Hey, everybody, it’s good to see you again today. I really, I’m excited about today’s message.
I prepared this message, I really was with our church in mind.
One of the things I used to really enjoy about the pastoral ministry was getting to know the people enough to have a sense of identifying with them in their daily lives, and then as directed by the Spirit of God and my own personal study of scripture to put together messages that I thought would be helpful, and that’s kind of where this message is coming from, it comes from the heart of a pastor, and I knew the passage I wanted to preach on from the Book of James, but I thought that last week’s message was important to lay some important ground work, so let’s turn once again to James chapter five.
We’re looking at the very end of the book this time, and I’m going to hold off on reading the text that we were gonna be spending most of our time in, but the verses that I want to begin with, are James chapter 5, verse 17 and 18, the James Chapter 5, Verses 17 and 18. And once again, I’m using the King James version. I prefer the King James is translation here to many of the modern… I think I looked at four different modern translations, and I prefer the King James here.
I looked at the New America Standards on English Standard version, the Christian standard, and the New International that probably covers most of the versions that are represented here in our church, so if the wording from mine is a little different, I think it more closely reflects the original language so verse 17 begins with Elias, or you probably have in yours, Elijah, Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it rain not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
He prayed again, the heaven gave rain and the Earth brought forth her fruit. Let us pray together.
Father, we thank You for Your precious inspired word. We thank you for the way that it addresses us as human beings, such as we are sinners, saved by grace. Human beings with all the frailties of being finite beings, but also the fact that we are redeemed from a fallen condition, and we’re thankful Lord that in the struggles of the Christian life, you’ve given us many practical messages from your word, and we are thankful for people like Elijah, another human being who shared not only our nature but also our experience, our feelings, thus through the struggles of life, and how James so wonderfully under inspiration uses him as an example for us, that we might profit… That we might be encouraged. That we might learn. And so we ask, Father, that you would bless this message today. It certainly is a very deep subject, and we pray that you would help us to be surrendered to not only the teaching of the Spirit of God, that we would be teachable, but also that you would open our eyes that we might behold wondrous things out of your inspired word less. This message, we pray for the sake of Christ and for our spiritual good, for we pray in Christ’s name, Amen. Really, the text we wanna spend time on today is the first part. Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are.
Last week, I introduced the teaching of the Book of James by a consideration of some of the glimpses were given in scripture of the man, James, and I think it’s very important that we consider who is doing the writing?
And I would encourage you to do that with many of the New Testament books.
I find it helpful to remember… for example, when I’m reading first Peter, some of the things that Peter went through in his own spiritual pilgrimage before he wrote that book, it kind of gives an insight, the same with the apostle Paul, and the same with James.
We learned last week that He was the Lord’s brother according to Galatians chapter two, verse 19. Paul the Apostle says, he is the brother of the Lord. And we pointed out the fact that that means that he was slow in coming to the faith.
He did not believe on Christ, what Christ was on earth, even though he saw some of his teaching, he grew up with him.
He was his older brother.
Obviously, he saw the miracles Christ did, yet he did not believe. Were told that in John Chapter 7, we also learned that the Lord appeared to him personally, according to 1 Corinthians, chapter 15 and 17, one of the individuals to whom the risen Christ appeared in person was this man chains, and we assumed that it was on that occasion that James came to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We also learned from the Book of Acts that he was often among the apostles, He was part of their council, so to speak, he fellowship with him often, he was not one of the 12, but he certainly was in close association with what we called the 12 apostles, when Paul, after his conversion, came back to Jerusalem, you remember he had the Damascus road experience, he came back to Jerusalem, were told that he sought an audience with the apostle Peter and with James, the brother of our Lord,
No the other apostles, but those two in particular, that gives us some idea, at least I think, of the standing that this man had in the early church, but most importantly, evolve, we saw in Acts Chapter 15, last week, that at the Jerusalem council, we see a man who is saturated in Old Testament Scripture, as a matter of fact, I would give you a very practical point in reading the book of James, I personally think that the Book of James is nothing more than an exposition of an Old Testament scripture verse, and that is Micah chapter 6 and verse 8, has showed us O man, what is good and what does the Lord require the but to love mercy, to do justly and to walk humbly with your God… If you look at those three things that were written there, you realize that James really is doing nothing more than expounding in his letter what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ from that lens… From the lens of a converted Jew, I think it’s very, very helpful.
But we see this man who was just saturated with Old Testament scripture, he quotes from the book of Amos as he is putting a context to what he had heard from all in Barnabas and Peter, but the conversion of the Gentiles.
And he gives his assessment of the situation, but to me, the thing that stands out in that whole passage in Acts Chapter 15, were the wise words that the man James said to the Apostle Known unto God are all His works from the beginning.
It’s a remarkable statement of faith, not only about God’s sovereignty, but about God’s grace, about God’s foreknowledge, and about prophecy.
It’s quite an amazing statement, obviously from a man who has spent a lot of time meditating on the scripture and growing in grace.
But above all, we need to remember that he was a pastor.
He was the pastor of the church at Jerusalem.
He loved fellow believers, he calls them beloved brethren, quite often, especially when he is saying something of a corrective nature, which we saw last week, but quite often he would call them brethren or beloved brethren. He writes like a pastor, he writes with a pastor’s heart, he writes in a way that is uncompromising when it comes to holiness, when it comes to virtuous living, when it comes to walking in love, when it comes to holiness and purity. But at the same time, we see the man’s heart, he loves his fellow believers, he is sympathetic with them and their struggles, their earthly struggles, he begins the book with a word of encouragement to those who are going through fiery trials.
He says, My brethren, count it all joy when you pass through fiery trials, but we also see here at the very end of the book, him dealing with people who may have been prone to discouragement and despondency.
And that brings us to our text today. “Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are.”
The truth is that the Christian experience as its moments of discouragement and despondency, if you’ve been a believer for any period of time, you know that that’s true, sometimes we look at the world around us, and I particularly had current events in mind when I prepared this message, and we find them quite mystifying, perplexing even, Why are things as they are?
Sometimes in our Christian walk, we become discouraged with ourselves in our weakness of faith, in our lack of steadfastness in our wishy-washingness, what James calls double-mindedness earlier on in the book.
Sometimes the Christian life is just hard. I’m reminded of that verse in the Old Testament, when the children of Israel were passing through the wilderness, and it said They became discouraged because of the way… Well, that’s the Christian life, sometimes we just get discouraged because of the way… The way of the cross leads home, but the way of the cross can also be rugged.
It involves self-denial.It involves frequent repentance. Involves ups and downs, there are a lot of Mount top experiences, but there are also those times in the Valley, we all know that, and so James brings to our attention a man, a man from the Old Testament, and not just any man… This Elijah the Prophets, the greatest, he is one of the two that appeared with the transfiguration- Christ on the Mount transfiguration. Remember Moses and Elijah.
He truly is A high water mark in Old Testament revelation.
God did many things by this man, and he was fearless in the face of godless opposition, he stood with great resolve against Ahab and Jezebel and the prophets of Baal, when it seemed like the whole world was a wash with idolatry.
We see this loan voice standing and proclaiming the Lord God, Jehovah, He is the Lord.
And yet we’re told by James, remember though he was a man of like passions as we are.
Let’s turn back to First Kings Chapter 19, shall we?
First Kings chapter 19 and verse 1. Here we are told about this great man, Elijah, this is after Mount Carmel, this is after he had prayed down fire from Heaven that consumed the alter, the sacrifice, and all of the water, the province of Bael had been taken down by the Kishon River. We stood there on that spot when Iran… We were in Israel, my wife and I, there’s a big statue of El too with a dagger in his hands and the prophets of Bael feet, and you can look right down Mount Carmel and you can see the meandering Kishon River, and you cannot just envision Eli just saying, take the profits of Bael down there and slay them, every one of them, it’s quite a moving place to go, but this is right after that event, so verse one, and they have told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and with all how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.
Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto her lies saying, so let the gods due to me and more also if I make not thy life as the life of one of them. By tomorrow, about this time, and when he saw that, he arose and went for his life and came to Beer-Sheba, which belonged to Judah, and left his servant there. Now, we’re talking about quite a journey… Carmel is in the northern part of Israel.
Beersheba is considered the southern extreme of occupied Israel at this time.
Okay, from Dan to be Beer-Sheba was considered the geographical extremities of Israel, so Beer-sheba is way in the South, probably at least a two-day journey, maybe three, even more… So as it says in verse four, but he himself went a day’s journey into wilderness, this is from Beer-Sheba, now further south, and came and sat down under a juniper tree, and he requested for himself that he might die, and he said, it is enough.
Now, O, Lord, take away my life, for I am not better than my fathers.
It as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold there, an Angel touched him and said unto him, Arise and eat, and he looked and behold there was a cake baking on the coals and the crus of water at his head, and he did… He did drink and laid him down again, and the angel of the Lord came again the second time and touched him and said, Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for thee… And he arose and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat 40 Days and 40 Nights onto Hora the mount of God, and he came here there into a cave and lodged there, and behold the word of the Lord came to him and said, unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts, for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, they’ve thrown down thine altars and slain the profits in the sword, and I even I only am left, and they see my life to take it away, and he said, Go forth and stand upon the mouth before the Lord, and behold the Lord passed by and a great and strong wind rent the mountains and break in pieces the rocks before the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind, and after the wind and earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake, and after the year earthquake a fire.
But the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire, a still small voice.
And it was so when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantel went out and stood at the entering in of the cave, and behold there came a voice unto him and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts, because the children of Israel have forsaken and thine altars are the covenant and thrown down thine altars and slain thine prophets with the sword and die, even I only am left, and they seek my life to take it away.
And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
I wanna talk today about human despondency in particular, as we see it here in the great prophet Elias.
Now, I’m not talking about clinical depression, I do believe there is such a thing as clinical depression. Okay, I have to have some experiences of pastor in New York with individuals who believed they were depressed, and quite often the counsel that I would give them is, I want you to go see a doctor first… We will counsel, but I want you to go see a doctor.
And we had a Christian doctor in our church, and he was very wise about this, he himself was an extremely… godly man, and he believed all the things you and I believe, but he often would say, There are things we don’t truly understand about the human mind, and there are occasions in which chemicals get out of balance and medication can be helpful, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still spend time at the Lord, address your spiritual life, walk with the Lord as you should, but there is such a thing as clinical depression, but I’m not talking about that.
I don’t believe Elijah was clinically depressed. Here, okay, we were talking about a season of his life in which he was simply to spindle, and the point that James seems to be making is that all people, regardless of our station in life, regardless of what we do for the Lord more or less are subject to moments, periods of time of despondency and depression, and the point that James is making is that that fact should not lead us to being prayer-less, prayerlessness cannot be excused because of our state of mind, because we’re in a valley… quite the opposite.
That’s Jame’s main point.
He’s encouraging us to pray….men are always to pray and not to faint, said our Lord Jesus Christ.
But nonetheless, this is an experience that is common to man…
There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man.
This is an experience, this is a period of temptation that is common to man, we read in the Old Testament, for example of David, who often expressed in the Psalms things like, I am desolate and afflicted, or I am cast down. tears cover me.
We read about Job who said this, as he was going through his hardship, Oh, that my grief were thoroughly weighed and my calamity weighed in the balances.
He referred to that period of his time as calamity, as a grief.
Jeremiah in the Book of lamination said, he has filled me with bitterness.
Sometimes I think we somehow think that these individuals re-read about a Scripture wars somewhat other than us.
I hesitate to use the term super star, but if it helps you to understand, sometimes our mindset about these individuals, James goes to great lengths to show us Elijah was just like us, in His ups and downs, there is something peculiar about Elias case that is like us.
Now, we can think of other people in the Bible that were a lot like I, like John Jonah was a lot like Elijah,He was as for the Lord’s cost, just like Elijah. Some of the things that Elijah said, Jonah, could say. He was, Tell us for the Lord’s name and for the Lord’s cost.
But there is something about Elijah, there is a selflessness about lie, there’s a nobility to this man, elongate is something that is immensely patriotic about this man, Elijah, and there are moments in our lives in which we may believe that we’ve rendered the best service, the best sacrifice on the altar that we can offer, and we’re still disappointed.
It’s hard to imagine a man doing more than Elijah did for the cause of God, and yet we see this man to sponge asking God to take his life.
Now, Elias despondency was not unnatural.
But it was also without excuse, we can never excuse this in ourselves or in others, we can certainly sympathize, and that’s what James is causing us to do to show us that He is sympathetic to some of the struggles we may face as Christians, and some of the things that Elijah said, we’re absolutely true, he did stand and speak very much alone in his generation without anyone there to talk to, without anyone to sympathize with him, without anybody there to be his right-hand man, so to speak.
He opposed kings and princes, bent on ruining Israel spiritual.
He was zealous, not only for his people, he loved them selflessly, but also for the cause of God, and the truth is that people did not side with him, his life was threatened and he flees into the wilderness. His work as a prophet to him seem to have been an utter failure.
That’s the way he looked at it.
I’ve been an utter failure. So far as bringing Israel back to you, Lord, I’ve been a failure.
Now, we have a very different perspective of Elijah’s ministry, don’t we see his ministry as a high water mark in the Old Testament, but the way that He viewed it at this moment and time was that he was an utter failure, your people have forsaken your covenant, they’ve thrown down your altars and they have killed your prophets, in other words, at this moment in time, his faith was failing it, he wished himself did we have an imperfect faith, you and I… No, there is a lot we can say about Elijah. There is certainly the physical element, there is the emotional element, but there’s also the spiritual… A lot has been said about Elijah’s experience at this point. The truth is, he had exhausted himself that day at Carmel had taken a lot out of it, probably more than he even appreciated, he was physically spent… He spent a lot of time sleeping underneath that juniper tree didn’t he?… He also was hungry ….So there’s that physical side, there’s the emotional sort, the… He’s a profit of the Lord, but he loves Israel.
He has to stand against sin, has to preach against sin, but at the same time, he loves the people, he loves the cause of God, so this tremendous emotional conflict he must have felt within himself, and then there’s this spiritual side, he appears in his mind of accomplished nothing of worth in his ministry, and now he flees in the wilderness, and he does the unthinkable- he asked God to take him on an world, it’s enough. His faith fails him. He wishes himself dead. And by the way, he’s not the first one that did that. Others have done it as well. He didn’t doubt GOd.
He may have doubted God’s sovereignty, his government in the affairs of men at this point, but he didn’t doubt God.
He also didn’t doubt who he was before God, his identity as a believer, he… There’s no reason to believe that He… But that doesn’t mean that his faith still hadn’t failed him, for at that moment, his pace really often him… No comfort did it.
Everything seemed dark or I… Everywhere he looked, he was reminded of the awful-ness of sin and of a post, he had been most wonderfully used by God… I mean, think about some of the things he had done.
How God had answered his prayers.
The miracles God did by his hand. He, he was, he had been clothed with supernatural strength, but then we come to this moment and we see a man who’s very much flesh and blood, just like you and me, now he sinks about as low as a human being can sink… When in verse four, he says, Oh Lord, take away my life, for I am not better than my fathers. Do you know what his point was there? Is saying, I’m not better than my fathers.
His point is that he expected a different outcome, he thought that as a prophet sent by God, there would be a real change in Israel spiritually, but he realizes now that he, like others before him, who was Elijah for the cause of God, weren’t necessarily hated… Not pointing all of this as though man, so Elijah was a man of great faith witnessed by the things that he did, particularly the results of his prayer in the matter of the rain, he was nonetheless a man, he was prone to fits of unbelief.
For a time, unbelief had gotten the upper hand, that doesn’t mean that he had totally cast off God, but unbelief had gotten the upper hand…
I wanna just think about this expression, he was a man of like passions, now, I told you I don’t particularly care for some of the modern translations on this, and there’s a reason for that.
Your translation probably says something like, he was a man of like nature is us, or had a human nature, like something like that. I think that’s what all four of the ones I looked at said, and… Well, that’s certainly true. He was, he had a human nature, just like you and me, this word is much richer than that, the Greek word is h****** pathos… It’s a combination of two words how h**** pathos
The H**** is a word which means like or the same as another, subject to the same experiences, feelings, infirmities, frailties.
As a matter of fact, in the Old Testament, you know that originally the old test or in a Hebrew, it was translated first into greek before it was translated into our language, and that translation is called the Septuagint.
That Greek translation of the Old Testament, we… The scholars were looking for a word to describe Genesis 1:26, Let us make man in Our likeness and in our image… The word they used was pathos.
We are like God, there is something about man, which is like the express image of God’s like It’s not that image, of course, has been marred by the fall, things have changed as a result of our depravity, the introduction of sin into the world, but on the last we are like God, and that is the word that the scholars used because they wanted to find a word which expressed a very close meaning or a close sense of likeness, that’s the word they chose, there is an exact likeness between God and man, just as there is an exactness between what Elijahe is experiencing and what you and I experience.
The second word that is used pathos, comes from a Greek word poscho, which means to suffer, when the Bible says that Christ suffered for our sins according to the scriptures, that is the word the Apostle Paul uses. He poscho, he suffered.
So when James says that Elijah was a man of like passions as we are. The idea is that he was under the same yoke, he suffered the same things, he went through, the same ups and downs, the same human despondency. So you see the heart of the pasort coming out here, he is sympathizing with the people, I understand the temptation to be utterly cast down when you’re going through difficult times in your Christian life, that’s basically what he’s saying, But that shouldn’t stop you from praying as a matter of fact, that’s the exact moment you should pray. Remember last week, we saw that James calls him the Father of lights. And in our moments of darkness, what do we need? We need light.
Where do we go?
We go to the Father of lights.
God doesn’t say, Oh, you should know better.
You should have light, No, he welcomes us. So there is a sympathy there, having said all of that, acknowledging the fact that this is human experience, we have our moments in which we’re not as faithful as we should be, we have our moments of doubt, we have our moments of darkness, acknowledging all of that, there are some mornings be very careful in such times not to develop an attitude of self-importance when it comes to your feelings, like your feelings are more important to other people’s feelings.
Quite often, I would counsel with people as a pastor, and they’ve heard other people, and the reason why they’ve heard other people is because they felt entitled to because they had been or that’s the exact wrong thing to do.
Do not do that.
If our being hurt, are being down or discouraged leads us to feel that our feelings are the most important thing, that’s fertile ground for more sin. Don’t do that.
Secondly, be aware of impatient at such moments.
It’s easy to become impatient.
Look back at verse 11 and James Chapter 5, in this same passage, James addresses, the danger of impatience.
By my place is, he says, Behold, we count them happy, which endure you have heard of the patience of Job and have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful. Kind of tender mercy. Be careful about impatience under the yoke, thirdly, be careful about exaggerating evils in ourselves or in others at such times, sometimes we make a bigger deal out of things than we should…
I think Elijah was doing that, in his mind, he was all alone, the Lord knew he still had 7000 that did not get bowed the need, he was Exeter in his mind.
The spiritual condition of Israel at this time. Be careful about that.
Fourthly, be careful about in gratitude to God at such times, I don’t deserve this. Hey, I’ve done this. Okay, I can speak from experience.
Sometimes when we’re either under the Chastening rod of God or going through a period of time of temptation or trial, we can become most ungrateful and God does not to serve that.
I love Aaron’s prayer, if we got what we deserved, we would all be in hell, that’s the truth. That’s what we truly deserve.
Be careful about in gratitude at such times, be careful about mis-judging others at such times, we tend to think that all this darkness and every motif is a bad motive, that’s not true, remember love, think it no evil, that means we see what is best in others, don’t miss judge others at such times, and then finally, Be careful about the root of bitterness to warn about in Hebrews Chapter 12, lest there be a root of bitterness in any one of us.
It’s easy to become bitter.
Elijah could have become very bitter at times, so why we acknowledge the fact that this is an experience common to all, we also realize that this is the time we need to be particularly watchful and careful that we not fall into deeper sin… But Elijah’s despondency was only one half of the story. .. And that’s really the important thing here, if we stop right here, this would not be a very uplifting message you want… Yeah, it’s great to have somebody that sympathize with us, it’s great to have somebody like James who has the heart of a pastor is… I understand.
Remember though that Elijah was a man of like passions as you are.
But that’s only half the story, because First Kings, Chapter 19 is really about how God dealt with Elijah at that point. And how God deals with us.
There’s a reason why the same man who often complained in the Psalms, I’m cast down, I’m desolate, I’m afflicted, also made much of the tender mercies if God, because He knew from experience that God often met him at such times with nothing but tender mercy.
First Kings 19 is about how God tenderly deals with a stumbling prophet, a time when his faith was not what it should have been, and I believe that is precisely the point that James is making in our text.
Remember, James is also the one who penned the words that if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives us to all men liberally and upgrade it not.
When we come to God and we say, God, I don’t know what I should do. Does God come back at us and say, But you should know what to do. What’s wrong with you?
No, James says, He doesn’t upgrade us.
It gives to all men liberally and upgrades not.
God does not upgrade Elijah, Elijah was wrong on several points.
Doesn’t matter of fact, some of the things that he said to God were merely impressions. Not necessarily the truth, but God doesn’t take the time to correct him, and so repeated.
God deals with him tenderly. At that time, God gives us what we lack. We should come to God.
There is no word of re-proof to Elijah for his detection and unbelief.
There is the question, What doest thou here Elijah.
Why do you think God asks that question?
Can you think of another place in scripture where God asked a similar question, Adam, where art thou? What doest thou still here, Elijah?
I just remember a funny story, Spurgeon wasn’t converted until he was a teenager around with… You knew that or not, but it is quite a story about how he went to a prayer-meeting and been raging winter storm, which… They’re kind of rare in England, they don’t get a lot of those, but because of the snow, the regular preacher… It was, I think, a primitive Wesleyan church that he went to, and because of the storm, the regular preacher could not do the Bible study that I… So instead, and Deacon got up and he said he wasn’t a very good speaker.
As a matter of fact, all he could do really was just keep saying the text over and over again that he’s chosen that what night which is look unto Me, all you people and be saved in the Lord, and there’s an another… He said, but it was exactly what I needed to hear that I… So he was converted, but when Spurgeon was a little boy, he came from a heritage of very strong Christian, his grandfather was a pastor, he would tell about how he would love to be in his pastor study with his old musty books. He would read them and things like that, but when he was a little boy, there was someone in his church who frequented bars, I think he might have been a member or maybe even a deacon, I don’t know, but he was in a bar. And of course, it was a great pain to his Father’s heart that there’s this man, it was part of his church was basically a public drunken… One day, Spurgeon is a little 10-year-old boy or whatever. He was, as time went in to the bar, it went to the bar, he stood in front of the guy, pointed his finger… What doest here, Elijah?!, can you imagine a little boy doing that?
But the point is, is, it’s an awakening question.
God is trying to awaken in Elijah a light.
Wake up, Elijah, What are you doing here?
Really think about it.
What’s brought you to this place? Sometimes God deals with us that way, I wanna close with a few lessons from this…
Okay, first of all, I always remember, God does not see things as man sees things, always remember that.Elijah needed to be reminded that I still have 7000 about the need. You may look at your ministry as an utter failure, that’s not the way I look at it, God didn’t say those exact words, but that’s the idea.
He gave an important testimony in that generation.
Now, certainly, there are times when God does not see things quite as badly as we see things, there are times when God, these things as worse than we see that sometimes we think things are going great in the church, and maybe there’s some sin under the surface somewhere, there are other times we all in a depressed state in the church, and maybe God looks at it and he sees the 7000 who’ve not yet bowed in you to Bael.
God does not see things, ’cause we see things, when you look at the circumstances in American today, with all that’s going on politically, and with this disease and everything else…
I want you to remember, Known unto God are all His works from the beginning.
God does not see things as man sees things, we allow these things to just get us down.
We need to remember that God has a very different perspective when we do, he has a plan in the earth that we by and large, not privy to.
We read in James Chapter 5 or 7, patient, therefore brethren, unto the coming of the Lord, Behold the husband men waited for the precious fruit of the Earth and hath long patients for it until he received the early. And the latter, be patient.
Things are not as they may appear to us.
Secondly, God finds believers in unexpected places, we may look at the world around us and see nothing but darkness and unbelief, and may lead us to wanna wring our hands in despair and was to become of our nation. Was to become of our Christian heritage. What’s to become of the cause of Christ? What’s to become of our churches?
Even the prophet thought, he looked in vain for others. They may be spread far and wide, they may be in caves, hidden from the public view, but God sees the 7,000, and what if we are part of that remnant… Are we content to be part of that remnant?
I’m content to be part of the remnant who is patient unto the coming of the Lord.
We may not see our churches bursting at the scenes, but if we are faithful to the Lord, be thou faithful unto death, and I will give Thee the crown of life, that’s the council from Scripture
Thirdly, God is satisfied with even a little faith or a flawed faith, Elijah had a flawed faith, he was a man Subject to like passions as we are.
We may look at our faith as I wish my faith were stronger, I do.
I wish I was more steadfast and un-movable, Always abounding in the work of the Lord, and far too often I think that my labor is in vain in the Lord.
Even though the scripture says, Your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
We are a flawed people- a redeemed people, clothed in the righteousness of price, but our faith is in a perfect one, and sometimes we beat ourselves up for that one.
I should believe better.
But we have a great high priest, we’re told, who has compassion on the great… Look it up in Hebrews 5:2, when a high priest is chosen, it’s because he can have compassion on the ignorant, we have a great high priest who has touched with the feeling of our infirmities. For He was tempted in all points, like as we are yet without sin.
He taught us that if we have faith even as a grain of mustard seed, we may pray to God, and God will remove a sycamore tree pluck it up and cast it into the sea, that’s not very much faith.
You may look at your faith and you say, Well, I don’t have very much faith. I am far to wishy-washy. I may be down tomorrow because it’s Monday morning, even though my spirits may be lifted after worse on Sunday, but it… Faith is a grain of mustard seed sort certainly isn’t very much state.
The point is, is that Elijah was a flawed man, in the same kind of fear, unbelief and depression that you and I are subject to, and yet he found acceptance with God, and when He prayed that it might not rain, it did not rain for a space of three and a half years.
And the truth is, you do not know what is accomplished by your prayers, only God does. Go back to point number one.
We don’t see the things God sees.
Let us find encouragement in who God is and what God is.
We find in the Book of Proverbs Chapter 18 and Verse 10, these words, the name of the Lord is a strong tower, and the righteous run into it. And is safe.
One last point I want to make here, I added this one, especially after my own personal time as Lord this weekend, the tree that Elijah found himself under the juniper tree in the wilderness, it was a suitable place for him, I suppose.
One interesting thing I read about juniper trees, snakes don’t like ’em.
You know the great Serpent or Satan. So there might be some symbolic significance to the fact that he was under the juniper, being oppressed by saying, I don’t know, but the tree that we need to be under is of a different kid, isn’t… It’s the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
That’s where we need to be. When faith is weak, when we are in moments of darkness, because there we find full atonement, there we find perfect satisfaction for our failures, for our sins, for our own beliefs, there we find that perfect sacrifice was made and we find acceptance and with acceptance peace. That’s what we need.
We need to remember that we are always accepted in Christ, but that’s the place we need to be, to be sheltered from a world of sin and darkness.
The answer I’m giving you today is not a new one, isn’t… It’s an old one, but when it comes to despondency, there are fresh mercies and fresh grace in the shadows of Calvary, and that’s what we need at such times, we may bemoan the fact that we are not what we ought to be. I do, and if you do, you’re like Elijah, you’re like me, okay?
And what I need at such times says that still a small voice of the Lord, reassuring me, yes, you are my child, yes, I love you with the everlasting love.
And in my son, the Lord Jesus Christ, you have a perfect righteousness and a perfect standing, that’s what we need at such times, and what’s beautiful about Elijah’s story, of course, after he’s been restored, after he’s been awaken and then reminded of who he is, and what he’s been called to do, God gives him several tasks to do.
He wasn’t done with him.
Sometimes when we fail, we think of God’s done with me, that’s it.
God can’t use me anymore.
It’s not sure.
Peter teaches us that.
Elijah teaches us that sometimes when we fail, when faith fails and our resolve fails, and he once we are restored, we hear the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, when now or converted go in strength and nigh brethren, in other words, I have yet a ministry for you, you can help others because of the struggles that you’ve experienced, you can help others… That’s what Elijah did.
He went, he mentor a man named Elahi, who end up being another mighty man of God He anoints Jehu who cleans house of all the Baele worst first and has all who becomes the instrument of chastisement and the end of… Or the king of Syria.
God wasn’t done with… In logic. And he’s not done with you. What do you feel?
There’s always forgiveness. There’s always restoration in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us pray together.
Father, we thank you for this wonderful story, thank you for religious example, and for Lord for your grace and mercy in our lives, thank you that you take broken creatures, fallen creatures, you redeem them, you place their feet on a rock and you establish their going… Thank you, Lord, that You can yet use us, forgive us for those times in which we falter in our faith, forgive us for those times, and we don’t believe as we ought to believe. I pray that none of us would ever allow that to become an excuse for greater sin, a greater departure from the truth.
Lord, may we ever cleave to Christ by your grace, we pray that we’d be held fast and that Lord, you’d be glorified in us we know a lot that, Lord, while we’re you here on earth you have something for each of us to do, help us to look at every day as an opportunity, be a testimony of your saving grace, and an opportunity to glorify Christ in our bodies and in our spirits.
We thank You for the Lord Jesus Christ who loved us, gave Himself for us and what He endured for us. A man of sorrows.
Lord, whatever we endured its a pittance by comparison, and so we pray, we would never think that nobody’s ever had it as bad as us, Lord, forgive us for those times we feel sorry for ourselves, we are impatience. Help us to remember that you want to use us, help us to be encouraged today in the Lord. Remember that the name of the Lord is a strong tower. Where we pray these things in Christ name, Amen.