Whenever God is preparing a man or a woman to do great things for him, invariably, he sends them hiding in his hiding places.
Moses grew up in all the luxury of Pharaoh's palace, ends up in the wilderness and in the desert. How come God was hiding him there? Our Lord himself hid in Nazareth for 30 years until the time came when the Father said, okay, go now, declare your Messiah ship. Paul, after encountering the living Christ, the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, he goes to northern Arabia and he hides there for nearly three years. He says, is there a word from the Lord for me in this?
Yes, to every one of us. Welcome to Leading the Way with Pastor and author of the just released book, Never Give Up, Dr. Michael Yusef. Have you ever felt like God forgot about you or felt like you had become so useless to him because of where life had you at the time? Well, so did one of the greatest people in the Bible. Today, Dr. Yusef gives you a unique look into the full life of Elijah, a man who experienced public victory and seasons of seeming hopelessness when he felt hidden. Fortunately, God tells us about his highs and lows in the Bible, and Dr. Yusef thinks that experiencing these may give you courage in your faith. Also, please remember that there are many ways that you can listen to the challenging teaching of Dr. Yusef. Radio, television, online, podcast, and the Leading the Way app and more.
Get the details at ltw.org. Right now, though, listen with me as Dr. Michael Yusef begins today's Leading the Way audio. He's called it God's hiding place. When people read the book of James, chapter 5, verses 17 and 18, and they read about how Elijah was just like one of us, a man like us, and he prayed for the rain to stop and stopped, and then he prayed for the rain to come down and the rain came down, I often get two reactions. One reaction says, well, God doesn't answer prayer this way now. The second response is, well, I am not one of God's super-spirituals like Elijah, and that is why God doesn't answer my prayers. I want to tell you that both conclusions are wrong, because the problem is that most people never take the time or the effort to understand how, why, and when God answered Elijah's prayer.
Because, as we're going to see in this series of messages, Elijah was far from being super-spiritual. We're going to see him depressed and discouraged. We're going to see him scared and frightened. We're going to see him doubting and defeated.
In other words, he was just like you and me, like us, in every way. In fact, I want to tell you at the outset that this series I'm beginning today, you're going to learn less about Elijah and more about God. People forever asking me, how do you discern the voice of God? How do you know it is the will of God? How does God deal with you?
Well, there's really no secret to it. The way you know God is from his word, and you see how God dealt with his people, how he's dealt with individuals, how he's dealt with nations. And God is a consistent God. God's character is a consistent character. And that is the only way you're going to discern the will of God, as you pour your heart upon his word. And here, as we're going to see how God worked with Elijah, we're going to know more about God than we will about Elijah.
Turn with me, please, in your Bibles, chapter 17 of 1 Kings. The first thing you're going to notice in verse 1 is that Elijah comes from nowhere. Out of the blue, he just popped up on the scene.
No background, no family tree, no qualifications, no explanation. He just appears. But here is what I want to communicate with you today. If you want to be effective for God, if you want to make a difference for God, if you want God to use you in a mighty way, listen carefully to how God works. Because I want to tell you at the outset, God is not impressed with what impresses people. God is not moved by what moves people. God does not judge people the way we judge them. God has a different set of criterion by which he uses individuals.
Each one of us is different, and he uses us all in a different way. Let me tell you a word about King Ahab before I get back to Elijah. I cannot leave him out. It is very important, and he's going to pop up again and again.
He's an important element in this series. King Ahab probably was the most wicked king in Israel. I'm talking about the kingdom of Israel, the northern kingdom, because after Solomon you remember it was split. Judah was in the southern kingdom.
Israel, the 10 tribes were up in the north. He was the most wicked king that Israel had. That is not his only problem. He married a woman from Sidon. She's the daughter of the king of Sidon, modern day Lebanon. Who was more wicked than he was?
If that is possible. He had another problem. He was a first class wimp. Didn't have a spine in him.
There's another problem. Jezebel had a superior mind to that of her husband. Jezebel had a superior intensity than her husband. Jezebel had a superior strategy than that of her husband. Jezebel had a more superior drive than her husband. In fact, some people have named Jezebel the Lady Macbeth of the Old Testament. Ahab thought that he knew better than his forefathers. So instead of marrying a godly Jewish woman, he went out and married a worshiper of Baal, the god of the Phoenician.
Baal tried to use my imagination on how Ahab rationalized this. And probably while he was dating Jezebel, he would say, boy, just wait until I marry her. Israel is going to gain a new convert. Wait until I marry her. She'll be part of Israel. I'll convert her. She's going to go to church with me. She will have no choice. Let me tell you something.
That seldom happens. I want to tell you further that you can do anything you want to do as long as you know that the Scripture could not be clearer on this matter, that you must not be unequally yoked. This wasn't Paul's suggestion. This was not Paul's idea. Paul was merely telling us what the whole Bible is telling us.
Paul was merely telling us what the holy God said to his people not to marry an unbeliever. Jezebel was an intense worshiper of Baal. So instead of he converting her, she converted him.
And that is often the case. She was worshipping the god of the Phoenicians. And they worshipped Baal. Baal was a symbol of Satan. And God told his people when they came out of Egypt into the Promised Land, he asked them to do one thing.
He said, when you go there, he said, why pat Baal? Why pat the worshippers of Baal? Why was God's judgment upon those who refused to believe in him? But what did the people of God do? They danced with Baal and the worshippers of Baal. They did not obey God. And they lost their privilege as God's people once and for all and forever.
And that is why in the fullness of time, God sent his son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and now the church is the chosen people. Baal was a god of power without righteousness. Baal was the god of lust without love. Baal was an immoral and immoral god. Baal was like the force in the Star Wars sequel. He had a good side and he had a bad side.
And the people forever confused which side they were dealing with. Please hear me right. I want to tell you this and it comes from my heart. There is a little Baal in every one of our hearts.
There is a little shrine in every one of our hearts. And God has been telling you to deal with it. No, God is not telling you to pray about it. He is not telling you to fast about it. He is not telling you to read books about it. He is not telling you to understand the background to it and how you came where you are. God wants you to exterminate it.
You know what it is. Maybe that lust that has not been conquered. Maybe that lying spirit that forever shading the truth. Maybe a habit that you need to overcome.
Maybe a relationship that has no place in your life. And God has been saying to you, deal with it. Deal with those little Baals. Deal with those little shrines.
Destroy them. For if you do what Israel did, namely keep on tolerating it, keep on feeding it, keep on flirting with it, it could prove to be your undoing. Little Baals in our lives are like the gas leak in a room. And it keeps leaking just a little bit every day and a little bit every day until it is ignited.
A spark will send the room into a flame. And that is exactly what happened in Israel. That is exactly what happened in Israel. For years the Israelites flirted with Baal and worshippers of Baal. And when Jezebel came from Phoenicia bringing her gods of Baal, the whole nation plunged into immorality. Elijah, the man who came from nowhere whose name means Jehovah is my God. You remember on the cross Jesus said, Eli lema shebaktoni, and people said, is he calling upon Elijah?
Now Elijah's name means Jehovah is my God. And he was given an awesome task. Let me tell you something.
I thought about this. I don't know that I would have easily taken this responsibility. God gave him an awesome task of confronting immorality and compromise in the nation. How did God tell him to do it?
Well, look at verse 1. He comes in and he confronts the evil in society by confronting the leadership. You see, societies are like fish.
They rot from the head down. There is no home. There is no business. There is no organization.
There is no church. There is no nation that will rise above its leadership. Elijah looks at Ahab and he says, as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word. And then the Lord says something very curious to Elijah.
Look at it. After he went and delivered his message, God said, now go hide yourself Brooks Cherus east of the Jordan. I will drink from the brook and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there. Now some of you are wondering, you said, we know about the rain. What is the dew? Well, you see, the land of Israel got about one fiftieth of an inch of dew every morning that kept all the vegetation. It coated the grass and it coated all the greenery. That's what gave the greenery life. If it were not for the dew, there would be no vegetation. Everything would die. And the man of God said, there will be no dew, no rain for years.
Why? To prove that Jehovah is the living God and not Baal of the Phoenicians. Now, I imagine Elijah taking this message and going to King Ahab. And there in the court, he and Jezebel were sitting and all the Baal prophets that she imported from Lebanon and she brought from Phoenicia. And they were all sitting. Elijah walks in and he makes a pronouncement. God before whom I stand, that's what literally means.
There will be no rain. I can imagine after Elijah left, they probably looked at each other and laughed. Who is this politically incorrect Yahoo? He probably smelled bad, looked bad, dressed bad, talked bad.
Who does he think he is? But I want to tell you something that didn't last for too long. Because within a short period of time, they were looking for him everywhere. But they could not find him. How come? God was hiding Elijah.
Please listen. When God hides you, you are hid. When God protects you, you are protected. When God shelters you, you are sheltered. When God shields you, you are shield. And you don't have to be afraid when you are in God's hiding places. God commanded Elijah to hide.
I think the average person sees this and says, wait a minute. God gave him a message to preach. And then the next thing he tells him to hide, yes. It doesn't make sense. That's perplexing.
That's right. I want to explain something to you. God's hiding places are always a preparation for greater things to come. God's hiding places are always for a greater service to follow. But often our hiding places are puzzling.
Often our hiding places are perplexing. And I have no doubt at this time Elijah was perplexed with this word from the Lord. Saying, Lord, what is this? You made me a prophet. You call me to proclaim. And then you tell me to hide. Go hide yourself eastward. This was a perplexing command. But I want to tell you something else.
It was also a purposeful command. Whenever God is preparing a man or a woman to do great things for him, invariably he sends them hiding in his hiding places. Joseph goes from being his daddy's favorite boy to the pit, to part of his house, to the prison.
Why? God was hiding him there so he can become the prime minister of Egypt. Moses grew up in all the luxury of Pharaoh's palace. Ends up in the wilderness and in the desert. How come God was hiding him there? Esther was hidden from the scene. You say, why was she hiding for so long?
Because at the right time God was going to help her save the nation. Our Lord himself hid in Nazareth for 30 years until the time came when the Father said, Okay, go now. Declare your Messiah's share. Paul, after encountering the living Christ, the risen Christ on the road to Damascus, goes to northern Arabia and he hides there for nearly three years. He says, is there a word from the Lord for me in this?
Yes, to every one of us. He is hiding you there for a purpose. God will hide you somewhere in the short run until you are ready for what he will do with you. Write this down.
Take my word for it. God commanded Elijah, his servant. He said, you go and hide. I want to confess to you, because just in case you think I'm preaching at you, I want to confess to you that the hiding times in my life were frustrating times. They were perplexing times. They seemed to me to be purposeless.
But you know what? As I look back and see the hand of God working his purpose out, I now can rejoice. Let me have a word with you who have never been in one of God's hiding places.
Listen carefully. If you have not been there in God's hiding places, God wants to send you there. If he will ever use you, he wants to send you there. God cannot use you without sending you for a time in his hiding place. God wants every one of us to have a cherith in our lives.
Why? Because only there he can work his purpose out in you and in me. There God often works both inwardly and outwardly.
He works outwardly, because there is nobody else that can understand you. There you have no book to cheer you up. There you have no friend to relate to. There Elijah was at the bottom of the ravine east of the Jordan, and it is quite a desolate place. There is nothing there but the rocks, some trees, and some dripping water. But don't underestimate these, because as Elijah looked at the rock, he learned about the rock of his salvation. When he saw the trees, he remembered the words of the psalmist about the tree that is planted by the living water.
As he saw the dripping of the river, he remembered that from his inner being will flow rivers of living water. But you see, God also does inward work in you when you are in one of those hiding places. When you are in cherith, God is doing something inwardly. Something happened to Elijah inwardly, because in verse 1 we see him introduced as Elijah the Tishaite, and you go down, skip into verse 24, and there you see the widow of Zarephath, a Baal worshiper, a Gentile calling him the man of God. God did something inwardly in Elijah's life. God can do something inwardly with you when you are in his hiding places. What did God do with Elijah in that hiding place? He kept peeling all the layers that Elijah had, because he wanted to get down to the real Elijah. You know, it's like peeling an onion, and you take a layer off, and your tears come down, and you take another layer off, and the tears come down, you take another layer off, and the tears come down.
Some of you are trying to hold onto these layers, but God wants to get to the real you, and the only way he can do it is by peeling you, not your projection of who you are, not your perception of who you are, not the public you, not the outward you, but the real you. And that's what God wants to get down to. That reminded me of the young man who visited an elderly monk in a cave. And the young man asked that elderly monk, he said, What do you do here? Do you fight with the devil?
Do you wrestle with the devil? And the older man said, Oh, no, no, no, I don't do that. He said, What do you do? He said, I wrestle with God.
And the young man was perplexed. He was confused, he was surprised, and he said, Well, are you hoping to win? He said, Oh, no, I want to lose. I want to lose.
I want to lose. Like Jacob in the Valley of Jabbok who wrestled with God until he lost. Elijah was wrestling with God until Elijah lost. And only then can he expect God's hand of blessing upon him. Only then Elijah can move from being Elijah the tisha bite to being Elijah the man of God. This command to Elijah was perplexing. It was purposeful, but also thirdly, it was a place of provision. Whenever you are in God's hiding place, you can be sure about one thing.
He's going to take care of you. The psalmist said, I've been young, now I'm old. I've never seen the righteous forsaken or his children beg for bread. Whenever you are in God's hiding places, his shadow is over you. God had the most unusual catering service for Elijah. But part of God's provision was natural. The other part was supernatural.
What do I mean by this? God said to Elijah, You go and drink from the brook. That is natural. And then he said to him, I am going to command the ravens to come and bring you bread and meat in the morning, and then bring you bread and meat in the evening.
That is supernatural. Those of you who don't know anything about ravens, they are ravenous birds. They eat everything in sight and then some more.
These were vulturous kind of birds. And yet God used them to bring Elijah bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat at night. I want you to hear me right. I'm getting closer here.
I don't want you to miss this. When you are in God's protection program, God can make the mean, godless person kind to you. When you are in God's hiding program, he will use the most unusual catering service to take care of you. When you are financially faithful to the Lord, he will make the little much. I have been there. I am there.
I know what I'm telling you to be true. But I don't want you to miss verse 7. Verse 7 of 1 Kings 17. After a while in God's hiding place, in Cherith there by the brook, the brook dried up.
Have you thought about this? Elijah became a victim of his own success. Elijah was suffering with the rest of the nation. Where is God? Oh yes. Have you ever suffered because you are faithful to God?
I mean have you ever taken a stand and everybody seems to get mad at you? I know all about that. But I want to tell you again that all kinds of brooks sometimes dry up. Business brooks dry up. Marital brooks dry up. Academic brooks dry up.
Ministry brooks dry up. What God is saying to you when that happens is this. Don't be anxious. Don't worry because I am planning to do greater and better things.
God sent Elijah from a dry brook to a Baal worshipping widow in Zarephath to take care of him. Sometimes God says go to Cherith and hide with me. And when you come out you will be more than you have ever been. And here's the question.
Are you willing? God's hiding place. That's the title of today's message from Dr. Michael Yusef on Leading the Way.
You know for more than 30 years now Dr. Yusef has stood for the truth of the gospel, declaring it across six continents in 27 languages. In fact recently the Leading the Way team was able to be the hands and feet of Jesus by offering support and encouragement to a family in Iraq. They were told that radicals would kidnap and kill their children if they did not leave their home, so they moved to what was considered a safer city. Then radicals invaded that area.
Bombs exploded around the family as they lived without water or electricity. But Leading the Way's on the ground team, who had been part of their relocation, helped connect them with churches and other organizations for further assistance. Friends, know that when you support Leading the Way, you become a part of the encouragement and help to families like this one. And if you haven't already, won't you consider standing with Dr. Yusef so those in your neighborhood and neighborhoods like yours all around the world can experience the gospel. Here's the number to call, 866-626-4356, 866-626-4356, and ltw.org, ltw.org. This program is furnished by Leading the Way with Dr. Michael Yusef, passionately proclaiming uncompromising truth around the world. You can connect with us via television, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. Learn more by going to ltw.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-28 05:11:58 / 2023-05-28 05:21:39 / 10