I hope you are enjoying the online blog. I trust that having this material online is giving you the flexibility to study the word whenever your busy schedule allows. I am glad it is available for you to read and re-read as many times as you like. If you find it beneficial, please recommend it to your friends and family.
For a couple of weeks now, I have been in prayer regarding a name for this blog. The leadership of the church supported this online venture, someone else in the church made it technically possible, and the members of the congregation are paying for it. Therefore, I did not feel good about naming it “Pat’s blog”. It is an outreach of the entire Kipton Community Church.
As I was praying, God led me to 1 Kings 18-19. I am sure you remember this exciting passage, but maybe it’s been a while since you looked at it, so I encourage you to stop and take a few minutes to read it.
Did you take a few minutes to read it? Do you remember the situation?
Here are the highlights: Israel is being ruled by Ahab and his wife Jezebel, two of the most wicked people on the planet. Under their rule, the northern kingdom of Israel has forsaken God and is serving Baal. But God wants his people to return to him, and he has a plan to get their attention. The plan involves a three year drought.
In the third year, God sends Elijah to speak to Ahab. He tells Ahab to summon the 450 prophets of Baal, the 400 prophets of Asherah and all the Israelites to the top of Mount Carmel. Once there, Elijah offers a proposal: The prophets of Baal are to be given a bull, which they will sacrifice and call upon their god. Elijah, as a representative of Yahweh, will also be given a bull to sacrifice to the Lord. The God that answered by fire would prove himself to be true, and that would be the God the people were to follow.
Baal’s servants go first. They sacrifice the bull and cry out to their god from morning until noon, but nothing happens.
Next up is Elijah. He repairs the altar of the Lord, sacrifices the bull and lays it on the wood. Next, he digs a trench around the altar and copious amounts of water are poured on top of the whole thing. All of it is completely soaked – the bull, the wood and the stones. The trench itself is full of water. Then he calls upon God. Immediately, fire falls from heaven and consumes the sacrifice, the wood, the water and even the stones of the altar. What an amazing miraculous display of God’s power!
Immediately, Elijah calls upon the people to seize and slay the false prophets. Once this is accomplished, Elijah tells Ahab that rain is coming. While Ahab feasts, Elijah goes to the top of Mount Carmel and prays. Eventually a cloud the size of a man’s hand is visible.
Soon, there was a great rain storm. (Once the people had returned to God, he was able to pour out his showers of blessing upon them).
Afterwards, Ahab tells Jezebel what Elijah had done (which is a whole study in and of itself, because Elijah didn’t do any of that stuff… God did. Seems that Ahab glossed over that point, possibly for the purpose of making Jezebel angry and inciting her to kill Elijah). At any rate, she sends a threatening message to Elijah in verse 2 of chapter 19 swearing to kill him within 24 hours.
At that point, fearing for his life, Elijah runs away. He goes south, heading for Mount Horeb (aka Mount Sinai, where Moses got the 10 commandments). On the way, he stops, exhausted and discouraged.
1 Kings 19:4 – But he himself…came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying “it is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers”.
Physically speaking, where is Elijah at this point? He left Mount Carmel and headed south. Soon he will wind up on Mount Horeb (Sinai), so we could say that he is between mountain tops. He is in a low place; a valley if you will.
Spiritually speaking, ‘mountain top’ experiences are when we do something mighty for the kingdom of heaven; we have won a battle for the Lord. But sometimes, in between great victories, we find ourselves in a low place, a place of fear or doubt. This is exactly what happened to Elijah. We see from verse 4 that he is discouraged, weary and afraid.
Satan is famous for attacking God’s people in the valleys, particularly on the heels of a victory. Examine your own life – I am sure you can think of an instance from your own experience that mirrors that of Elijah. Sometimes, even though you serve God, you get weary. Sometimes, like the great prophet Elijah, you get discouraged and you feel ‘it is enough’ or ‘I am no better than my fathers(ancestors)’.
The attack usually hits you when you least expect it. Maybe you wake up in the middle of the night and your problems seem overwhelming. Maybe you are just driving down the street and a sense of despair hits you like a tidal wave; despite the fact that God has been faithful to you in the past, you are afraid for the present or the future.
The attack on Elijah’s faith reached its peak when he was alone in the wilderness. There were no believers around to encourage him. There were no restaurants where he could get some much needed food. There was no fire for warmth or light. He was very much alone with no help. But just then, God sent an angel, a messenger, to refresh and strengthen Elijah.
1 Kings 19:5-6 – And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat”. And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again.
Notice that in the midst of his lowest point, when he was the most tired and discouraged, God sent assistance to Elijah. He gave him nourishment and comfort in the form of bread, water, light and warmth/fire. Also, God had an angel watch over Elijah as he rested.
In the scriptures, bread is symbolic of Jesus, who is the word.
John 6:35 – Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger and he that believes on me shall never thirst”.
John 6:51 – I am the living bread which came down from heaven…
John 1:1, 14 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
So, bread is symbolic of both Jesus and the word of God.
Water is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
John 7:37-39 – On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’”. Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
The same truths are confirmed with light and warmth/fire.
Psalms 119:105 – Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto may path.
Acts 2:3-4 – And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…
So, we can see that God came to Elijah in his darkest hour with the word and with the Holy Spirit, both of which brought him encouragement, relief and strength.
God wants to use this blog to do the same for you. Through these messages, God is speaking his word, anointed with the Holy Spirit, to bring you encouragement, relief and strength for your spiritual journey. Let’s face it – Satan rarely attacks you on Sunday morning on your way to church because he knows it would be useless. As soon as you are in the company of other believers and hear the word, his attack is repelled. Rather, he attacks you in the night hours or when you are alone. During those times, I trust this blog will comfort and strengthen you, just like that bread did to Elijah.
1 Kings 19: 7 – And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you”.
I believe there are seasons in your life when one service on Sunday morning is just not enough. Sometimes, like Elijah, you need a second helping. Even though you read the word, I believe that reading the word and studying it are two separate things. By faith, I believe this bible study blog will be your second helping of spiritual nourishment. I believe it will be like a life giving rain shower in a season of drought.
I Kings 19:8 – And he [Elijah] arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.
The food that God gave Elijah nourished him until he came to mount Horeb, the place of God’s presence. Here he heard God’s voice and received instructions for the remainder of his journey.
I believe this blog will spiritually nourish you, equipping you with the Word of Truth, until your own journey is complete.
So, based on 1 Kings, this blog is hereby named:
- S = Second
- H = Helpings
- O = of the
- W = Word for
- E = Encouragement
- R = Relief and
- S = Strength
I invite you to step into the SHOWERS of blessing that God has prepared for you in the midst of your dry seasons.
And I leave you with this encouraging word from our heavenly Father:
Jeremiah 1:12 – Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it”.