James said, Elijah, a man with a nature like ours. Like Elijah there are times when we are ready to run. But unlike Elijah we're not able to make it stop raining and then start raining and call fire down on wet altars and just raise people from the dead so we can't lose sight of how great this man is. It is Elijah who reports to us. This is what happened to me serving God on the battlefield of ministry.

That's what this is all about for us. What if he just never told us this happened? God would not have used it. God knew this was the caliber of man he needed just for these things. And so Elijah's eyes are only on his hardship and God's apparent reluctance. You know, we allow God to give us so much hardship.

After that, now God's got a problem here. He's not being kind. He is centered on how he feels and actually doesn't answer the question but he criticizes others. He's that critic commando.

Pride, self-centeredness, self-pity, self-destruction. They go together. Verse 11, then he said, go out, God speaking to him, stand on the mountain of Yahweh and behold Yahweh passed by and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks and pieces before Yahweh but Yahweh was not in the wind and after the wind an earthquake but Yahweh was not in the earthquake. I mean this is pretty intense. I mean he's breaking rocks. I mean this is like a tornado on the mountain.

It's pretty scary. This is speaking the language of Elijah because he's been a powerful man. Again, clear similarities between the experience of Moses on the same mountain of God that Elijah is on. And yet, I think certainly the present on your maps, that Mount Sinai, I don't believe that is the mountain of God.

Anyway, but you're not going to change it so there you go. Moses said, now therefore if I have found grace in your sight, show me now your glory that I may find grace in your sight. So Moses was saying, God, I want to know you more. I want to see you. I want a closer relationship with you. And God says, well, you can't see me straight on.

I'll have to downsize for you. That's what happened with Moses. Here, God is initiating it. He's saying, my servant needs my presence. He needs a deeper experience with me. He has to observe more.

And so there's this personal encounter, this personal experience. God made the mountain. He makes the wind, the earthquake, the fire, all by the Creator. Elijah is getting a lot of attention right now, is he not? But God is still in other places doing other things. He's still watching out for Robodiah. He's ubiquitous, of course.

He's everywhere at the same time. God is so gentle with his servant in need. He doesn't scold him.

He asks him, why are you here? Verse 12, and after the earthquake, a fire, but Yahweh was not in the fire, and after the fire, a still small voice. Nature is not God. Of course, paganism is the worship of created things without calling them created things by the Creator. There is no such person as Mother Nature. There is no such thing as Mother Earth. That is paganism. It comes straight out of hell. And we should point it out when we find people behaving this way, as though there's some alternate energy in the universe that is intelligent enough to run things.

There is no alternate. If Satan is going to get to do something, he's got to get permission. He is never free to act on his own against us or in creation. He is the God of this world, but he is still controlled by the God of creation. Satan is a created being, not self-existent.

Well, the worship of created things at the exclusion of the Creator is Satan's distortion. There are those in Christianity, I fear, that have to have sensational experiences. They can't sit through expositional teaching. They've got to have something that emotionally that gives them a thrill of sensation.

I can't change that, but I think that is less than ideal. And I think, again, emotional people tend to think only of their emotions. They don't think of the other person's emotions.

I've just noticed that over the years. This person's all upset over themselves, what they feel. They don't care what everybody else feels. Well, I think we should have vinegar Kool-Aid. Well, we're not going to get vinegar Kool-Aid, no matter how much you like it. Actually, I saw somebody in Pakistan, I think they have these vinegar stands where they actually have these pickle juice. Sure, I like pickle juice as much as the next guy on somebody else's plate. But, anyhow, coming back to this, just wanting to constantly come to church and be wowed.

That is less than ideal. How about wanting to come to church and hear that still, small voice? No, I want the earthquake.

I want the fire. God, the still, small voice. That means not rough, but gentle.

That's what this is saying to us. God shows up to the prophet. He sort of flexes his muscles. I can do this, but I'm doing this instead.

Not rough, but gentle. He's ministering to his needs now spiritually, which include his emotions. Patiently listening to the prophet complain, what are you doing here? Why are you here?

What's this all about? As troubled heart. And, of course, Elijah is in dialogue with God. So gentle with his servant who is depressed. That's what he is. Just kill me.

I don't want to live anymore. And God is just gently dealing with him instead of, put your boots on, stand up like a man. You know, he's not doing that. There are times when you need to do that, but not as often as we might think. We don't mind doing that to others.

We just don't like it when somebody does it to us sometimes. Anyway, verse 13, so it was, when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him and said, what are you doing here, Elijah? So God is returning to this. He's not done with it. He comes back to it.

He's distilled small voice. And so he beckons him. He heard God. And as he's covering his face, probably thinking that whole Moses thing, God said, you can't see my face.

I'm not taking any chances. I might get a glimpse and die. Exodus 33, verse 20, God said, you cannot see my face, for no man shall see my face and live. And Yahweh said, here is a place by me, and you shall stand on the rock. And so it shall be, while my glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock.

And so it shall be, while my glory passes by. And he develops it from there. Incidentally, at this point, Moses moved the tent of meeting outside the camp away from the people, closer to the mountain, and that's where this takes place. Initially, it was in the center.

There would have been no cleft for the rock to hide him in. So, anyway, coming back to this, he went and stood in the entrance of the cave, where God told him to stand, in verse 11. Suddenly, a voice came to him. In verse 9, the word of the Lord came to him. Now it is the voice, the tone, that still, gentle voice. When God speaks to us, I find he speaks in my tone, or to me, as I just know it's him. I couldn't have thought of that. God will tell me something that I would otherwise not do, not want to do. But when I know it's him, I go do it, and I don't mind either.

I should add that. And he says, what are you doing here, Elijah? The second time he asks this question, he's going deeper with his servant. In God's eyes, Elijah retains his greatness amongst the prophets. This is so important, because we tend to think, now I'm fired.

Now God is done with me, because we might treat each other that way, we might treat someone else, but God is not firing his man. 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 / 2023-06-01 07:32:09 / 2023-06-01 07:41:53 / 10

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