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1 Kings 18:15-20

15 Elijah said, “As the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today.”

16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”

18 “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. 19 Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel.


God had told Elijah to present himself to Ahab and so he would do just that. To Obadiah this was madness. Even in good times you would seek an audience with the king, and if he deigned to see you it would be when and where the king decreed. You would never dream of sending for him! Not unless, of course, you represented a kingdom that was infinitely more powerful; and the threat of the army at your disposal was sufficient to cause any opponent to treat you with respect.


This then was the reason for Elijah's fearlessness. God was more real to him than Ahab was. Elijah was the servant of the King of Kings. How could he be afraid of a mere man? Faith sees the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire (2 Kings 6:17). Faith can detect the outlines of those almighty hands that hide the children of God in their hollow.


Poor Obadiah. His faith would go so far and no further. He had learned from experience the power of King Ahab, but he had not yet learnt from experience the power of God. Three times he told Elijah that Ahab would kill him. And it was only when Elijah appealed to God as the witness of his solemn oath, and assured him that he would show himself to Ahab before the day was out that Obadiah reluctantly went to find him. He was quite unable to understand the fearlessness of Elijah.

 

We too have a choice: we could live like Elijah, confident in our God, or we can be an Obadiah, fearful of the world and the threats it holds. Believing in God’s power in our heads, but unable to put that belief into practice.


When Elijah left Zarephath, it is probable that he had no particular plan of action. He knew that he must show himself to Ahab, and that the rain was not far away. This much he had been told (V1): "Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land." More than this was still hidden from him. He may have had a premonition of some impending conflict between the forces of good and evil, but he knew nothing for certain.


But as soon as he was obedient, and set out to meet Ahab, God was able to reveal the next step. More than a step, it was to be a major campaign demonstrating the Power of God against the impotence of the Baals.


It’s possible that God gave Elijah detailed instructions,

but is it more likely that he let Elijah plan the next part himself?

How could God do that and at the same time ensure that Elijah did as God intended?

Elijah had proved his motives.

Elijah had proved his complete trust.

Undoubtedly Elijah would have prayed for guidance.


I don’t understand how it works, but if we have prayed for God to guide us he will often drop thoughts and ideas into our minds. If we stop to think about it we sometimes ask ‘I wonder where that came from?’ But nonetheless we think that they are our ideas. But isn’t that interfering with our free will?  Not at all – we asked God to lead us! Sometimes we also have our own ideas and it’s good to share with other praying Christians who can often discern whether a plan is from God or not.


To be honest, there are times when we can’t seem to be able to determine the will of God in a particular situation.

So how can we recognise when God is speaking to us?


If we are truly surrendered to his will, and living close to him day-by-day, we will soon learn to recognise his voice. If there is any confusion as to what his will is, it may be due to one of these two causes: either the time for complete understanding has not yet arrived and we must be patient, or there is a blockage of some kind between ourselves and God which restricts the free flow between his will and ours. It is a good rule for us to do nothing while we are uncertain, but to examine ourselves and to be ready to act as soon as we know.


Acts 10: Look at the experience of the apostle Peter: He had been given a vision of a sheet filled with unclean animals. Then we are told ‘while Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon's house was and stopped at the gate.’

It was only when three men knocked at Simon Peter’s gate that he understood the meaning of the vision of the unclean animals – until then he had been puzzled by its meaning.


But after all this, what happens if we still do something which wasn’t God’s plan?

God is almighty. He is never confounded by what we do. He is also amazingly patient, and we can rest assured that his will will be done one way or another!


Elijah’s plan would need the direct involvement of God – a miracle – but he had by now gained the total confidence that he could ask God for that too.

Could we have that same confidence? Remember ‘Elijah was a man just like us’. Let us try to think ourselves into Elijah's attitude of heart and mind, as he left his hideout at Zarephath, and began to pass through the incidents that would culminate at Carmel.


What was Elijah’s consuming passion? His passion was for the glory of God.

Look forward for a minute at Elijah’s prayer on Mount Carmel

1 Kings 18:36

At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command.37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”


Let it be known today that you are God in Israel. This prayer is the key to his heart. It suggests that he neither knew nor wanted to know what would become of himself; instead his soul was filled with an almost reckless desire for the glory of God. He had seen what had become of God’s people: the wrecked altars, the martyred prophets, and the dreadful things that came with Canaanite idolatry. He was aware that the people were beginning to imagine that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had abdicated in favour of these false Gods. When he stopped to think about these things, his spirit was filled with indignation and sadness.


Would we say that our hearts are desperate for the Glory of God?

Maybe we are eager for the success of our own Christian work, and the work of our Church. If they seem to be doing well, we are satisfied; if they decline we are depressed. But while we are mainly occupied with the interests of our own little empires is it surprising that we have so little success?


Isaiah 42:8

8 “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another

or my praise to idols.

There is always a danger that what we do for the Lord may take up so much of our time that in effect it then becomes an idol. We just need to refocus our motives and ensure that all we do is solely for God’s glory – not our own.


This passion for the Glory of God doesn’t come naturally as we grow old in his service, and it was no more natural for Elijah than it is for any one of us. It seems to be another fruit of the Holy Spirit, who is promised to us all equally, regardless of our natural strengths or weaknesses.


The next attitude of heart which Elijah displayed was that of a servant. "Let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant". God may have allowed Elijah to think and plan, but in Elijah’s mind he was simply a tool in the hand of the master craftsman, a chess-piece on the board for him to move just where he willed. This was the attitude of Elijah's spirit: surrendered, yielded, emptied; like clay in the potter's hands.


There are two different lessons to learn here.

1. Are we really committed to the Lord’s service?

Or do we have an attitude that says: ‘If he wants me to do something he knows where to find me – he only has to ask’?

That attitude allows us to get on with our life: giving lip-service to God, performing our Christian rituals, but never getting close to the heart of Jesus.

2. Are we too busy doing things for God, instead of letting God do what he chooses through us? Do we really stop to enquire of the Lord every time we do something for him? Or is our Christian work so automatic now that we can do it without the need of any further guidance?

We often miss doing what he needs us to do, because we insist on carrying out some little whim of our own. Satan is very happy when we are busy doing our service for the Lord, if the Lord would have preferred us to be doing something quite different.


Philippians 2:3-8

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,

did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,

7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant,

being made in human likeness.

8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!


Elijah had learnt these lessons and was anxious to do only what God had commanded. "Let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command".


We are now ready to look at the second meeting between Elijah and Ahab. But first we will look at the psychology of relationships.


Complex psychology comes in to play whenever we meet someone and start a conversation. Automatically we form an opinion about the other person and our position relative to them. Depending on how someone starts a conversation, so the way we respond is also conditioned.


Imagine a scenario. The boss has mislaid his briefcase. He approaches a member of staff. ‘Find my briefcase will you’. This is obviously a Boss : Employee relationship (Write on board ‘Boss : Employee’) and the employee immediately hurries to do what he has been told.


But suppose the boss had said ‘ Oh dear, I’m in terrible trouble, I’ve lost my briefcase. Can you find it for me?’ Now that has become almost a Child : Parent relationship (Write on board ‘Child : Parent’). The employee might even reply as a parent: ‘There there, don’t worry, I’ll find it for you.


The employee could also have replied  (Write on board ‘Peer : Peer’) as a Child, replying as equals: ‘where did you last have it? we’ll look for it there first’.


The response we get actually depends on the way we approach the other person! Approaching another person as if you were a child can only get a parent or child response.


If I were to ask ‘Who’d like to close in prayer today? I’d probably get no response because I’m treating everyone as an equal (Peer : Peer) and you are all thinking ‘well why don’t you do it yourself?’ If instead I said ‘John, will you close in prayer for us?’ John would agree because that is a Leader : Member relationship. I got the response I expected because I started the conversation in the right way.


Because of the way the lord arranged for Elijah to first meet Obadiah he was able to take the initiative, and send for Ahab.


16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah.17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”


Ahab opens the conversation hoping to take the authority, (king : subject) but he was standing in the presence of one who had much greater authority and Ahab knew it. He had been summoned, and he had obeyed, and now he was actually ready to receive his instructions. (King of Kings : human)


18 “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. 19 Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”


20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel.





1 Kings Elijah 101 Kings Elijah 8








ELIJAH 9  1 Kings 18:15-20 Elijah sends for Ahab and gives him instructions!

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