But, What Does God Say? – Ps Bruce Claridge
We live in a world bombarding us continually with information, 24-hour news, opinions, new ideas, conspiracy theories, fear filled alarmist headlines, etc. We have daily Covid virus updates, multiple news channels, armchair experts giving their opinions on everything from relationship keys to world affairs and even end time theories.
Never has so much been accepted as truth because so called experts have spoken authoritatively on a particular subject. From global warming to Government cover ups, so called experts have had our attention.
Whatever your philosophical or political stance, it gets pummelled or supported by fresh information and ideas.
This morning I want one thing to ring in your ears long after you have forgotten the details of this message, amidst all the noise, it is this question: “But, What Does God Say?”
1 Kings 18: 1-45 (parts of the story of Elijah)
Elijah, a great prophet of the Lord, faced massive life challenges that would dwarf some of the things facing us today. Severe famine, a brutal and autocratic King, satanic religions deceiving God’s people and a country in such a bad state generally that here currently we look like our national life is pretty good even with Covid and other challenges.
Into this situation God sends him. After a long time, God tells him to ”Go to this barbaric King, and I will send rain”. Elijah goes into certain death or so it would seem if he listened to any other voice than God’s.
Elijah even asks an undercover Godly official called Obadiah to help him and go to the King and tell him something that may get this man killed.
Elijah’s whereabouts! (vs 14-16) Elijah was so confident in His God that he presented a challenge to the prophets of Baal which saw him totally outnumbered, but what I love here is that Elijah called the shots! The servant of God, God’s prophet, set up the challenge. He was confident in God to come through (vs 19-39). Baal was supposed to be the god that controlled storms and rain!!! Surely his prophets could have sorted out this drought by now!
In verse 36 Elijah says “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command”. He then follows this up with vs 38 and says “Answer me Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again” – then the fire of the Lord fell!
Elijah proclaimed to Ahab “Get ready for drought breaking rain”. It took a while, but the rain came (vs 41-46).
Throughout this encounter with drought, a religious challenge to truth and a brutal ungodly King, Elijah maintained his stance of unwavering faith by declaring to both himself and everyone around him “But, what does God say?”. Not what does the government say, or what does current thinking say or what do my friends say, but what does God say?
It didn’t happen straight away (vs 42-46), but what God said happened!
Perhaps you are in that waiting time. Remember what God said happened!
What does Elijah teach us today? (Romans 5:1-5)
We are not exempt from tough situations personally, regionally or nationally. Life tragedies, Covid pandemics, financial challenges, unfulfilled dreams, seasons of doubt, persecution for our faith and so the list goes on. A very disillusioned Elijah was in such a place. The most wicked rulers Israel had ever known were out to kill him.
There was a three-year drought and his people were starting to follow after other gods. That would make any man of God question their faith. Question their call! But deep-down Elijah knew that God was still God and still sovereign. This is what we must know today.
Read the Book of Revelation, notice that in the end “We win” ……This is what God says!! God’s plan will be fulfilled.
To know that God expects us to be faith ready regardless of the times we are in. Covid restrictions are not a sabbatical. Not a time to take a spiritual break. No Church together is not an excuse. Tough times are times to hear what God has to say.
Even in this situation God tells Elijah to go to the man who is trying to kill him. A major faith challenge! This assignment didn’t come after a faith rousing conference or a faith filled message from a great preacher, but in the “long time” after his precious miracle when a young boy was raised to life.
A long time since you heard God speak or saw God move is not an excuse (vs 1) neither is the enormity of the directive from God. We are called to be “instant in season and out of season” – to be faith ready even in times of doubt!
To know that He may ask us to challenge other believers to step out in faith with us (the Obadiahs in our life). Isolation does not mean separation from other believers – connections must be intentional. You never know how many Obadiahs are prepared to join you until you ask.
God is a God of community (listen to the recent series on The Church). There are Obadiahs in your life just waiting to be asked to join your faith venture. e.g. SCA chaplains and helpers who have come on board, like my good friend Geoff Scown who now stands in front of grieving sports communities and walks them through their grief.
Geoff will say that if I hadn’t asked him to join my particular faith venture with SCA he would never have realised the amazing gift of compassion on his life!! Who is waiting for you to challenge them to join you as you serve God?
This is what we do when we challenge people to join us in seeing our city transformed. It’s called intentional discipleship. I believe that right now God is placing on your heart people to join you in serving God, people to step out in faith with you (PRAY).
To know that God is a God of Victory (Romans 8:18, 28, 37) Vs 18 – “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will revealed in us”. Our eternal perspective. Vs 28- “In all things God is working for your good” (even if it doesn’t look that way). Our present view Vs 37 “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us”. Our ongoing triumphant view.
But what does God say? He says filter every voice, every philosophy, every new idea through the filter of the truth of My Word. Take every thought captive to His Word. Let the Christian world view be your world view, not your favourite celebrity or politician’s world view and certainly not the world view of the loudest voice!
Elijah was not immune from feelings of inadequacy, even after this triumph of Chapter 38. The next chapter finds him running away in fear from Jezebel and wanting to die, he began to hear other voices, voices of defeat, of fear and torment. This reminds us to continually stay tuned into God’s voice through his Word and His Spirit.
What voice do you need to tune out this morning? Be specific, make a decision to tune out!
What does God say? Do you need to hear his voice of salvation?
Do you need to hear His voice of Faith?
Do you need to hear His voice of comfort and healing? What is God saying to you today?
I want to pray in three ways as we finish.
To pray for those who are hearing the “come home” voice of God (Salvation).
To pray for those who are hearing the voice of God as a call to action.
To pray for those who need to hear the voice of a God of comfort.
Suggestions for discussion
- Do you find it hard to remind yourself to ask what does God say about certain things in your life?
- Are you faith-ready for any situation that may happen in your life?
- Are you ready to challenge other believers to step out in faith with you?