Nov 22, 2020 | Lee Becknell
What every Christian should know about living in a society that has rejected God. Part 4
Text: 1 Kings 18:19-40
One day three preachers sat discussing the best positions for prayer while a telephone repairman worked nearby. One of the preachers said, “Kneeling is definitely best and most effective position for prayer.” “Not so,” another preacher contended, “I get the best results in prayer by standing with my hands outstretched toward Heaven.” “You’re both wrong,” the third preacher insisted, “The most effective prayer position is lying prostrate, face down on the floor.” The telephone repairman who had been listening decided to interject his opinion, “Excuse me, fellas, but the best praying I ever did was hanging upside down from a telephone pole.”
* Although the best position for effective prayer may be debatable, I think we all can agree that prayer is important and that prayer is powerful.
Title: “What every Christian should know about living in a society that has rejected God.” Part 4
Theme: “Ahab unwittingly set the stage for one of the most dramatic acts in the history of Israel--a cosmic contest between good and evil, truth and falsehood. A fight always draws a crowd, and Ahab encourages the nation to come and watch. Today, we will be reminded that the cosmic contest between good and evil is still playing out to this day. Prayer is our connection to God Almighty.”
* This morning, I would like to share with you the following lessons.
- A society who has rejected God is divided and confused.
1Kings 18:19-20, “Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table.” 20 So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. 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.”
* The prophet paints a picture of the absurdity of their present condition. They are staggering back and forth. The word translated “waver” is used of a cripple (KJV – “halt”--a man whose legs are entirely out of joint). He can’t walk straight, so he first staggers.
* "How long will you limp between opinions?" The saddest person in the world is the man who has too much of God to enjoy the world, but too much of the world to enjoy the pleasures of God.
James 1:5-7, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
* POLYTHEISM. They weren’t rejecting Baal or Jehovah wholly; but as polytheists, they believed that both Gods might be worshiped, and each deity could have a share in their hearts. To this idea Elijah answered, “No!”
Deuteronomy 4:24, “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”
* 2020 is going to go down in the history books for a lot of things. It will of course be the year of the Great Pandemic commonly called Covid-19. It is also going to be known as the year of shortages. There have been all kinds of shortages including: Toilet Paper, painkillers, sedatives, Lysol, garlic, rice, pasta, Clorox, meat, face masks, gloves and coins.
* What makes me even sadder is the shortages I have seen in our Church. Members no longer attend (young and healthy members refuse to attend), some no longer tithe. Corvid-19 kills tithers, why is no one talking about these statics? Lack of interest or concern for the House of God.
* And of course if you have watched the news there has been a shortage of civility and good old common sense and moral values. We have found out a lot about ourselves over the last few months. Some things we have liked and some things we have not liked. Hopefully, in the end it will lead to us to being a better people and becoming a better nation.
- A society that has rejected God needs to draw near to God’s servant.
1Kings 18:23-24, “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.”
* Beloved, Elijah spoke to the hearts of the people. He got them involved in what was going on.
1Kings 18:30-34, “Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down. 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.”
* Elijah teaches them how to rebuild God’s altar (verse 30).
* Side note: Even Baal had an altar. An altar is a place of prayer or a place of worship of God or Satan. Those who serve Satanic altars have power to control those who live near them - they are responsible for controlling bars, prostitutions, drugs, divorces, sickness and all other evil things in that area.
1 Timothy 4:1, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,”
* Elijah also reminds the people of who they are, Israel sons of Jacob (verse 31). He has the people pour on precious water not once but three times (verses 33-34).
* The Bible doesn't specifically tell us where the water came from that Elijah used to douse the wood and the offering, but we can make some educated guesses based on what we see in scripture.
* Mt Carmel Is no more than 15 - 20 miles from the Mediterranean Sea and it was possible while the false prophets were preparing their alter Elijah had water brought up the mountain from the sea. The water from the sea contained Salt, which was required for the offering presented on the Alter by Elijah, which was consumed by the all-consuming fire of God.
* If you have been in the military you will understand all the logistic needed to move people. We always had a Water Buffalo! King Ahab and the prophets would have only the best.
Yahweh is the God of water. He is also the God of the new creation of the soul - born again.
John 3:5, “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
- A society who has rejected God needs to learn how to pray.
1Kings 18:35-39, “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.” Repeat this with me X2!
* Elijah’s prayer is rather simple. It is not a prayer condemning anyone. It is a prayer inviting all Israel back to the LORD. It is a prayer for God’s grace and mercy. It is a prayer asking Heaven to Invade Earth. It is a prayer of salvation.
* Jesus told us in Matthew 18:19-20, Jesus said: “Again, truly I tell you, if two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.”
* Just let those words of promise sink in. When we pray together in Jesus name, heaven takes note. When we pray together in Jesus name, God the Father listens. And God not only listens, our prayers impact the actions of God.
* I might ask the church in 2020; “What’s it going to take to get you to seek the Lord with all your hearts? Isn’t it bad enough yet? A worldwide disease like one of the plagues of Revelation has struck us. Economic collapse in many countries. Riots are in the cities, political turmoil and racial hatred abounds. Yet God's people are missing in action.
* “Prayer is a cry of distress, a demand for help, a hymn of love. Dr. Alexis Carrel, French Surgeon
On a cold Sunday afternoon, a few years ago, David Miller, age thirteen and his ten-year-old brother, Nicholas, decided to go sledding on a hill just a short distance from their home in South Sioux City, Nebraska. The boys and their friends were having a wonderful time, and then disaster struck. Whizzing downhill, David’s sled hit a bump. “Oh no!” he shouted as he tried to brake. “My glasses just flew off!” The boys looked all day and as dust approached, they trudged home and reported the loss to their father, Dave. Dave is something of an optimist. A deacon in his church. Although the sun was already down, he thought he and the boys should look again. Surely the glasses would turn up. The three returned to the hill but by this time David no longer remembered which trail he had been sledding on. Eventually, Dave decided to come back in the morning and look again. The next morning the family awakened to the worst of all scenarios. Two inches of new snow had fallen during the night. He took a rake and metal detector and went back to the hill. Before starting his painstaking task, he remembered to check the batteries in the metal detector. They were dead. How could that be? He had just replaced them this morning. Laying down the useless machine he began to rake. Inch by painstaking inch he worked his way up the first sled trail. People driving by gave him strange looks. He started on the second trail, but he wasn’t getting anywhere. Suddenly Dave heard a little voice inside him. “Did you ever think to pray?” the voice gently said. “Did you ever consider asking God to find the glasses?” Dave felt humbled and embarrassed all at the same time. He a deacon at his church, had been so headstrong, so in charge, that he hadn’t even thought to begin at the beginning! Dave knelt down in the snow, folded his hands, and closed his eyes. “God, I’m sorry that I forgot about you,” he whispered. “I will try never to do that again. Please forgive me now and please find my son's glasses.” He stayed silent a moment longer and then opened his eyes. In front of him lay David’s glasses. Despite the snowfall, they were in plain view and in perfect condition. They looked, Dave realized, as if they had been waiting to be found. “I have always believed in miracles, but so often they seemed to happen to someone else,” Dave says. “The glasses reminded me that God wants to be involved in every part of our lives. No problems is too small or too big for God.”