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Tuesday
August 21st, 2018
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gary damronMY PERSPECTIVE, Gary Damron

 

This week we’ve been on vacation with different configurations of children and grandchildren. Most families in that setting learn that some “free time” is valuable, allowing each some breathing room. 

On Sunday we heard a sermon on Elijah, one of the “Heroes of Faith” in the Old Testament. Elijah served as a prophet during the reign of Ahab and Jezebel, who’d forsaken worship of the one true God and turned their people to local fertility gods, Baal and Asherah. 

Reading the book of 1 Kings shows a succession of kings and leaders who caused Israel to vacillate in its faith. An introduction to this monarch reads, “...and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him” (1 Kings 16:33). 

Elijah the Tishbite entered the story, and confronted King Ahab with a prophecy there’d be no dew or rain until he said so. This was a direct challenge to Baal, the god of rain, and enraged Ahab whose misplaced faith was in his wife and his idols. 

Knowing the king and queen planned to kill him, Elijah fled to a brook where he was fed by ravens. Once the brook dried up - because of drought - Elijah went to a village and sought lodging with a widow and her son. Again, God provided food through this unlikely source and the prophet later performed a miracle to restore her son to life. 

The sermon picked up in 1 Kings 18, three years after Elijah’s proclamation. The prophecy and lack of rain were intended to gain get Ahab’s attention and gain repentance. But instead, the king sent Obadiah to seek grass so they could save at least some of the king’s animals - still trying to solve problems in his own strength. 

The pastor also drew a contrast between two characters. Obadiah’s deeds were commendable yet he still tried to serve two masters. On the other hand, Elijah, when told to “go” to King Ahab, determined that he would speak to him that very day. He was emboldened and empowered with the knowledge he served the living God. 

The sermon’s conclusion had four points: Every day we should create a “daily praise report” of blessings and answered prayers. As we look back over our own miracles God has given, and remember Elijah’s provisions, we’re strengthened for the next conflict. Praise fuels obedience, and God turns trials and tribulations into victory. 

Next, we should search our hearts to determine whether we’re trying to serve two masters. God’s ways are best ways; anyone who compromises to serve two masters can’t find the best. Also we should look for areas where we may be trying to do things our own way, then surrender our stubbornness. 

Finally, we have the opportunity to ask God for freedom - from sin, from fear, and from anxiety about our future. People-pleasing, which Obadiah attempted, does not please God. 

Paul wrote about Moses, another hero of the faith, and added, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). Those of us today are empowered and equipped, and have an even greater resource available than Old Testament heroes of faith. 

Jury farrar tile