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LEARNING FROM GOD IN THE CAVE

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Learning from God in the cave

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INTRO/CONTEXT

Have you ever been in a cave? People say it’s pretty cool!
The closest I have been in a place like this was on the Pirates of the Caribbean on a Disneyland ride! How fun was that!!??
For two months now, many of us are living in “social isolation”. Some people feel like living in a cave, some feel they are living in a cage! While many struggle to cope with this situation, it’s been certainly a time of reflection and change;

The main question is: “How can we take advantage of this time and get the best out of it?

How to transform “isolation” into God-like transformation? How to adapt “shelter-in-place” into sharing His grace?”

In the text we will study today, the prophet Elijah needed that kind of time. After being a faithful prophet, even called by the king Ahab “the troubler of Israel”, being persecuted and with his life threatened by the evil Jezebel, he had to flee for his life, and ended up hidden in a cave.

Let’s take a look on the text...

MAIN TEXT

1 Kings 19:1–3 NKJV
And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.
1 Kings 19:1–3 NTV
Cuando Acab llegó a su casa, le contó a Jezabel todo lo que Elías había hecho, incluso la manera en que había matado a todos los profetas de Baal. Entonces Jezabel le mandó este mensaje a Elías: «Que los dioses me hieran e incluso me maten si mañana a esta hora yo no te he matado, así como tú los mataste a ellos». Elías tuvo miedo y huyó para salvar su vida. Se fue a Beerseba, una ciudad de Judá, y dejó allí a su sirviente.

So our theme for today will be:

LEARNING FROM GOD IN THE CAVE

APRENDIENDO DE DIOS EN LA CUEVA

There are at least 4 things we can do during this unusual time:

1. TIME TO TRUST IN GOD’S PROVISION

In times of crisis, provision is one of the top concerns;
Survival is a basic instinct of human beings and we see that the Lord Who takes cares of us to the last detail, knows exactly how we feel;

In his walk with the God of Israel, Elijah had already seen the Lord multiplying the provision of the widow in Zarephath, and he himself had been miraculously fed before:

1 Kings 17:6 NKJV
The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.
1 Kings 17:6 RVR95BTO
Los cuervos le traían pan y carne por la mañana y por la tarde, y bebía del arroyo.

And now again, when he was going TOWARDS the cave...

1 Kings 19:5–6 NKJV
Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again.
1 Kings 19:5–6 RVR95BTO
Y echándose debajo del enebro, se quedó dormido; pero un ángel lo tocó, y le dijo: «Levántate y come». Miró y vio a su cabecera una torta cocida sobre las ascuas y una vasija de agua; comió, bebió y volvió a dormirse.
Notice that He didn’t have to prepare the meal, the Lord took care of him, his part was to obey! Remember that the Lord has already miraculously provided for you before!

Transition: God will never fail you: the God Who takes care of the birds and flowers will provide for you!

2. TIME TO LISTEN TO THE VOICE OF GOD

Let’s remember that this is the same prophet very used to listening to God, this is the the man quoted in the Epistle of James who would pray and the Lord would shut the heavens for 3 1/2 years without rain, this is the man that would ask God and fire would come down from heaven, he would pray and dead people would come to life!

But here, the same Elijah needed to hear the voice of God again! And one again, the Lord showed up!!

1 Kings 19:11–12 NKJV
Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
1 Kings 19:11–12 RVR95BTO
Jehová le dijo: —Sal fuera y ponte en el monte delante de Jehová. En ese momento pasaba Jehová, y un viento grande y poderoso rompía los montes y quebraba las peñas delante de Jehová; pero Jehová no estaba en el viento. Tras el viento hubo un terremoto; pero Jehová no estaba en el terremoto. Tras el terremoto hubo un fuego; pero Jehová no estaba en el fuego. Y tras el fuego se escuchó un silbo apacible y delicado.

The Lord is always speaking, He’s always talking to us. Nevertheless, we must remember that we cannot put the way the Lord will speak to us in a box. He is Sovereign, and He can communicate in a variety of ways. We have to learn how to tune in and listen.

He may come in a a. strong wind, b. earthquake, c. fire or d. whisper. How is God speaking to you now?

Transition: I don’t know in which way the Lord will speak with you in this particular season, but somehow, He will communicate something new, if we pay attention;

3. TIME TO REST AND GET READY FOR A NEW JOURNEY

Every time God speaks, it’s for a reason. The voice of God will always have a purpose, His message will never come back empty.

Elijah was tired of running for his life. But while he was thinking that his journey had ended, when he even asked to die... the Lord had other plans!

1 Kings 19:4 NKJV
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”
1 Kings 19:4 RVR95BTO
Luego de caminar todo un día por el desierto, fue a sentarse debajo de un enebro. Entonces se deseó la muerte y dijo: «Basta ya, Jehová, quítame la vida, pues no soy yo mejor que mis padres».

Meanwhile, observe the plans the Lord had...

1 Kings 19:6–7 NKJV
Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.”
1 Kings 19:6–7 RVR95BTO
Miró y vio a su cabecera una torta cocida sobre las ascuas y una vasija de agua; comió, bebió y volvió a dormirse. Regresó el ángel de Jehová por segunda vez, lo tocó y le dijo: «Levántate y come, porque largo camino te resta».
. Elijah would have to understand that many things were yet to come, he was not done!!
. The Bible shows that after resting and eating, Elijah traveled 40 days and 40 nights to fulfill the will of the Lord in his life.

Transition: COVID 19 is not the end of your journey. You have much to do yet!!

And the last thing we learn here is:

4. TIME TO RETHINK OUR CONCEPTS

We can only change something in our lives if that change came first through our mind;
Sometimes we are so stubborn with something that we may spend our whole lives mistaken or in error;

In that cave Elijah realized that what he thought was true, it was completely WRONG!

1 Kings 19:14 NKJV
And he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”
1 Kings 19:14 RVR95BTO
Él respondió: —He sentido un vivo celo por Jehová, Dios de los ejércitos; porque los hijos de Israel han dejado tu pacto, han derribado tus altares y han matado a espada a tus profetas. Solo yo he quedado y me buscan para quitarme la vida.

Observe the Lord’s answer:

1 Kings 19:18 NKJV
Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
1 Kings 19:18 NTV
Sin embargo, preservaré a otros siete mil en Israel, ¡quienes nunca se han inclinado ante Baal ni lo han besado!

The same happened with the farmer in Luke 12 and also with Hagar (they thought one thing…)

Caves may be a place to rethink our values and convictions; maybe it’s a way the Lord will use to lead us into reevaluating how you have been in relationship with God, your family, the way you see your church, the way you relate with people and even the way you see your job...
The fact is that the ways of the Lord are much higher; we must be humble to recognize that sometimes our vision is completely blurry and not aligned with what the Lord has for us.

Transition: Elijah was thinking in a certain way and the Lord showed him he was completely mistaken, his next mission was still to come, and it was nothing less than TO ANOINT 2 KINGS!

FINAL APPLICATIONS

1. We cannot deny or downplay the soberness of the situation we are living, and we don’t, but at the same time, we cannot lose focus about the God we serve; the Coronavirus is NOT on the throne, it is NOT in control, the Lord is!! COVID 19 DOES NOT have the final word, the Lord has!

2. Take this opportunity to make the most of this time: 1. trust that the Lord will always provide for you, 2. understand that He will continue speaking to you in different ways, 3. He will lead you into a new journey, and 4. He will show you if your concepts need to be changed.

3. Maybe the most important thing that happened to Elijah in this passage is that the Lord came to him!:

1 Kings 19:9 NKJV
And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
1 Kings 19:9 RVR95BTO
Allí se metió en una cueva, donde pasó la noche. Llegó a él palabra de Jehová, el cual le dijo: —¿Qué haces aquí, Elías?

It’s our gracious Lord Who always takes the first step! Let the Word of the Lord come to you in these “times of cave”, let it teach you, permit this time to be used by the Lord Almighty to make you a better servant, and a better person.

4. Finally, it’s been said that things will never be the same after this pandemic, and that we will start living a “new normal”; that might be true somehow, but for us, people of God, normality cannot be dictated by “the latest trend”, we as Christians have our values completely different of this world, first, this is not our home; second, for us, suffering means eternal weight of glory, loosing means gain, subtracting means more, and giving away means multiplication.

May the Lord lead you as you walk away from your cave, on His time, into a beautiful and brand new season of blessings and fulfillment!

Let’s pray.

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