1Kings 18:8                          Behold, Elijah Is Here                                 3/17/2013     

Intro:         There will be no dew or rain until I say so (1Kings 17:1)

 

 #1.           The Sequel: 3 ½  years later                   

Š      Go shew thyself unto Ahab (1Kings 18:1-2)

Š      Where was the famine very grievous? (1Kings 16:23-24)

Š      God sent the famine and God sent the rain (Amos 8:11-12)

Š      I will send rain upon the earth (Eph 2:1-3)

 

 

 

#2.            It is a nation in bondage   

Š      Look at Obadiah and Ahab (1Kings 18:3-4)

Š      Slaughter of the innocents

Š      Two men going in two directions (Eph 2:4-5, Gal 3:13)

Š      A whimpering servant

 

 

 

 

 #3.           Behold, Elijah is here        

Š      Don’t be afraid of men!

Š      Go tell thy master (1Kings 18:8-15)

Š      I will show myself unto him today

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                  1Kings 18:7-8                      Behold, Elijah is here                                 3/17/2013     

Please open your Bibles to 1Kings 17 and we will read, beginning with Verse 1. We are going through the life of Elijah. Perhaps you remember, that in 1Kings 17:1 the Prophet Elijah came to the wicked king of Israel, king Ahab, and he boldly proclaimed a curse upon the kingdom of Israel.

 1Kings 17:1 ¶ And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As Jehovah God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.

Elijah the Tishbite was a BOLD man. Why was he bold? Elijah was a man of God, and he knew it! We too can speak the Word of God BOLDLY if we know that we are a child of God: When we proclaim what God has said in the Bible we too can be confident that God is on our side. Everything that we do or say in the name of Christ will be immediately approved by God.

Elijah proclaimed a draught in Israel. Paraphrased Elijah said: “There will be No Dew Nor Rain until I say so.” Could Elijah command God to stop the rain? Of course not! God told Elijah before, and Elijah brought the message to king Ahab. It was not Elijah who stopped the rain; it was God who did it.

      The sequel to this first appearance of Elijah is found in Chapter 18:1 

#1.            Now it was 3 ½  years later.       

You remember that God first sent Elijah to the Brook Cherith. There he had water, and the ravens were feeding him flesh. But after a while the Brook dried up.

You remember then that God sent Elijah to the widow of Zarephath, in the kingdom of Zidon.

There is where Elijah still was when God spoke to him again in the beginning of Chapter 18:1     

1Kings 18:1 ¶ And it came to pass after many days, that the word of Jehovah came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.

When you see the words: “And it came to pass”, it means that God was actually doing it. In fact, nothing just happens in the Bible, and nothing just happens outside the Bible either. It is always God who is in control of every situation. But the Bible reminds us of this by stating: “It came to pass.” When you see the words “And it came to pass”, it emphasizes that God is in control.

What was this the third year of? We know that some length of time had passed when Elijah was resting at the Brook Cherith. But how long was Elijah staying with the widow of Zarephath?

Chapter 18:1 says, “this was the third year that Elijah stayed with the widow of Zarephath”.

From the N.T. we learn that three years and six months have passed since Elijah had spoken to king Ahab. Three years and six months of draught. Three years and six months of no harvests of any kind. They did not deserve any more rain from God.

      But look at the marvelous Mercy that God has for the nation of Israel.         God says:

Š      Go shew thyself unto Ahab. 

God sends Elijah to the wicked king Ahab it seems to give Ahab another chance, and to give the land of Israel water again. Does God give Ahab another chance? No, No. God knows that Ahab will not repent. God knows the end from the beginning. But God is doing all this for His own glory. God is showing US what a Merciful God He is.

Do you remember why God was withholding the rain? God was painting here a picture for US.  Yes. All these Scriptures were written for our learning. When God withholds water, then famine is the result. That is what we see in Verse 2

1Kings 18:2  And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria.

There truly was a great famine in the land, and many people died of starvation because of the famine. This famine raged for a long time. Remember: Almost three years earlier the widow of Zarephath thought that she was going to die of starvation, but then Elijah showed up.

The spiritual picture is this: When God withholds the water of the Gospel, then a famine of hearing the Word of God is the result.  Did you see that in Verse 2: “there was a sore famine in Samaria”? Why in Samaria? Why was there not a famine in all the land?

Š      Where was the famine very grievous ?                 

Now, Keep in mind, this is not the province of Samaria. This is the city that was founded by Omri, the father of Ahab. You can read that in 1Kings 16:23-24. Let’s look there for a moment:

1Kings 16:23  In the thirty and first year of Asa king of Judah began Omri to reign over Israel, twelve years: six years reigned he in Tirzah. (Where did he reign the other six years?)

1Kings 16:24  And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria.

This Samaria became the capital city of the nation of Israel, where the king is supposed to reign. There it is where the famine of hearing the Word of God was the greatest.

Why was the famine worse in Samaria? Historically it does not make sense. Ah, But God is letting US know that He is now referring to a spiritual famine: A famine of hearing the Word of God.

Š      Remember: God sent the famine and God sent the rain                       

Let us apply this to our time. When, in the history of mankind, do we notice a famine of hearing the Word of God? Did you notice that I did not say “A famine of the Word of God”, but I said “A famine of hearing the Word of God”? What is the difference? The emphasis is not on a lack of Bibles in the country. The Bible has been the bestselling book throughout the centuries. The Bible is by far selling better than books on sex, or diet, or money, or economics, or anything else. No, it is not a lack of Bibles in the United States, but it is “A famine of hearing the Word of God”.

Today, there is a famine of listening and paying attention to the Word of God. The Word of God is no longer the Authority in the Churches. Churches make up their own rules, and they make up their own gospel, so that the people never hear the True Gospel which God proclaims in the Bible.

According to the Bible, there are two periods in history when there is “a severe famine of hearing the Word of God”. Two extended periods of time when the people of God have the Bible, but they actually have fallen away into another gospel, a gospel where they initially started out with the Grace of God, but then they begin to add their own work, or their own experiences, and those are really the things they trust in. They trust in their Water Baptism, or they trust in the persecution they have to endure, or they trust in a vision or a physical healing they have experienced, and so on.

When are those two periods of time?  Well, the first time was before the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ on this earth. This was a dark period in the history of mankind. The religious rulers were so blind, that they did not recognize the Messiah when He came. Who did that? Has Satan blinded them? No, God has blinded them by withholding the grace of hearing the true Gospel!

The second extended period of time of “a famine of hearing the Word of God” will be just before the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Throughout the O.T. and the N.T. God has given all kinds of warnings of this kind. For example, speaking of the end times God says in Amos 8:11-12

Am 8:11 ¶ Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:

Am 8:12  And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.

Most likely, we are now living in the end times. We can see this “famine of hearing the Word of God” all around us. If we are indeed in the end times, then God is not going to give the Church a second chance, like He gave to king Ahab. Can you see that? If we are indeed in the end times, then there will be no revival. Churches will continue to chip away at the Authority of the Word of God. If we are indeed in the end times, then the next generation is not going to take the baton and run with it. The next generation will be very uninterested in the Gospel, and that is what we indeed are seeing today. Who is doing that? Has Satan blinded them? No, God has blinded them by withholding the grace of hearing the true Gospel!

Š      But now, don’t look out there at other Churches, how they have fallen away. Look now also at yourself, and look at our church. Is the Word of God really our Authority in our heart, and in our daily life, and in our doctrines? Do we have such respect for the Bible in all our days, or only on Sunday?

Š      When we wake up in the morning, do we reserve some time to be with God in prayer or in Bible reading? Do we have the things of God on our mind, or are we too busy?

Š      When we are at work during the week, do we think or meditate on those things that God has commanded? Do we take work home? Where do we spend our time? What is more important: Our career, or our obedience to God’s Word?

Š      Are we ready always to give an answer to everyone who asks us a reason of the hope that is in us? Do we do that because we want to be obedient to God’s commandments, or do we do that because we love Him? Our love for the Lord is really the evidence of salvation. Our obedience to His commandments does not save us. It is just blind obedience, like the Pharisees did.

Š      When someone makes an appointment with us for Sunday, do we say: No, I am not available on that day; I already have an appointment with God on that day?

Are we BOLD like Elijah ? Yes we can be BOLD.  Let us return to Elijah. God said in 1Kings 18:1-2

1Kings 18:1 ¶ And it came to pass after many days, that the word of Jehovah came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.

1Kings 18:2  And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria.

      Look at the Great Mercy that God has for this wayward nation of Israel.   God said:

Š      I will send rain upon the earth                      

Did the nation of Israel need rain? Yes they needed it badly! God could have made it to rain without sending Elijah. But that was not God’s plan!

Did the nation of Israel need water of the Gospel? Yes they needed it badly!  It had become a nation steeped in idolatry.  Their gods were the idols that Queen Jezebel had brought into the country: Baal and Asherah! God should have wiped them out for this gross idolatry.

But look at where WE were coming from. We were not much better than they.

God says in Eph 2:1-3 

Eph 2:1 ¶ And you, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Eph 2:2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Eph 2:3  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

“Even as others” means that we were by nature as wicked as others who never become saved. God is talking to US: the people of God. We were no better than the rest of the world. We were under the wrath of God like the children of Israel who committed these gross idolatries. We were in bondage to Sin and to Satan. And what do we see here in 1Kings 18 about the nation of Israel ?

 #2.           It is a nation in bondage   

Not only do we see that in the words of verse 2, where God says: “There was a sore famine in Samaria”, but it also shows in all of the following verses:

1Kings 18:3  And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared Jehovah greatly:

1Kings 18:4  For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of Jehovah, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.)

Š      Look at Obadiah and Ahab                

We already know that Ahab was wicked. What about Obadiah? The Bible says: “Obadiah feared Jehovah greatly”. The name Obadiah means: “Servant of Jehovah”. Everything seems to indicate that Obadiah was a man faithful in all things of the Lord. Is that really so?

How is it that the Servant of Jehovah had climbed up the corporate ladder to become the second in command at Ahab’s household. Ahab had a household that was of significant proportions. For example, not only was Queen Jezebel in that household, but also the 400 prophets of Asherah ate their meals at Jezebel’s table. This was not a small bungalow. This was a large household. Was Obadiah unequally yoked? It definitely seems so!

Š      It is true, Obadiah made the best of it by being obedient to his king Ahab.

Š      It is also true that Obadiah was close to the source of all the rumors, and that was why he could warn the Prophets of Jehovah that Jezebel was going to kill them.

Š      It is also true that Obadiah had risen in rank and influence, so that he was able to rescue as many as 100 Prophets of Jehovah and hid 50 of them in a cave, and he had enough resources to feed these Prophets of Jehovah for some time without being detected by Ahab or Jezebel.

Š      And where would Obadiah be when Ahab and Jezebel were worshipping Baal and Asherah?

Š      Was Obadiah unequally yoked? Most definitely he was! But it was all in the Lord’s providence.

 Obadiah lived in fear and trembling for Ahab and Jezebel. These are all signs of a nation in bondage. It reminds me of a nation in bondage in Egypt! By the decree of Jezebel many of the Prophets of Jehovah were killed. Not because they had done anything against Jezebel!  But because the Gospel had to be silenced. Jezebel felt threatened.

Š      It can be compared with the slaughter of the innocents                      

When we think of Elijah, we think of Moses. Both Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.

At the time that Moses was born, by the decree of Pharaoh, many Hebrew children were thrown to the crocodiles in the Nile River.  Why? Just because they were Hebrews.  Pharaoh felt threatened.

Shortly after Jesus was born, by the decree of king Herod, many Hebrew children in Bethlehem were murdered. Why? Just because Herod was paranoid and angry. Herod felt threatened.

 Could God have prevented all these murders? Of course He could! But God’s first priority is to save those whom Christ came to save, and for this purpose He wrote the Bible. Therefore WE are instructed that in this world WE shall have tribulation. That is written with big letters all throughout the Bible. The question is: Will WE successfully endure this tribulation, or do we knuckle under?

Israel was a nation under bondage. This time the dictator was Jezebel. But ultimately it was a battle between Christ and Satan. Look at the strange situation that is developing:

Š      Here are two men going in two directions                  

1Kings 18:5-6  “And Ahab said unto Obadiah, Go into the land, unto all fountains of water, and unto all brooks: peradventure we may find grass to save the horses and mules alive, that we lose not all the beasts. So they divided the land between them to pass throughout it: Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself”.

What a strange situation!  Here is the king of Israel, and the man who is second in command. They divide the land of Israel in two pieces, which is a fairly large chunk of land, and these two men are going to search out the land for grass. And they are doing it all by themselves, without any other people accompanying them. Is God drawing another spiritual picture here?

Ahab went one way by himself. We know where he is going. He remained an unsaved man until the day of his death, many years later.  Ahab represents all those who are brought close to the Gospel, but they die unsaved.  On the Last Day they will have to give an account of all their sins. And there will be no mercy, for the time for mercy has lapsed.

Obadiah went one way by himself. We also know where he is going. Obadiah was a saved man. No, he was not saved because he did such a good work by rescuing 100 prophets of Jehovah. Obadiah perhaps put too much weight on this good deed. But we read in Verse 3,

Now Obadiah feared Jehovah greatly. By this expression God indicates that Obadiah was a saved man. Obadiah did not deserve salvation, and neither do WE.

 Who then deserves to be saved?  Nobody does!

Š      We all came into the world as sinners, in rebellion against God.

Š      God did not need to save US. He was already perfect and glorious without US.

Š      God did not need our good works: None of those were good anyway.

Š      God’s Righteousness demands that all of us sinners must be thrown in Hell for an eternity.

Eph 2:4 ¶ But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Eph 2:5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (Therefore: by grace ye are saved;)

On the one hand, God’s Righteousness demanded that WE be thrown in Hell for an eternity,

On the other hand God in His Love for US decided that He would have Mercy upon US, which means that He would withhold what we do deserve. How could God do that and still be Righteous?

There was only one way: God allowed the principle of the Righteous paying for the sins of the unrighteous.  

God the Father sent God the Son to this sin cursed world to impute our sins on His account, and to pay the penalty of Hell for us on our behalf. And when he paid the penalty on our behalf He had to be accursed by God, for that was the penalty to be paid.

That is why the Lord Jesus Christ had to hang on a Roman Cross, which was a cursed tree, because God had declared: Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree (Gal 3:13) 

On that Friday, April 3, in the year 33 AD, the Lord Jesus Christ endured the wrath of God, the Curse of God, on behalf of my sins and on behalf of all the sins of everyone He came to save, and He paid for those sins the full price that had to be paid, the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. When you read the word “for” in the New Testament, be aware that in many places the Greek word that has been translated “for” does not mean “in the place of”, but “on behalf of”. And so, we need to make a correction in our doctrine, when we speak of the principle of substitution. You see, the word “impute” is an accounting term, which really means “to put on someone’s account.” Our sins were imputed to Christ’s account. And so, His account showed a debt to be paid. Our sins were not dumped on the soul of Christ, but they were imputed to His account. Christ remained the spotless Lamb of God. Throughout the atonement process the Lord Jesus Christ was not made dirty with our sins, but He remained the spotless Lamb of God. Therefore we should not say that Christ paid “for” my sins, like in pure substitution, but He paid “on behalf” of my sins, which is like the rich man paying the debt of the poor man. This is exactly what the Greek text conveys, and we should not misrepresent what God has written.

Only because He was God could He do that. Christ was and is God the Son, who is fully God. Each one of the three persons of the Trinity is fully God. But because Christ was also the Son of Man and because all His elect were in Him did He qualify to be the Divine Benefactor for those He came to save. And since no one comes to Christ except the Father draw him, we know that no one will be saved who is not God’s elect. To all His elect God committed Himself to proclaim the Gospel to those individuals whose sins have been paid by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, and God committed Himself to save those individuals by opening their eyes and ears to the Gospel, in other words, to make them “Born Again” by giving them a regenerated soul. In AD 33 Christ also paid for Obadiah’s sins. Did Obadiah commit any sins? Well, look at the record here in Chapter 18.

Š      Obadiah acted like a whimpering servant

1Kings 18:7  And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he knew him, and fell on his face, and said, Art thou that my lord Elijah?

1Kings 18:8  And he answered him, I am: go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here. (First time)

1Kings 18:9  And he said, What have I sinned, that thou wouldest deliver thy servant into the hand of Ahab, to slay me?

1Kings 18:10  As Jehovah thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not.

1Kings 18:11  And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here. (Second time)

1Kings 18:12  And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from thee, that the Spirit of Jehovah shall carry thee whither I know not; and so when I come and tell Ahab, and he cannot find thee, he shall slay me: but I thy servant fear Jehovah from my youth.

1Kings 18:13  Was it not told my lord what I did when Jezebel slew the prophets of Jehovah, how I hid an hundred men of Jehovah's prophets by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water?

1Kings 18:14  And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here: and he shall slay me. (Third time)

It was in the third year that the Word of Jehovah came to Elijah, and three times does the Bible record these words:

#3.            Behold, Elijah is here        

Already two times did we find in this Chapter that “Elijah went to show himself unto Ahab”, and now in Verse 15 he says it for the third time. Look at Verse 15:

1Kings 18:15-16  And Elijah said, As Jehovah of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, I will surely shew myself unto him to day. So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him: and Ahab went to meet Elijah.

Essentially, Elijah told Obadiah:

Š      Don’t be afraid of men

Remember, the Lord Jesus also told us that in Matt 10:28 

Mt 10:28  And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

The Lord Jesus said this when He sent out the twelve and commanded them to preach the Gospel. When you witness for Jesus you fear no men. It is only God whom you should fear.

Š      Go, tell thy master: Elijah is here 

Remember what the name Elijah means:  My God Jehovah. Who is Elijah representing here? That is right!  He is representing the Lord Jesus Christ. And who is Obadiah representing here?  You guessed it! This whimpering servant of Jehovah is representing US. He is representing all those whom Christ came to save. Go tell your earthly master: The Messiah has come, He is the Lord Jesus Christ and He has paid for my sins. What a wonderful thing He has done for me! And Christ says:

Š      I will show myself unto Ahab today.                       

Who is Ahab representing here? That is right! Ahab represents all those who are brought close to the Gospel, but they die unsaved. Ahab is not going to believe me. Ahab is going to die in his sins. Nevertheless, I will show myself unto Ahab. And Ahab will be held accountable for his own actions.

The evidence is BIG and it is overwhelming evidence. Look at the dying Man hanging on the cross there outside Jerusalem in AD 33. Jesus is hanging on the cross. Is that of any concern to us? Do we realize how much pain that crucifixion really was? Can we empathize with the dying Jesus? Do we have any feelings left? And now we have to ask ourselves: Was that suffering all for nothing? Was that all a conspiracy to get rid of Him? Or was it really the hand of God that brought Him to the cross in AD 33? Well the answer to this question is given by the events that followed. Look at what followed:

His followers did not cower and hide, but they were bold as if they did not fear the crucifixion that their Master endured. Why were they not afraid? They witnessed that their Master had risen from the grave in two days. Then in spite of fierce persecution His followers became more and more numerous, so much so that three years later they had conquered the Roman Empire. This crucifixion of Jesus was written in a Book, called the Bible. Then the Bible was distributed over the entire world to all nations, so that by now it is known to all nations that the Lord Jesus was crucified at Calvary in AD 33. There is no way anyone can deny that fact. Unmistakably it was an action of God that brought Him to the cross. And so, why did God do that? What does it mean that the Lord Jesus suffered and died? The Bible says that it was for the atonement of sins, and all who believe this fact are those for whom this atonement was made. Everyone else is still in their sins. The Bible says that this same Lord Jesus went to heaven. But on the Last day of this earth Jesus will come back as the Judge of the living and the dead. And then He will judge those who did not believe in His atonement, for they are still in their sins. Like Ahab, they are still accountable for their own actions. They do not have a benevolent Savior. The Bible says that they will go to a horrible place, the same place where all the demons go. And so, that will be a fearful place indeed.

While in this life they shouted, “We will not have this man rule over us.” In the life hereafter they get their wishes granted. The grace of God will not be given them any more. Instead their tormentors will be the demons in Hell. But the demons will not be able to touch anyone for whom Christ has made atonement, for all their sins are gone, and they will be enjoying the presence of God in the New Heaven and the New Earth forever more.

All this has been extensively written in the bible. Very curiously, the Bible also says in Matthew chapter 7 that the majority of mankind will not believe what Christ has done. They will remain idolaters, and only a small fraction of mankind will truly believe the Bible’s account of the crucifixion of Christ. It is only a small fraction that goes to heaven, and the majority goes to Hell. And so, the probability that anyone will be saved is really very small. That is a fearful thing indeed.

Even though Christ has openly shown Himself to all mankind as the atonement for sins, most people will not believe Him. Just like Elijah will show Himself to king Ahab, but Ahab is going to die in his sins. There is only one way to heaven and that is by grace through faith in Christ, and that faith is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of our works, lest anyone should boast.

AMEN.                  Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.