A PROPHET’S WORK IS NEVER DONE | The Book of 1 Kings 18:41-46
The prophet Elijah has just been used by the Lord to accomplish a great miracle. He has just prayed a simple prayer and God has opened the heavens and sent down fire, proving Himself to be Lord of all. Elijah has just seen the people of Israel bow before God and proclaim their faith and allegiance to Him. Elijah has just killed the 450 Baal prophets. His day has been a busy one to say the least. Most of us would have been looking around for an easy chair so we could rest up. But not Elijah!
You see, the land of Israel has been languishing under a three and one-half year drought. Because of the drought people are starving, tens of thousands have died and the nation is in a desperate condition. Of course, there has been no rain because of the idolatry of the people. Now, they have repented, the Baal priests are dead and it is time for God to open the heavens and send down the much needed rain.
So, instead of walking off into the sunset to savor his victory over evil, Elijah gets to work again to see that the rain comes like God promised it would. He teaches us the lesson in this passage that there is no quitting place. There will never come a day in your walk with God when you will have the opportunity to sit down and do nothing. Many are doing just that, but it isn’t because there is nothing to do. It isn’t because the Lord is allowing them to sit idle either. They sit because, unlike Elijah, they have never learned the truth that a child of God’s work is never done!
Let’s join Elijah in the aftermath of his great victory on Carmel and learn the lesson that A Prophet’s Work Is Never Done.
How can we stay busy for the Lord?
I. V. 41 LIKE ELIJAH WE MUST BE A PROMISE CLAIMER
(Ill. In this verses, we can see that Elijah was a man who believed the promises of God. Someone has taken the time to count them and they tell us that there are over 7,000 promises in the Bible.
In these verses, we see that Elijah is claiming a promise that is both personal, and conditional, 1 Kings 18:1.
Elijah remained busy claiming God’s promises because he based His confidence on:
- The Precious Word Of God – In 1 Kings 18:1, God told Elijah to confront Ahab and He would send the rain. Elijah did as he was commanded, and he knew the rain was coming. Elijah believed God when God said something.
(Ill. Friends, we serve a God Who is able to keep His promises – Rom. 4:21; Matt. 5:18; Heb. 6:18; Eph. 3:20.)
- The Perfect Will Of God – In 1 Kings 17:1, Elijah had been God’s instrument to bring the drought upon the nation. Elijah knew that the drought had been sent because of the idolatry of the people. The rain had stopped because the people were worshiping Baal instead of Jehovah. Now, the Baal prophets were dead, the people had repented and had returned to the Lord God. Elijah knew it was time for the rains to return.
(Ill. When God’s will had been revealed about a matter, it is settled already. It will be done!
- The Prior Work Of God – Elijah knew that he could trust God to send the rain because of all that he had already seen the Lord do. Remember, he had already witnessed the faithfulness of God at the brook, in the barrel, with the boy, in the bull and over Baal. He has seen the Lord work many miracles before and there was no reason to think that God could not continue to move in power and glory.
(Ill. I would just like to remind you that God has not changed! He is still the same God today that He has ever been, Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8; James 1:17. Think of all the promises He kept and the power He demonstrated in the past, What He has been able to do He can still do!
(Ill. There is work to be done by those who will labor in the area of claiming God’s promises and taking Him at His Word.)
- Elijah The Promise Claimer
II. V. 42-45 LIKE ELIJAH WE MUST BE A PRAYER WARRIOR
(Ill. In these verses, we can see a major contrast between Elijah the prophet and Ahab the king. There reactions and actions in the aftermath of the events on Carmel reveal much about the condition of their hearts. Our main focus this morning is Elijah, but let’s try to glean all we can and look at these two men for just a moment. Notice what they did, it reveals who they are.)
Ahab Went to His Feast – As soon as this powerful manifestation of God is concluded, Ahab’s first thought is to feed his flesh. He heads up to his pavilion to eat and drink. There appears to be no conviction, no concern over the dead Baal prophets, no hint of sorrow or repentance. Ahab cares for nothing but Ahab.
1. Ahab was weak in all this. Notice him ordered about by Elijah. Why weak? He was totally controlled by his flesh!
2. Ahab’s focus after such a stirring meeting reveals the true condition of his heart. Instead of bowing before the Lord in repentance and sorrow, Ahab walks off to feed his flesh.
(Ill. Like so many who attend church, their bodies are there, but their hearts and minds are thousands of miles away. You see, our hearts are revealed by what we think about during service, where we rush off to after service and by what we get the most excited about. Some can’t even sit through an entire service! By the way, you attention span for spiritual things is a barometer of your spiritual growth! Some folks can’t seem to sit still through a 45 minute sermon, but they can sit for hours and watch a ball game or a race. It’s all a matter of your priorities! This sad state of affairs is seen clearly when one compares the interest in prayer meeting as opposed to an eating meeting!)
3. Ahab is never confronted by Elijah concerning his sins. Why? Ahab wouldn’t have heard it! Ahab had not come to the place where he could see the condition of his own heart.
(Ill. So it is in the church today. The preacher preaches on sin and people sit unaffected, unmoved and act as though the message were given to everyone but them. That is why lots of folks can continue to live their lives in rebellion to the Lord! They simply cannot see the condition of their own heart. Oh, they can see the sin in their neighbors life! They can see where the message affects someone they know. Yet, they cannot see how they might be wrong in their own life. Jesus has a word for folks like that, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.“,Matt. 7:3-5. Got any Ahab’s here this morning?)
Elijah Went To His Father – While Ahab wandered off the feed the flesh, Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel to meet the Father. Even though the Baal prophets were dead and gone, there was still work to be done. It was time for the man who believed God to call on His Name and finish the task he had been given. I want to examine Elijah’s prayer so that we can learn more about genuine faith praying.
(Ill. Now with that in mind, let’s spend a few minutes looking at Elijah’s prayer. How he prayed can help us to be more effective prayer warriors for the glory of God.)
- He Was Humble – v. 42b, He bowed himself before the presence of the Lord. The man of God had stood tall as an ambassador of the Lord, now he bows low as an intercessor before the Lord! It would do us good to remember that God does not exist merely to answer our prayers or fulfill our wishes. He is God and he will honor the person who comes into his presence humbly, 1 Pet. 5:5-6; James 4:6; 10. (Ill. All we need do is remember the condition and that will help us to be humble in the presence of the Lord.
- He Was Specific – v. 43, James 5:17-18 tells us that Elijah was very specific in his prayer life.
- He Was Earnest – Elijah was sincere about his prayer, James 5:16-18. He did not take a spiritless attitude toward his prayer life, but he prayed with fervency.
- He Was Persistent – v. 43, eight times the servant is told to go and look toward the sea. Seven times there is nothing there. Yet, Elijah kept praying and kept believing. He did not allow the outward circumstance affect his inward assurance that the answer was on the way. He was persistent!
- He Was Expectant – v. 41, 43 – Elijah kept praying and kept sending his servant to look to the sea. Why? Because he was operating in faith in the promise of God. He knew the rains were coming. He was expecting big things from God! (Note: the word for “rain” in verse 41 refers to a heavy downpour. Elijah was expecting big things from a big God!) May be a little cloud but a huge downpour.
If we are ever going to see real success in our prayer lives, we must learn to pray with expectancy! We must pray and believe that God will do what He has promised to do, Mark 11:24, “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Nothing cripples faith nearly so often as the sin of unbelief, James 1:6-8; Heb. 11:6; Rom. 14:23.
- He Was Answered – v. 44 – On the eighth trip, the servant saw a little cloud rising out of the sea. When this news is brought to Elijah, the prophet knew that God’s answer had come. His prayers had prevailed and God was sending the rains!
Friends, we serve a God Who still answers the prayers of His children, Jer. 33:3; Isa. 65:24, 1 John 5:14-15. He would have us know that real, faith praying is not a waste of time! God honors the prayers of His people, because the prayers of His people honor Him!
- Elijah The Promise Claimer
- Elijah The Prayer Warrior
III. V. 46 LIKE ELIJAH WE MUST BECOME A POWER RUNNER
(Ill. We are told that when the rains came, Ahab left in his chariot. After three and one-half years of drought, a torrential rain would turn the ground to mud in no time. Therefore, Ahab wanted to beat the rain back to Jezreel. His iron chariot wheels would bog down in the mud and cause him problems traveling. As he went, suddenly ,he heard the pounding of sandals against the muddy ground. Ahab looks over just in time to see Elijah pass him and run in front of him the 18 miles to the gate of Jezreel.
- The Source Of His Power – The Bible says that “The hand of the Lord was on Elijah.” When a person is enabled by God, he can do things that are beyond the scope of ordinary men! He gives strength, stamina and ability to those who will walk in His power. As Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.“, Phil. 4:13. While Ahab was bogged down in the mud of sameness and mediocrity, Elijah ran with hand of God upon his life and excelled! What a difference! I don’t know about you, but I want the power of God on me!
- The Secret Of His Preparation – we are told that Elijah “girded up his loins”. That is he wrapped his mantle about him and tucked the end of his robe into his belt and ran. Why the preparations? If he has tried to run without girding his loins, he would have been tangled up in his garments and would have fallen. He cleared every possible obstacle so that he could run better. What a lesson for those who want to run with God!