Sunday, 10th July 2022
Sister Emily Huang
1. Obey the Guidance of God
I Kings 19:1-8 says, ‘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. 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!” 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. 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.” So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.’
In the previous chapter, Elijah defeated 450 false prophets by performing the miracle of fire from heaven. God loved the Israelites and He allowed the miracles to happen so King Ahab would repent and return. But Ahab did not see the love of God, instead, he told his wife Jezebel about what Elijah had done to the false prophets, and made Jezebel very angry. Jezebel wanted to kill Elijah, and Elijah was discouraged. He tried so much to teach and to help Ahab, but at the end, not only Ahab and Jezebel did not appreciate him, but they also wanted to kill him. A lot of time, we also feel the same way as Elijah, we try so much to help people, but nothing seems to change. People still don’t listen to the teaching and don’t trust God.
Elijah lost his hope and he ran away, yet God continued to care for him by providing him with food and drink. God has also been very patient with us, there may be times we feel weak and discouraged, but God never gives up on us. Therefore we must also not give up on the people, who God has brought to us. Elijah walked for 40 days and nights, finally he got to Horeb, which is also called Mount Sinai. Mount Sinai was where God made the covenant with the people of Israel in Moses’ time, it was the place Moses prayed to God for 40 days and nights.
2. Humble and Let God Mold
I Kings 19:9-12 says, ‘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?” So he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for 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.” 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.’
Elijah did not see how God has sustained him along the way, he was in the mountain, where Moses experienced God, but instead of praying and seeking God, Elijah hid in a cave and still tried to run away from God. Then God revealed to him and spoke to him, so Elijah complained to God about everything. He felt all his hard work was done in vain, and he blamed God for his situation. We are also very easy to complain about our situation, complain about the people that come against us, and fail to see the love and providence of God for us.
When Elijah was in the cave, there was a strong wind, an earthquake, and a fire, but God was not in there. Often we would want God to talk to us with signs and wonders, in our imagination, God’s presence will bring great physical phenomenon. But God actually revealed to Elijah in the still small voice, and even after Elijah finally heard God, he continued to complain. God heard Elijah’s complains and spoke to Elijah to his spirit. God did not use the words Elijah wanted to hear, He did not pamper Elijah, but to bring him the truth.
I Kings 19:13-18, ‘So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 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.” Then the Lord said to him: “Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. It shall be that whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu will kill; and whoever escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha will kill. Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”‘
At the time, people sought Baal so their desires would be fulfilled. But there were still seven thousand in Israel, who chose not to bow to Baal and trusted in God. The world would give us many good things, which seem to fulfill what we desire in our hearts, but as the children of God, we know that it’s more important to seek the Will of God. Not only we know the Word of God and follow the Will of God, but we must also pass on the Will of God and the Word of God to our future generations. This is also why God wanted Elijah to anoint Elisha, so the teaching can be passed on. Finally Elijah humbled himself and submitted to God, committed in God’s vision and received the eternal glory from Heaven.
3. Be Committed and Receive Glory
I Kings 19:19-21, ‘So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, “Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen’s equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant.’
Elijah’s life was changed, when he fully committed to God’s vision for him, he was no longer bitter or jealous, instead, he knew what he had to do for God. He anointed the kings and he anointed Elisha. He took off his mantle, which represented his honuorable identity, and put it on Elisha. We come to know that later on, Elijah was taken to Heaven in the fire chariot, and Elisha continued his mission to speak the truth to King Ahab.
II Kings 2:11-12, ‘Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces.’ Elijah was committed to the vision of passing on the Word of God and the Will of God to the next generation. God never gave up on Elijah and gave him glory.
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon (Senior Pastor)
Before Jesus went on the cross, the disciples followed Jesus, they lived with Him and ate with Him, but their hearts were never with Him. The disciples still had their own agenda, and they still held onto the things of this world. But after Jesus died and resurrected, the disciples completed changed. They were willing to give up everything, waited patiently in the Upper Room for the Holy Spirit. Do we really know God? Have we really experienced God? Why are we here? The Holy Spirit is asking us the same thing He asked Elijah in the cave, “what are you doing here?” God is using many ways to let us know, He is the ‘I Am Who I Am’ God. He is the God yesterday, today and forever. But do we really know it?
What are we doing here? God is Powerful and Almighty, God is Merciful and Righteous, so let us leave the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and enter the Tree of Life, which is the Upper Room. When we enter the Upper Room, there is no longer I, but Jesus lives in us. This is not a place of waiting to be healed or delivered, but a place to let go.