- Sermon Notes
Know Where to Hide
1 Kings 19:1-18
Intro – No, over there!
This morning we are going to look at a section in the life of Elijah the Prophet, who, though he had more than enough reason to know that the Lord was his true hiding place, decided to run and hide in a wilderness of his choosing for refuge. In whatever you face there is choice to make. In the Bible we see many examples that reveal the Lord as the one we can run to, as a refuge, strength, hiding place, a strong tower, the place to run to and find safety from whatever you face (Prov. 18:10).
Psalm 32:7, You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 119:114, You are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Your word.
Though the Bible points us toward the Lord, the question comes, where do you run when you need shelter, refuge and strength?In your life, no matter what you face, there is One you can run to, One in whose shelter you can hide. It is a powerful truth, and a resounding theme in Scripture.
As we pick up in 1 Kings 19, we know that Elijah had seen the Lord move powerfully, however, those around him did not respond to God’s power the way he had hoped. It was then that he fled into the wilderness, weighted down by the worries of this world. After running away, asks the Lord to take his life.
At this time, the northern kingdom of Israel was being led by King Ahab. Scripture tells us that Ahab did more evil in the sight of the Lord than any before him. He married a wicked woman in Jezebel and this couple led the nation to follow after the false gods of Baal and Ashtoreth.
When Elijah came on the scene, he went to Ahab and declared that there would be no rain in Israel until he gave the word. Israel suffered a terrible drought for 3 ½ years (Luke 4:25) until Elijah came to King Ahab and directed him to bring 450 prophets of Baal to Mt. Carmel and have all the people of Israel there as well. Elijah then issued a challenge that both Baal and Jehovah would be called upon to answer by fire and consume the sacrifice there on that mountain. Whichever God answered by fire, he is God.
Only Jehovah answered by fire that day and immediately, the prophets of Baal were seized and destroyed. This is where we will pick up the story.
Read: 1 Kings 19:1-18
After the prophets of Baal were destroyed, Jezebel found out and sent word to Elijah that she was going to take him out by the next day at the same time. Despite the power of the Lord he had just seen, despite the victory over the prophets of Baal, here we see Elijah running from this looming threat. He knew who his God was, yet, fear overwhelmed him and he ran for his life.
Psalm 46:1, God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
No matter what you are facing this morning, I want to remind you that the Lord is the One you can run to, the place you can hide. To hide in Him means that in His presence and will is the safest place for you to remain.
Charles Spurgeon: A man who is surrounded by foes does not stand still, see a hiding place, and say, “Yes, I can see there is a hiding place there.” Rather, he runs to it.
So too, the Bible points us to a hiding place, not for observation, but for personal realization in the midst of what you face. If you know where to hide, you’ll know where to run. Don’t focus on the worries of this world, but on heading into the will of the Father…It is there that your battles will be won.
- Stick to Who is Working
1 Kings 19:1-4
- After the Lord answered by fire and consumed the sacrifice, rain was brought upon the land. It had been 3 ½ years since rain had fallen. Surely Elijah was seeing God’s hand at work.
- When King Ahab told his wife Jezebel all that had happened, she became furious. She was determined to take Elijah out, and sent word that she was going to take his life.
- Though he had just seen incredible victory in front of 450 prophets of Baal, fear overwhelmed Elijah and he decided to respond to the threat, rather than the Lord.
- Jezebel warned Elijah that if she didn’t take his life within the next day, her gods would take her life like the prophets of Baal, or even worse.
- Ahab and Jezebel had invested a great deal of time and money into these prophets of Baal, but now they are all gone. No doubt she was upset, and after this threat Elijah ran away to hide, not in the arms of the Father, but into the wilderness.
Psalm 94:19, When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.
- A wilderness is a dry, barren, and bleak place. Little grows there, it is the opposite of fruitfulness, yet, at some point in life, it seems everyone finds themselves in a spiritual desert.
- Many great leaders in the Bible found themselves there for significant periods. Abraham, David, Moses, Joshua, John the Baptist, Jesus, and Elijah was there more than once (1 Kings 17:3; 19:3-4).
- Earlier, in Kings chapter 17, we see Elijah, going to Ahab, telling him that there was going to be no dew or rain for the next few years, except by his word.
- This was a bold word given to Baal worshipping King Ahab, not only because of the word itself, but, those who worshipped Baal believed he was the god who brought the rains and harvests.
- Rebellion and heresy were at an all-time high and Ahab was shocked to hear this.
- The Lord had told Elijah to go away from there and turn eastward, to hide by himself and he would be provided for.
- He wanted him to hide away because Ahab and company would take his life if they saw him. It wasn’t yet time for the Lord to bring rain. He was protecting Elijah.
- The Lord provided food and shelter to Elijah for 3 ½ years while he was hiding. At the end of this period, the Lord sent him to go and meet Ahab again.
- Now fast forward to this situation, again a bold proclamation and move of God, incredible and miraculous.
- Elijah, hears a threat and fled into the wilderness again, but not because the Lord told him to, rather, because he was afraid.
- As I read this story, I can’t help but wonder if he ran again because it was what worked previously.
- Looking to what had worked, rather than who was working.
- Often, we can get focused on a formula, rather than the direction needed that day.
|Illus. Try this! Psalm 50:15, Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.
Jeremiah 33:3, Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
Proverbs 2:6-7, The Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity.
James 1:5, If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
- His answer will be better than your prayer
Kings 19:4, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.”
- Wanting to be alone, Elijah left his servant and went a day’s journey into the wilderness. It was there that he sat down and prayed, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.”
- Elijah thought it would be better to die at God’s hand than Jezebel’s.
- The Lord had a different and better plan. You can almost hear God say, “This is the best you can come up with Elijah?”
- First, God gives him rest. We really need to understand how important rest is to our spiritual victory. When you are burnt out and worn down, your perspective changes.
- Then, the Lord gives him food that will allow Elijah to go on a 40-day journey to Mount Horeb, also known as Mount Sinai.
- The Lord had more in store for Elijah. It would be on this mountain that God would reveal his plan for him.
1 Corinthians 2:9, What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived -the things God has prepared for those who love Him. (NIV)
- While the Lord had sustained Elijah through his 40-day journey, this desert journey was not ultimately where the Lord wanted Elijah.
- When Elijah reached Mt. Horeb (Sinai), he lodged there in a cave.
- It seems that he had found safety in the cave and would lodge there to stay away from the looming threat. He had previously waited over 3 years, however, the Lord was not planning for Elijah to remain in a cave for 3 years, He was drawing Him to the place where he could hear him most clearly.
- Seek His still small voice
1 Kings 19:9-10
- As Elijah lodged in a cave on Mt. Sinai, the Lord would speak differently that what Elijah would think or expect.
- God called out to Elijah there in that cave and asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” It was time for Elijah to get this off his chest.
- “I have been very zealous… and I alone am left; and now they seek my life to take it away.”
- Elijah was feeling the weight of the world, all alone, on an island. They were going to take his life and he needed to help himself by hiding in a cave and remaining alone.
- Elijah had stopped focusing on the adequacy of God and instead was focusing on the inadequacy of Elijah.
Illus. – When the disciples were asked to feed the 5,000 that Jesus was teaching, they responded, “We have only five loaves and two fish; that is not enough…send them home.” Jesus said, bring them to me.
Psalm 121:1-2, I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
- The Lord then proceeded to show Elijah the way out, pointing him toward his destiny in a still, small voice.
1 Kings 19:11-13
- Elijah had seen the terrible condition of Israel and wanted the Lord to shake the earth with an obvious work of His power. “The fire and rain was great, Lord, keep them coming!”
- He wanted the Lord to bring a great demonstration of His power, but the Lord revealed to Elijah just how he was moving. In a still small voice.
Illus. – Perhaps Elijah wanted the burning bush, the 10 Commandments 2.0. God chose His still small voice. One step, one day at a time.
- The Lord had 7,000 in Israel who had not bowed the knee to Baal. God was speaking to their hearts in a still small voice, and there were some who were listening.
- Pursue His purpose in your position
- My way of “showing them” is not the way of the Lord. Nor are my plans and solutions.
- The Lord reminded Elijah that he was not alone. He did this by pointing him towards his calling, towards his purpose.
- He says, Elijah, you have work to do. You need to anoint two kings and raise up your replacement.
- I didn’t bring you this far for you to hide in a cave. You will anoint and raise up the next generation.
Matthew 5:15, Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house.
When you think you’ve nowhere to run…Know where to hide. A promise, hope and future He alone will provide!
Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came 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 juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.” He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, “Arise, eat.” Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks 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. After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Then he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” The Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram; and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. It shall come about, the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall put to death. Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”