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Elijah’s Tough Time (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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June 2, 2023 6:00 am

Elijah’s Tough Time (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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June 2, 2023 6:00 am

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He puts so much into it, he should have gotten so much more out of it. If you press that thought too much, you end up with the prophet Haggai who says, you know, you're going to put money in bags that have holes in it. You're going to sow much and reap little because your priorities are wrong. So if you overthink it, you can say, you know, my priorities, you know, I'm doing something wrong. God is sometimes saying, no, things take time, they take work and you're in a cursed world and you know this, don't lose sight of it.

Just because you're defeated in endeavor doesn't mean that you've lost everything. 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 First 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. And now here's Pastor Rick with the conclusion of his message called Elijah's Tough Time in First Kings Chapter 19. 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 is 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 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.

Okay, 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 had these vinegar stands where they actually have these pickle juice, so you just, ugh. 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, you're 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 the still, small voice. And so he beckons him. He heard God. And 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 his, 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 of 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 treat someone else, but God is not firing his man. Verse 14, and he said, and Jonah, you know, he doesn't fire Jonah. Verse 14, he said, I've been very zealous for the Lord of hosts, because the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword.

I alone am left, and they seek to take my life. And so God says, is saying this to us, this man is still stubbornly clinging to his lame excuse. I'm giving him another chance to come clean.

And he's not doing it. This is what happened in verses 9 and 10. He's exposing the prophet's stubbornness. A key ingredient to legalistic self-righteousness is this kind of thinking. I have been zealous for the Lord of hosts, as all you need. I have been zealous, as though you created that zeal, and it was not imparted to you.

He makes himself feel justified. Never mind my running, I'm the only one. They've torn down your altars, they've killed your prophets, not me.

I alone am left, and they seek my life. It's a miserable place to be. It's also miserable to serve in ministry and feel like you're not reaping what you are sowing. This is what he felt.

He put so much into it, he should have gotten so much more out of it. If you press that thought too much, you end up with the prophet Haggai, who says, you know, you're going to put money in bags that have holes in it. You're going to sow much and reap little because your priorities are wrong. So if you overthink it, you can say, you know, my priorities, you know, I'm doing something wrong. And God is sometimes saying, no, things take time, they take work, and you're in a cursed world, and you know this, don't lose sight of it.

Just because you're defeated in endeavor doesn't mean that you've lost everything. And so I emphasize Elijah publishes his unfaithfulness, as did Jonah, for us to learn. Verse 15, and Yahweh said to him, go return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you arrive, anoint Hazael, king over Syria. Specific instruction, he's putting him back into the ministry. He does not punish him.

This is modern day border of Syria and Iraq where this desert is. Anoint the king over Syria. As with King David, anointings and actions, things like that, they're not always immediate. David was anointed as a young man, it took him years before he gets to the throne. Elijah will anoint Elisha, and Elisha will have a servant anoint Jehu.

Just to show you that when God gives these commandments, these individuals are involved, but they are involved and allowed to exercise discretion and to delegate, long as the job gets done without violation. Verse 16, so many comments left out, New Testament cross references, we just don't have time, but verse 16, and you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi. That's a cute name, right? That's what you name like a little cute little dog. Hello my little Nimshi. Anyway, you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel, and Elijah the son of Shaphat of Abel Miholah, you shall anoint as prophet in your place.

Jehu is a particularly violent man. It will be his horses that trample Jezebel, and then he says, you know what, she was a king's daughter, go bury her, and they said, all we could find were her head and her hands, and gross, I can't wait to get there. I mean, you know, it's just because you just, you want her to get it.

You'd be lying. I mean, you'd love to see her convert, but knowing that she's not, well, let's hope she gets the most gruesome death that's available on the menu. So maybe somebody else will learn.

Okay, back to this. Elijah anoints Elisha symbolically by casting his cloak on him. What do we mean to speed up because we're going to come to this. We'll come to these other characters as we move along, but by the time Elisha, the prophet to be, and Jehu complete their work, Baal will be removed from the northern kingdom because it would have consumed the southern also.

Satan's goal was to wipe out the seed for Messiah to come and cancel all the prophecies, but this 2 Kings chapter 10 verse 28, thus Jehu destroyed Baal from Israel, and he does it by deceiving them. He says, hey, let's have a big party for your priests. Come on, let's get everybody out who doesn't believe in you, and let's just be us, and get them all out, and he says, no, kill them. It's like, that's what he does.

It worked. Anyway, it says here, and Elisha. This is, again, he's one of the 7,000 that God will say, I've got 7,000 that haven't bowed my knee.

There's a history between these two. Elijah must know this man for this to make any sense. This Elijah will enter ministry while this Elijah goes up in a blazing chariot, and there's nothing depressing about that. When God takes Elijah home, he is not depressed anymore. In fact, he's got such a zeal, but I can't wait because Elijah is such a committed servant. I am not leaving you.

I'm going to be with you. So, we'll come back to that. Verse 17, and it shall be whatever, whoever escapes a sort of Haziel, Jehu will kill, and whoever escapes a sort of Jehu, Elisha will kill. You mean God's prophets kill people? What about in the New Testament?

Well, not the church, but in the tribulation period, Revelation 11, 5, and if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies, and if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. Those are the two witnesses that will be coming to the world that will just be amazing. We won't be here to see that, fortunately, but by these three men, God will get rid of Baal worship. Satan, his plans will be crushed, and he'll come up with other plans. Verse 18, yet I have reserved 7,000 in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him. God is saying, oh, by the way, I have defiant ones like you. They believe in me. They reject Baal, and I want you to anoint one of them, and his name is Elisha. You know who he is. He's the rich kid, and he was a rich kid, and just because you say rich kid doesn't mean it's automatically derogatory.

It's what you make it. Elisha made it honorable. God did not rush to correct Elisha's wrong opinions, but he did get to it, and just because you get away with the wrong opinion doesn't mean you're right.

You have to connect it to something. Hosea will mention the people kissing their golden calves also in Hosea 13. This 7,000, they were the minority in the northern kingdom. Their backs were against the wall. Their testimony was overwhelmed by the rule of evil, abounding wickedness. False religions gained the upper hand, and they still do in many places in the world. I mean, the Ottomans came along. They were Muslims, and they just terrorized Christianity, communism, Mao.

They just killed as many Christians as they could kill. Watchman Nee was a victim of communism. His writings are still available. I don't agree with everything he says, but he certainly was a brother of the Lord, and he certainly was a sharp cookie and a martyr for Christ. Verse 19, so he departed from there and found Elisha, the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with 12 yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the 12. Then Elisha passed by him, threw his mantle on him.

Well, this is interesting. So he owns 24 oxen, two to a yoke. There are 12 of them, so 14 teams. Elisha was with the last team. But here's five things about Elisha's father.

He's not conditioned. Well, he's wealthy enough to have 24 oxen for field work and to not even blink when two of them are sacrificed to celebrate the prophet's call to ministry. He was delighted that his son was a man of God and going to be the assistant to the great prophet Elisha because there's no protest recorded.

He raised his son in the house of God in love or else God never would have chosen Elisha, and Elisha loved his parents enough to want to say goodbye to them as he was heading off to ministry. A call to ministry is no excuse for rudeness, and I have met those in ministry who were and are rude, as though they have some right. They're pretty surprised when the Christian pastor, me, namely, punches them out.

I didn't think you'd do that. You love the Lord. Anyway, he was wealthy, but his father made him work nonetheless. He got all these oxen.

It's not a little thing. They're drought, and he's still got healthy oxen, and his father's making him work to learn, you know, boy, you've got to learn a skill. So he, and he taught good manners to him, and that's going to come out in this. Elijah is calling Elisha to ministry, and Elisha is going to give up this lifestyle to serve the prophet. And so once again, we see the Lord calling people who are busy. Moses. Moses was busy on the mountain with someone else's sheep as a shepherd. Gideon threshing wheat. David was a shepherd.

Nehemiah was serving a Gentile king. Amos was a shepherd in a tiller of sycamore fruit, a tree that gives you a little fruit. The sycamore is around here. You can't eat the tree because it'll make you more sick if you eat the fruit from the sycamore. Sycamore.

Make you sick more. All right. Anyway, there are sycamore trees around here. They're very beautiful.

I know some of you are allergic to them. Anyway, where was I? Ah, the women.

How about women? Well, Rebekah. Rebekah fetching water at that time of day, and the unnamed servant of Abraham is coming looking for a bride for Isaac because Abraham made him prominent. Put your hand on my leg and promise to me you will not get a wife for my boy from these women in Canaan. And so the prophet, the unnamed servant, he goes to Syria to fetch a bride. He says, Lord, let her offer me, give me water when I ask for a drink, and let her water my ten camels.

Seriously. I've never watered ten camels, but I can imagine. Well, two hump camels are going to drink a lot more than one hump camel, and poor Rebekah, the Bible tells us she gave him a drink and she volunteered. Let me water your camels. What a hard-working woman.

Then Rachel, she was a shepherdess too when Jacob met her. God calls people who work. Idle folks, they don't seem to get the call. They remain where they are.

They idle. All right. Anyway, Elijah, he throws his cloak around Elijah, but he doesn't get to keep it. He doesn't get to do that until he's taken up in a chariot and falls behind. Verse 20, then he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, please let me kiss my father and my mother, then I will follow you. And he said to him, go back again for what have I done to you. Well, this is, you know, he's unsophisticated, almost crude, Elijah is. He just comes over to the guys working hard. He just throws his cape on them. It's like, what is that? It's hot out here.

It's just kind of odd. So Elijah, he knows this is a prophet, so he runs after him. And he says, let me say goodbye to my parents, which means we have to have a send-off. He's not going to run into hell, see you mom, you're going with Elijah. He's not doing that. He wants a bit of a ceremony here. So, you know, Elijah, he's an uncouth guy, living alone. Again, the whole bug eating thing makes you a little odd.

Great man of God that he is. Could you imagine offering him spaghetti and a, what's for dinner? Spaghetti?

Oh, I hate that. Do you have any beetles? Yeah, they're out in the garage. Just move the boxes around.

They'll show up. Anyhow, this is unlike the man in Matthew 8, who the Lord called to ministry. He said, let me bury my parents first. That didn't mean the parents just died, because the Jews buried right away. There was no embalming, so they would have been dead, and he wouldn't have been there to have that conversation. He meant, well, let me hang around my parents until they, you know, die and leave me an inheritance, and then maybe I can enter ministry.

That's not the case here. He said to him, go back, for what have I done to you? And that's kind of weird. He's pretty much saying, you know what. You know what this is about. You've got a calling from God.

What are you going to do with it? Again, a little crude and abrupt, but Elijah doesn't push. He, you know, lets him go and do this, and so this is where we see some more interesting things. Verse 21, we're almost done. So, Elijah turned back from him and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh using the oxen equipment and gave it to the people, and they ate, and he arose and followed Elijah and became his servant.

This is fantastic. He kills two oxen. This is a lot of meat and a lot of time to bleed them, to slaughter them, butcher them, and then boil them up for everybody, and he's giving the meat away to everybody. He's celebrating. I've been called into the ministry.

What a remarkable man and remarkable family, and apparently the people just adore this, that they have this meal together. The characteristic of Elijah's devotion becomes even more pronounced when we look at chapter 2. I think it's verse 6.

I just will take one. It's the whole section, but this is Elijah is going to be taken in a chariot, and he's trying to get rid of Elijah, and Elijah's not leaving. Then Elijah said to him, stay here please, for Yahweh has sent me on to the Jordan, but he said, as Yahweh lives and as your servant lives, I will not leave you. So the two of them went on, and this was carried out three times, if I remember correctly.

So it's just impressive. I'm not leaving you. I'm your servant. I'm here. I'm going to support you as long as you need support. So anyway, this is a village festival now.

The father doesn't complain that he loses two oxen. I love this story. I think a lot to think about. We still have a lot of Elijah to do, and then Elijah after that, and then once we're done with Kings, we'll be done. We'll be raptured. 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 / 2023-06-02 08:32:46 / 2023-06-02 08:42:42 / 10

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