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Signs of God's Presence

TGP A Kingdom Divided  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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God provides strength and encouragment for His people to face opposition on His behalf.

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Introduction
Good Morning...
also show-down, 1873 in card-playing (especially poker) a slang term for the act of laying down the hands face-up, from show (v.) + down (adv.). Figurative sense of "final confrontation" is from 1904.
Moses vs. Pharoah
Gideon vs. Armies of Midian
I am not going to ask for a show of hands here, but I want you to ask yourself this question: When was the last time you experienced something that you believed to be a “Sign of God’s Presence” in your life?
I can just imagine in a room this size that the answers to this question would span a wide gambit. Some of us could quickly answer that we see what we would call “Signs of God’s Presence” everyday all the way to those of us who desire to be very cautions about these kinds of labels to not attribute something to God that he didn’t actually supernaturally do.
David vs Goliath
One one side we would have those of us who could testify even this morning of God’s presence in some event of the morning and you could do that for yesterday and day before that and the day before that and you live in full expectation that another sign of God’s presence is in store for your tomorrow.
On the far other side, there are those of us who are very cautious about attributing anything to “signs of God” and we would have to be thoroughly convinced that there were no possible explanations for what we saw or experienced before we would label it as a “supernatural” occurrence. It is not that we would deny God’s ability to do miracles, we are just cautions about attributing something to God that wasn’t His doing so we just don’t think that people see them everyday and we are not really certain that we have ever truly seen one.
And I think that I have set the end posts far enough here that all of us can find ourselves somewhere in this continuum, probably leaning one way or the other but stearing clear of the what we would see the extreme’s of both ends.
One Prophet of God, Elijah vs. 450 prophets of Baal
Let me share a story with you that might help us grapple with this in more clarity:
Let me share a story with you that might give us some clarity on this:
When I was in college I had this college roommate named Josh. Josh was a great guy. He had a great sense of humor, loved basketball and it was hard to not just enjoy being around him. The thing that was so strange about Josh is that after I got to know him, he told me that he was not a Christian. Now that may not sound odd to you because many of your roomates were great people who were not Christians either, but it was odd to me because Josh seemed to know so much more about Christianity and the Bible than I did.
. And it wasn’t odd to me because I went to a Christian College, there were lots of non-Christian students at my school. It was odd to me because Josh’s Dad was a professor of Biblical Studies at my school.
You see I grew up in a Christian home, went to a Christian school, went through Sunday School, VBS, Youth Camps, Youth Group and at 18 years old I became a Member of my Christian Church. So I thought that I knew a lot about Christianity. Josh knew so much more. His father was a Biblical Studies professor at our school and over time he had asked him so many questions, question I never even thought of, and he remembered the answers. This messed with my mind in so many ways. How could he know all that he knew and still not have placed his faith and trust in Jesus Christ?
. This messed with my mind in so many ways. How could he know all that he knew and still not have placed his faith and trust in Jesus Christ?
Then one day Josh came into my room with this big grin on his face and said, “Guess what Dan, I am Christian now.” So of course I was crazy excited for him and I just asked what happened and he relayed this story of how God revealed Himself to him.
He said, “I was getting in my car because I was so late for work and when I reached my hand in my pocket I couldn’t find my keys. So I got out of the car and looked all around under the seats and along the sidewalk and I couldn’t find them anywhere. So for some reason I decided to pray. I said, God if you are real then help me find my keys. Then I reached under my seat, just like I did before and this time they were there. So now I know that God is real.”
And I was like, uh huh, ok…cool! And we celebrated.
Tension
So I think that this story has the potential of revealing to us where we lean in this whole ‘Signs of God’s Presence” question.
Some of us read in Scripture about Jesus and even later Phillip suddenly vanished and then reappeared and we think if God can do that with people, why not a set of car keys. Others of us are in the middle somewhere, maybe thinking that his decision to stop and pray helped guide his hand to the exact right spot. Others of us are even more skeptical, thinking that he probably just didn’t look that hard the first time and although it is always good to go to God in prayer, he probably would have eventually found the keys either way.
My point this morning is NOT so much to convince you to move further toward one end of this spectrum or the other. Our response to stories like this is influenced by many different variables. No, my point in sharing this story is to demonstrate how God revealed himself to a person in the unique way that he needed it.
No, my point in sharing this story is to demonstrate how God reveals himself to people in the way that they need it.
this morning is to help us all to see how God gave my friend Josh exactly what he needed in this particular moment to draw him to himself.
I didn’t get it. I didn’t get how finding his car keys made him trust in Jesus when all the truths he knew in his head didn’t. But I didn’t have to get it, from what I saw from the day forward Josh had commited his life to Jesus. The car keys thing might have happened to you or me and it would have made little difference, but it was the moment that God chose to reveal himself to Josh - and he responded. God reveals himself to each of His children in the way that they need in order to respond to Him.
The same thing might have happened to you or me and it would have made little difference, but for Josh it made all the difference in the world, and in the world to come. God used this experience to reveal his presence to Josh in a way that opened his heart to the same Gospel that he had heard countless times before. Our God knows exactly what we uniquely need to turn our hearts to Him, and He offers it to us in His perfect timing and way. And this true throughout our journey with Him, not just as the journey begins.
and in the world to come. God used this experience to reveal his presence to Josh in a way that opened his heart to the same Gospel that he had heard countless times before. Our God knows how to reveal himself to us in ways that we can respond. And this true throughout our journey with Him, not just as the journey begins.
We will see this kind of thing unfold in ancient Israel as well. Last week we returned to the Old Testament book of 1 Kings in our Gospel Project initiative. We were introduced to one of the greatest Prophets of the Old Testament. His name was Elijah, and he was sent to confront the evil king Ahab. We saw some of the reasons why he is considered such a great Prophet last week as God used him to do some pretty awesome things:
I don’t call Elijah great because of the might works that he did, although God did work mightily through him. I call him a great prophet because the Bible often uses Elijah’s name as a reference to the powerful office of Prophet. More than that, I say it because when Jesus was Transfigured, Elijah is one of two people who appear with Him.
Matthew 17:2–3 ESV
2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.
Matthew 17:
I don’t time to dive too deep into this significant event this morning, but theologians tell us that these two figures were offered in representation of the Law - in Moses and of the Prophets - in Elijah. So Elijah is not just one in a long list of Prophets. He stands out as a significant figure in many ways. We saw some of the reasons why last week in how God used him to do some pretty awesome things.
He spoke and weather obeyed.
He provided bread for the hungry.
He brought a young man back to life.
Today we are going to talk about Elijah’s most prominent miracle. Last week we saw how God used him to provided bread for the hungry and bring a young man back to life. (Tell me that’s not a foreshadow of things to come). This week Elijah is going to set up the great showdown between the one true God and the false gods that God’s people were worshipping.
Moses vs. Pharoah
Gideon vs. Armies of Midian
There is some pretty serious foreshadowing in that list isn’t there?
David vs Goliath
One Prophet of God, Elijah vs. 450 prophets of Baal
What made the difference was the presence of God.
This week, we are going to read of a time when Elijah brought a “Sign of God’s Presence” that even the most skeptical among God’s people could not ignore. It has been refered to as the “showdown on Mount Carmel”. It’s a familiar story, but what I really want us to see is how God used this “Sign of His Presence’ to work in the hearts of his people, just like He did with just a set of car keys for my friend Josh.
Tension
So open your Bibles with me to , it is on page 300, I’ll pray and we will dive into this great “showdown” together.
“Showdown”
Moses vs. Pharoah
Gideon vs. Armies of Midian
David vs Goliath
One Prophet of God, Elijah vs. 450 prophets of Baal
What made the difference was the presence of God. Tell the story here ?
Truth
I don’t know if you know this or not, but the word “Showdown” is actually a card playing term coined back in 1873 and it refers to the end of a poker hand when ever one has to lay down their cards face up, but over time it has come to mean a “final confrontation” in any arena.
As we have been walking through the Bible we have encountered several stories that could be described as “Showdowns” and in each instance the odds seem to be against the champion of the LORD.
“Showdown”
also show-down, 1873 in card-playing (especially poker) a slang term for the act of laying down the hands face-up, from show (v.) + down (adv.). Figurative sense of "final confrontation" is from 1904.
Stammering Moses against the Mighty Pharoah
Gideon’s 300 men against the Midianite masses
Gideon vs. Armies of Midian
David the shepherd boy vs the towering warrior Goliath
and today one prophet Elijah going up against 450 prophets of Baal.
In each of these “showdowns” things seemed stacked against God’s servant, but that was the set up for the “Sign of God’s presence” to take the center stage.
But understand that the seemingly lopsided odds of each of these “showdowns” is what set the scene for the “Sign of God’s Presence” to become unquestionably clear. And we will see this again in this story...
David vs Goliath
So according to God’s instruction, Elijah arranges to met King Ahab and the 450 prophets of Baal on top of Mount Carmel with all of Israel watching. They were going to set up two alters, one for Baal and one for Yahweh and then the prophets would pray to their different gods and see who answers by lighting the fire. Before all of this, Elijah addresses the unfaithfulness of God’s people...
So according to God’s instruction, Elijah arranges to met King Ahab and the 450 prophets of Baal on top of Mount Carmel with all of Israel watching. They were going to set up two alters, one for Baal and one for Yahweh and then the prophets would pray to their different gods and see who answers by lighting the fire. That how the battle in the arena was set up, but before all of this, Elijah leads God’s people to look at the battle that was going on in their hearts.
1 Kings 18:21 ESV
21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word.
1 Kings 18:21 ESV
21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word.
1 Kings 18:21
1 Kings 18:
One Prophet of God, Elijah vs. 450 prophets of Baal
“limping between two different opinions” - that is a word for us isn’t it. We may not be in danger of serving some idol named Baal, but we
They didn’t have anything to say. So Elijah the tells the plan to the prophets of Baal...
Deuteronomy 18:21–22 ESV
21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.
1 Kings 18:21–24 ESV
21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. 23 Let two bulls be given to us, and let them choose one bull for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. And I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood and put no fire to it. 24 And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.”
1 Kings 18:24 ESV
24 And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.”
1 Kings 18:21he following proposal:
The people agree to the terms of the Showdown.
deut 18:
It is important that we see the context here. They are in the middle of three year drought…and Baal was worship as the god of thunder, lightning and rain. For three years the people have not heard an answer from this supposed “god” who they trusted to bring the rain. So Elijah sets up this showdown that seems to give Baal home field advantage. You call him the “god” of storms and he hasn’t answered you on the rain - lets see if he can send some lightning. Because if he can’t, then I know someone who can.
What is interesting here is that they are in the middle of three year drought…and Baal was worship as the god of thunder, lightning and rain. For three years the people have not heard an answer from this supposed “god” who they trusted to bring the rain. So Elijah sets up this showdown that seems to give Baal home field advantage. You call him the “god” of storms and he hasn’t answered you on the rain - lets see if he can send some lightning. Because if he can’t, then I know someone who can.
1 Kings
He allows the prophets of Baal to go first and to choose the animal they wanted. And they set up all their pagan rigmarole and all morning long they prayed to their idol, danced, shouted and even started cutting themselves hoping to get the attention of this supposed god Baal. Nothing happened, because no one is there.
Elijah even engages in a little trash talking over it all. He taunts them to yell louder, maybe he is asleep or he is daydreaming or he is in the bathroom. This went on all morning long, and nothing happened. no one answered. no one paid attention. And now it is Elijah’s turn.
Finally v
1 Kings 18:31–35 ESV
31 Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name,” 32 and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two seahs of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” 34 And he said, “Do it a second time.” And they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time.” And they did it a third time. 35 And the water ran around the altar and filled the trench also with water.

Elijah did everything that he could to make sure that even the most skeptical among them would not be able to work out some scenario where this could have happened without God himself making
1 Kings 31-35
1 Kings 18:31–38 ESV
31 Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name,” 32 and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two seahs of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” 34 And he said, “Do it a second time.” And they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time.” And they did it a third time. 35 And the water ran around the altar and filled the trench also with water. 36 And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
1 Kings 18:31–39 ESV
31 Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name,” 32 and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two seahs of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” 34 And he said, “Do it a second time.” And they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time.” And they did it a third time. 35 And the water ran around the altar and filled the trench also with water. 36 And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.”
Elijah took extravagant steps to ensure that even the most skeptical among them would not be able to work out some scenario where this could have happened by any other force but God himself making it happen. You ever tried started a campfire with wet wood? And this stuff was soaked. And when the fire of the Lord fell it didn’t just consume the offering but all the fire wood, the water and even the rocks themselves. This was more than a bolt of lightning could ever do. It was the fire of the LORD. A “showdown” like no other, and the winner was clear:
1 Kings 18:39 ESV
39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.”
1 Kings 18:
Our first theme for this week shows us how

God moves the hearts of His people to return to Him ()

In this case, the “Sign of God’s Presence” was brought forth on a huge scale. The whole nation of Israel was “limping along between two opinions”. They were not faithful to the LORD, but were embracing other gods, thinking that it was they who gave them their identity, purpose and provisions. God cannot abide his people being unfaithful to him. He has said:
But the very point of God’s people was to put HIS glory on display - so when they said that these other gods brought them what they needed it was an affront to the Creator and Sustainer of all things.
Isaiah 42:8 ESV
8 I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.
Isaiah as they once promised, but now they were. In this moment Elijah gave them an immediate way to put their newly found faith to the test. It wasn’t pretty, but it was fitting.
So the LORD God gave this huge group of people an inescapable sign of His presence, and the people’s hearts were turned to the LORD. In fact, their hearts were so dedicated in this moment that they followed Elijah’s next instruction which was to completely rid the earth of the 450 prophets of Baal. It was not a pretty part of the story, but it was necessary. They had together experienced a “Sign of the Presence of the LORD” and it had changed them…at least for the moment.
After the great showdown the LORD sent rain and everyone hurried off back home. Even the wicked King Ahab returned home to report all that had happened to his wife Jezebel. Jezebel was an evil woman, so much so that we use her name today to describe a deceitful and evil woman. Her response to her husbands report was to send a death threat to Elijah who had killed her beloved prophets.
1 Kings 18:40 ESV
40 And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there.
After the great showdown the LORD sent the rain and everyone hurried off back home, even the King returned home and he reported all that had happened to his wife Jezebel. Jezebel was an evil woman, so much so that we use her name today to describe a deceitful and evil woman, and she responded by sending a death threat to Elijah. And Elijah ran for his life.
1 Kings 18:40
It was a needed response to a brutal and murderous world view, not unlike responses that we see in our world today.
As far as we can tell, even Ahab the king was among the people who fell on their faces in response to the fire of the LORD, because he started taking instructions from Elijah as well…at least until Ahab got home.
1 Kings 21:25 ESV
25 (There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited.
And how did the mighty prophet Elijah respond? He ran away like a big fat chicken.
You see when Ahab got home he reported all that happened to his wicked wife Jezebel and she sent a message to Elijah that shook him to the core.
1 Kings 19:1–4 ESV
1 Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” 3 Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
1 Kings 19:1–3 ESV
1 Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” 3 Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.
Doesn’t it seem strange that someone who had just experienced such a powerful sign of God’s presence would in such a short time be fearfully fleeing for his life. Had he already forgotten what God was capable of? I doubt it, but he had also not forgotten what Jezebel was capable of either. She had just recently murdered hundreds of the prophets of the LORD. So in his fear he ran.
Truth is, this sequence is actually not uncommon even today in the life of a Christian. Anyone who has ever experienced a powerful and clear sign of God’s presence can and should expect that our enemy will be after them in the very next moment. Satan doesn’t want any progress that we have made in our faith to stick for very long so when a big step of faith is taken, a big test of that faith is typically right around the corner. But no one is more aware of this than the Lord, and so...

God provides strength for His servant to obey Him ()

1 Kings 19:4 ESV
4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
Elijah ran really far away here and I wanted to give you a picture of what we are talking about here, because Elijah was quite the traveler. [map]
1 Kings 19:4
1 Kings
1 Kings 19:5–8 ESV
5 And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 6 And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. 7 And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” 8 And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.
1 Kings 19:5–8 ESV
5 And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 6 And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. 7 And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” 8 And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.
1 Kings 19:4–8 ESV
4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” 5 And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 6 And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. 7 And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” 8 And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.
I wanted to give you a picture of what we are talking about here, because Elijah was quite the traveler. [map]
[map]
So Elijah is from Tishbe #1.
He left his hometown to prophesy of the drought to the king in the capital city of Samaria. #2
Well the drought is devastating the land so the king keeps looking for Elijah, but he cannot find him because no one has seen him as he is hanging out by the brook being fed by ravens. #3
Until the brook dries up and God sends him to the widow and her son way up in Zarephath #4
Finally God says it is time for the drought to end and he sends Elijah to Mt Carmel #5
Then after the success at the showdown, God sends rain and Elijah runs faster than the kings chariot to the city of Jezreel. #6
It is there that he hears of Jezebels plans to kill him and he runs as far south as He can, leaving his servant in Beersheba #7 and going out to the wilderness,
He sat under the tree and asked God if he could just die. This is how far his spirit has sunk. I have often heard that the after attack is often proportionate to the impact of the Sign of God’s presence in one’s life. That seems to be ringing true in the life of Elijah.
But God is faithful, and he gives Elijah exactly what he needs to follow through in obedience to the LORD again.
So this is not God waking up Elijah for a little middle of the night snack, He is physically exhausted and needs to eat. Especially because he is about to go somewhere that doesn’t even fit on our map. [next map]
1 Kings 19:5–8 ESV
5 And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 6 And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. 7 And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” 8 And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.
So this is not God waking up Elijah for a little middle of the night snack, He is physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted and there is just no way he can keep going. So God shows his presence in Elijah’s life by supernaturally feeding him in order to send him on a very long journey - so long it doesn’t even fit on this map. [next map]
When he arrives at Mount Horeb, otherwise known as Mt. Sinai, the LORD gives him more than supernatural encouragement - He lets him know that...he is not alone.
not did he give his servant the physical strength that he needed, but He also encouraged him through the welcomed news that He was not alone.
Our third point this week is that
and not only does He give us the physical strength that we need but He will also encourage us through other people that are on the journey with us.

God reveals a remnant to His servant to encourage him ()

1 Kings 19:15–17 ESV
15 And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. 16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. 17 And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death.
1 Kings
So in response to Elijah’s request to just die, God instead sends him on another mission. He is to return to Damascus which is up at the top of our map again and on the way he is to do many significant things that will impact the governance of the entire region. But then God gives him these very encouraging words:
1 Kings 19:15–18 ESV
15 And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. 16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. 17 And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. 18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
1 Kings 19:18 ESV
18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
There are few words that are more encouraging to the human soul then the phrase, “You Are Not Alone”. Elijah’s despair was not really rooted in a lack of faith in God, it was rooted in the fact that he believed that he alone was faithful to God. God spoke into that despair with a message of His presence in the life of 7,000 others who remained faithful to the one true God.
Sometimes the best way that God shows up in our lives is through the lives of other people who also are faithfully following Him. This is why we gather together each week, we need each other. We need to experience the miracle of God’s presence in the lives of one another. This is what was so encouraging to Elijah, and it can be an encouragement to you and I too.
Move in the hearts of His people
Provide Strength for His servants to obey
And to encourage us that we are not alone.
Gospel Application
I wonder how God will use this message in our lives this week?
I don’t think that the best take away is that we start calling fire down from heaven more. Remember Jesus rebuked his disciples when they suggested that. Certainly it is good to be reminded to pray in each and every situation, even for thinks like losing track of our car keys, but God might not do the same thing in our experience that he did for my friend. No, I think the take away has to be a little broader than that.
I think that the question of “God’s Presence” in each of our lives can be summed up in one person. The one called “Emmanuel”, which means “God with us”. Jesus’ presence here on earth was God’s presence here on earth. Speaking of Jesus, says:
Jesus’ presence here on earth was the greatest sign of God’s presence.
Colossians 1:15 ESV
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
Hebrews 1:3 ESV
3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
Landing
The ultimate sign of God’s presence is not in fire from heaven but in Jesus Christ, the son of God who came from heaven
God may use various signs of His presence in our lives, but the ultimate sign of God’s presence is in Jesus Christ, the son of God, who came to die in our place and now He sits at the right hand of the Father waiting to bring us home for all eternity. Without that “Sign of God’s Presence” no other supernatural experience on earth would bring us any hope. This sign is true for everyone of us, no matter where we fall on the spectrum. The gift of Jesus is the greatest sign of God’s presence..
Revelation 3:15–17 ESV
15 “ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
Rev 3:
Transfiguration:
Matthew 17:3 ESV
3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.
so let’s pray and prepare our hearts to celebrate Emmanual, God with us by sharing together in communion.
So in response to thishat works universally in the hearts of God’s people to turn them to Him. Let’s pray and prepare our hearts for communion.
Landing
Communion preparation
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