Elijah was a man like us. He had troubles and insecurities. Still, he had an ear for God and knew how to hide himself away to listen. God showed up and guided him through. (1 Kings 19:1-11)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon # 11351
7:30 PM on 10/18/2017
(1 Ki. 18) We have P. Carl Silva in Bombay wrote a Bible study course. When we were with him last May, he gave this to me. In chapter 12 of this book, it’s amazing. The title is How to Listen to the Voice of God. As we were with the pastors in N.Y. at our yearly get together, about 100, someone said have you read lesson #12 from his book? I said I haven’t. They said you got to read it. It’s so good. Today I read it, and I want to share a few things. How many know P. Carl? A godly man and amazing.
The need to listen to God. Jn 10 the Lord is the shepherd. My sheep follow me because they know my voice. We have sheep. There are sheep and they are mixed in and there is another shepherd. How are you going to separate them. I just told you! My sheep follow me because they know my voice. It’s true. When this shepherd starts to talk, he has a sign, a signal to the sheep. They follow him and the other shepherd they follow him. That is amazing. When do you get this antenna? When do you get this H.S. sense? When do you hear? When you begin to listen and hear? How often does it happen? What actually happens if he is the shepherd? My people are the sheep of my pasture. They have not made themselves.
Ps 100. I have made them God said.
In the retreat, something came up I never heard before from P. Obed, the Afghani pastor. We talked about the Good Shepherd and he said Lucifer was like a shepherd in heaven for the angels. When he fell, he was a shepherd for 1/3 of the angels. We usually say the devil is a wolf or a wolf in sheep’s clothing and that he is. There are many voices in the world. We have something we never had before. We have the sense of the voice of God. Are you a truly saved Christian? If so, you must learn to recognize and know Jesus’ voice and guidance in your life. “I believe one of the most valuable lessons a believer can ever learn in the midst of a complex and hectic life is how to listen and know when God is speaking. Every one of us has so many important decisions we have to make. Many of the decisions will affect….since God alone knows the future we need his guidance.
Jer 10:23, Prov. 20:24, nothing is more urgent than hearing what God has to say to him. God’s voice waits to be heard. After having heard it we are launched into the greatest and most exciting adventure we can ever imagine.” I said when do we get the antenna? When did we pick up the signals?
If you remember the story of Samuel in 1 Sam 3, he was a little boy and God spoke to him. He didn’t discern it or know who was talking. He woke up and didn’t know who was talking. It was God. He told Eli the priest and the priest said go back to sleep. The third time Eli understood it’s God speaking to him. Here is God speaking, and the guy doesn’t know it’s God. Do you think that happened in N.Y. City today? God is speaking to them and they don’t know it’s God. Do you think someone could be walking down the street and God speaks to them and they don’t know what it is? How was it understood it was God. I want to suggest something. When someone who is hearing from God as a lifestyle, as a way of living and you are around them, you can pick up and understand this is God.
Once God has spoken, twice I heard it. The meaning is I heard it when I was walking down the street but didn’t believe it or understand it until I went in to the house of God. Ps 73 it was there in the house of God I understood.
There is something about an assembly of people that are hearing the Spirit and drinking the same Spirit, 1 Cor 12:13. We get the understanding that maybe that is God that is speaking. There are many examples of it. I want to suggest to you that the subject is subjective and sometimes people are afraid of it. I don’t want to be a crazy person and say God is talking to me and he isn’t. At the same time, I have to ask the question is it his plan and design of life that God would speak to his children? At the same time there is craziness and crazy people, and I am one of them. Wait a minute. Is it really true that his book is his Word and he speaks from here?
Mt. 4:4 and Jesus saying I leave but another like me, a Comforter comes. And he will guide you into truth. One man of God said God directs our steps and also our pauses. Our stops. Right? He is in our sleeping, our eating, and our living. He is in the number of hairs of our head. He is in the accidents and details of life. He has a voice. We hear it.
In this portion in 1 Kings 18, we have a man of God. Ahab, Elijah. I’m interested in the first part, the first 17 or 18 verses before the confrontation with the 450 prophets. Lucifer fell and became a bad pastor of the fallen angels. He is a pastor of the whole world, a bad one, a destructive one, so he isn’t really a pastor but he is ruling and reigning and speaking. We are capable of being connected with the world’s spirit and mind and values. Ahab is an example of that. He is a king. He said to Elijah, are you the one that troubles Israel?
vs. 17. You are the one. You are our problem. It hasn’t rained in three year’s. It’s because of you. Baal was the god of fertility and rainfall and agriculture, the pagan god of productivity. The sexual emphasis of reproducing. It had the meaning of fruitfulness and multiplying. There were many Baal’s, multi-polytheistic, many gods. Ahab said you are the problem. You are believing there is one God. You’re prophesying is the problem. You are destroying our country. You’re the problem. If you have the Spirit of God dwelling in you richly and you are hearing from God, some day at work someone will say in the cafeteria you are the problem.
Elijah said back to him, I have not troubled Israel vs. 18. Baalim, plural. Baals. You have followed Baals. Elijah is strong. He is in the Spirit. He has the quietness, prayer, fellowship with God. He’s amazing. He has the Spirit of God. There is nobody, no newspaper reporter or neighbor, weirdness. Sorry about the shooting here in Maryland today. He’s quiet, confident. He’s in the Spirit hearing from God. God speaks to him. He calls fire down.
vs. 19:1-3, we read in James 4 we are men of like emotion, like passion as Elijah. Now he’s emotional, distracted, afraid, self-conscious, threatened, fearful, and emotional. I’m out of here. I’m gone. We know how that could be. This sermon tonight is about learning how to listen to God. Hearing God’s voice. Under pressure it’s hard to hear his voice. When I’m depressed. It happens. God cuts through. Let’s say the entire church in the USA, all of us believers have some amazing capacity to hear from God and walk with God and some are not. Yet some are not. They are not hearing. Like I said, little Samuel was hearing but didn’t know who it was. Say to him when he talks to you it’s me. Here I am. I hear you. I need a church. I need a Bible. I need my brother and sister to be with me and listen to what God is saying. There will be major decisions I make in my life. I don’t want to make them flippantly or emotionally or carelessly. I love it if God could as a way of life lead and guide me in my decision making. You do it. You’re here now. We are interested in what the Bible is saying and learning little by little.
A page or two later, he refers to Jn 16:13. In Acts, Philip and the Gaza strip he saw the chariot and the Spirit said go up and join yourself to the chariot. Philip obeyed and was able to lead the man to Christ. The Spirit spoke to Peter, the Spirit said three men are looking for you. Go down stairs and accompany them…I have sent them myself. Peter went but knew he was going to a Gentile house and was prepared. The Spirit has something else that was going to happen. The Spirit fell and convicted them and they became believers. Peter is thinking should I go in the house. The Spirit was leading and prompting him.
This is why to be honest there has always been kind of an excitement in my Christian life because God may ask me to do something or lead me in something. God, what are you going to do today? I’m going to walk with you and please guide my footsteps and my pauses. Guide me in my heart and mind so I can hear what people are saying to me. Listening is hearing what people say, don’t say and are trying to say. That’s a discipline. When a man or woman is Spirit-filled, we have a capacity to have a ministry. The ministry becomes addictive. You enjoy it. We enjoy being together. We enjoy hearing what God has to say to us. Ever been in a small group and somehow it’s firing on all cylinders? We are in the Spirit and someone has a word and maybe we stand and sing a song or in a home. Somehow there is some life there. You say that was amazing. Contrarily, ever been with a small group of believers and all we can talk about is macaroni and cheese and football and motorcycles and you get more tired. You didn’t have any energy. You have very little to give in the Lord. You are tired physically in your soul and in the Spirit and the people you were with were like Elijah running from Jezebel. It’s a meeting but is God showing up in the meeting. We know about this. When you make an effort to assemble here, there is some price you pay and in your heart and attitude you say I’m seeking God. If I could listen to the Body of Christ for an hour that will help me in my private life. I heard that this was the Spirit of God. We are coming with a hunger and focus and concentration to hear from God.
I may be like Elijah running from Jezebel and he wants to quit the ministry. vs.19:3-4. Take away my life. Yes. I want to die. I want to quit. I’m done. I’m finished. Is he hearing from God? He’s not hearing from God. Is he hearing from God? Is he talking to God? Yes. Ever gone to God, and I have a burden and I get on my knees and bring my burden. I keep going down into the cellar of the house. After a while praying, I am worse off! I’m way down. We talk to God like Elijah is talking to God. But he is not hearing from God.
Ps 77 my wound is running in the night. He is so depressed.
Ps 42 how long O Lord will I be in this depression? I have lost my hope in you. Just to say, that we are humans and this happens to all of us. It’s everybody. Right? Ok.
vs. 4-5. Do you know what? Sometimes things are dealt with by taking a nap. Isn’t that a good message! Nap time. My prayers are lousy. I end up in the cellar. I’ll just go eat a sandwich and take a nap. That’s what happened in the story. God brought him a Panini! Yeah, God! God knows what is going on. This guy can’t hear me. He’s so upset, upside down. My sheep hear my voice. We don’t always hear his voice. Elijah is not hearing his voice but he is eating his sandwich.
vs. 6. God says you need it. You’re exhausted. I’m God. I got this all covered. I’m ministering to you. God is not a heavy, stiff, legalistic condemning God. He is an understanding, merciful God who pities us. He knows our frame that we are dust (Ps 103:14). He knows we are emotional and will break down weeping uncontrollably in certain conditions. That’s normal and ok. This is healthy. God is in all of this.
1 Ki 19:7, that’s called super food! Angel cake! That will take you forty days. If I get a good spiritual meal in my life, it can take me for a year, No, it can take me for years. No, it can take me my whole life. I think I remember from the past that was food God gave that carries me in my life. Why 40 years later wouldn’t he be able to say the same thing? It’s the same message. We can go in the strength of that word, that food, that spiritual food.
vs. 8 that’s Mt. Sinai. Most Bible teachers say this is when Moses said I want to see your glory. God put him in a cave and put his hand there and passed by. He saw the afterglow of God. It’s the afterglow of God’s passing. They say that when Elijah was in trouble, he headed there. He wanted to die but he headed to that mountain and it was there in that cave he was seeking God. He knew enough to go in the right direction and maybe he would be healed and restored.
vs. 9-10. I want to say and I’ve gotten into this peck of trouble. I did the right thing, have the Spirit leading me and now I’m in a mess. I want to quit the whole thing. I don’t want to stand out front representing this. People say I’m the problem. The man of God or the Christians in the U.S. are the problem and so on. We don’t care so much about it but you understand the idea. He feels alone. God is speaking to him.
vs. 10. I’m done. I’m finished. God, this is your problem. I can’t stand it anymore. This is good for us to hear. No matter where you are at in your life, God speaks. He does. No matter who you are, God is our Father, our Good Shepherd. God is speaking.
vs. 11. I wonder how much wind people are listening to. A lot of wind in the world of music, theatre, scholastics. Wind. A lot of wind in nature, in society, in big cities. A lot of sound, a lot of noise. Our church is funny because there is not a lot of entertainment. We have beautiful worship but they are not robotic songs, not mechanical songs. We are before God and believe he showers us with his goodness. We have to have the antenna to enjoy it. We have to have the interest in it. Remember when you were a kid playing basketball and the whole country is watching and the guy takes a jump shot. Do you know what concentration he has? Is he listening to the crowd? He doesn’t hear them. He’s in the zone. He can’t hear. Be careful how much you are listening and how much time spending listening to strange voices. Satan would like to pastor us. He’s pastoring the world.
Where I live there is a fox I would see. I would say to him it’s dangerous out here. Move along, little buddy. Get off the road. Little beady eyes in the head lights. I’m saying to him you’re toast [idiom]. Guess what? One night, he’s dead there. I said that is just like people. That happens to people. You tell them get away from those people. Hang up the phone, Eric. Remember? Who you hang out with. What you are listening to, what you are part of. It’s much more exciting to be in tune to what God is saying. God leading us in a work on his heart not on ours. It is his heart to get through to Elijah and restore him.
It wasn’t in the wind, vs. 11. The Lord was not in the heavy metal church service, earthquake sounds rocking my eardrums. You know what I mean? I grew up in the Catholic Church and it makes me feel like I want to go back and sit there and worship God! What is happening? People are listening to the sounds and are not in tune with that quietness. What can we say about that? Have you ever gone to prayer? You go in and praise you Lord.
We just listened to a clip from David Wilkerson in our chapel service. He said people can go to prayer with praises, give God their burdens, say their prayers, amen and go out. They haven’t waited to hear what God has to say to them. They didn’t wait on God. They are busy in their prayers. It might be they end up in the cellar because they are not hearing. Only hearing their own psychic noise, own worries and fear.
Able to enter into his presence and wait on God is an important part of prayer. It could be we are there waiting and saying, God, I need a word. I don’t know when you will give it to me, but I will be listening. Right now I have to go to work and you can speak to me as I’m going. I can tell you the way it will come will be a still, small voice. That’s how he speaks. It’s simple, short and concise. It’s a word. It’s a thought that is from the H.S., from the Scripture.
I remember as a single man living in Finland and Lisa and I started communicating and I wanted to ask her to marry me. It was a big decision. I brought it before God. I know where I was in the attic of the house. I remember bringing it all out before God. Then it was so clear. The H.S. filled me and it was so clear. I had perfect peace about it. Emotional but brought before God in quietness and the sense of assurance and peace.
I talked to a man once who married someone and he said it was like one of the worst days of my life, my wedding day. I knew it was not God’s will. Wow.
That could happen to anyone here. You would like to get married so badly that you just will do it. It can happen. We are just people. What if it’s an adventure but what if his still small voice tells me something I don’t like. What if the still small voice is leading and guiding me. We all have our stories. One thing for sure no matter how this goes, God will never fail you. He will always forgive us, restore us and even after I get myself in a mess of trouble, I have God with me in my mess of trouble. I can go again. And I go again in my troubled marriage and God can change it. I go again in the church life and God can heal me. I go again in my friendships and the still small voice of God will lead and guide me.
Prayer is a place where we can hear and if there is silence and I don’t hear anything, I have the assurance God is with me and that’s enough. When he wants to say something, he does. We have a talking God, a living God, a saving God, a caring God, and an encouraging God. A God on time. Early will I seek you. My heart is fixed. We all have a great future because we have our heavenly Father. When you leave the Spirit-filled life, often people gravitate to, are looking for their satisfaction, their emotion. They are looking for relationships, excitement, nervous system, alcohol, drugs, jazz, spit and vinegar. Get up. I need some juice. I go for the juice. If I got God’s juice, God’s Spirit and get excited, woe, woe. Something good is going on. God is speaking to me and I have a future. He will lead and guide me. I will run through a troop and leap over a wall and say God is good. He’ll say take a chill pill, a nap, a sandwich.
When you are ready, I got something to say to you. Get ready because I am God and I will help you and take care of you because I love you.
Let’s thank God for P. Carl as we pray.
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