WHEN GOD SAYS “THAT’S ENOUGH!” | The Book of 1 Kings 21:17-29

497Intro: The events of which we have just read take place some 5 to 6 years after the events on Mount Horeb. In that interim, Elijah has not been heard from nor seen in the life and affairs of Israel. Perhaps his time was spent training the prophet Elisha to take his place. Perhaps it was time wherein God allowed the prophet to rest his spirit, his mind and his body. Whatever the reason, it seems that there is a 5 or 6 year span in Elijah’s life when he is on the shelf and is not being used by the Lord, at least in a public way.

But, this quiet time has not been for naught! During those silent years, the Lord has reworked the prophet of God and when he appears on the scene again, he is not defeated, discouraged and self-centered. When he comes back into view he stands forth as a man of God once again. He has been prepared and reworked for new and renewed service to the Lord God.

There is a lesson for us in all this. Don’t despise the times when God pulls you from the public eye and closes you up with himself. It may not be pleasing to the flesh and the ego, but it is a time that God has chosen to reform you and to mold you more perfectly into the image of His Son.

Now, Elijah is back! He is ready to serve and he is not disappointed. God gives him a new mission. As we see him carrying out the will of the Lord we can see that Elijah is still The Faithful Man Of God. Notice three elements of this text that demonstrate the faithfulness of Elijah and the power and purpose of God as we consider the thought, “When God Says “That’s Enough!

  1. V. 17-19GOD’S MISSION DECLARED
  2. 17-18aThe Comfort of It – God’s word, which came to Elijah, brought with it a two-fold comfort.
    1. God’s Grace in The Situation– Perhaps Elijah thought that he had served the Lord for the last time. Perhaps he thought that his last days on the earth would be spent preparing Elisha for the tasks that lay ahead in his ministry. Perhaps he thought that he would be remembered as Elijah “the has been”. But, the Word of God did come to the man of God again! God still had a plan for this man’s life and He intended to use him again for His glory. Elijah experienced the grace of God in being taken off the shelf and placed back on the front line for the glory of God.
      1. (Ill. As you and I travel through this world, there will be times when it seems that the Lord has finished with us. It seems that we have been shelved, and that we have lost our effectiveness and usefulness to the Lord. We may be in that position because of some sin we have allowed to enter our lives. It may be that God is just setting us aside for a time so that He might prepare us for something even greater. Whatever the reason you find yourself set aside, do not despair! Use the time wisely. Pray, seek God’s face, learn God’s Word. Be faithful to Him even when you are in one of the dry times of life. There will come a day when the Master will pass by the shelf He has you sitting on and He will take you down and put you back in the fight for the glory of the Lord. God hasn’t forgotten about you! I would imagine that Jonah thought he had preached his last message as he lay in that whale’s belly. He was wrong! Peter thought he was washed up as a disciple when he denied Jesus at that Roman fire. He was Wrong! John mark thought that he would never be trusted by the Apostles after he abandoned Paul and Barnabas on the mission field. He was Wrong! David probably thought that he would never shout and sing again after what he did with Bathsheba. He was Wrong! And, friend, if you think you are washed up this morning because of some sin or circumstance in your life, you are wrong too!
    2. God’s Grasp of the Situation– God’s words to the prophet let him know that the Lord is on top of the situation. God knows where Ahab is and what Ahab has been doing. Surely it brought comfort to the man of God to know that his God was in control.
      1. (Ill. I just want to remind each of you that God is in control of your situation as well! Just as God knew all about Elijah’s enemy; where he was and what he was doing, God knows what your enemies have been up to as well!
    3. 18The Cause Of It – The reason God sends Elijah with this message of death and destruction is because of the events of 1 Kings 21:1-16.
    4. 19The Content Of It – God’s message to this wayward pair is direct and plain. There will be no misunderstanding that which the Lord is trying to say to them. There are two basic divisions in God’s message.
      1. The Sin– God knew what Ahab had done. He knew the extent of it and He knew the vileness of it. Nothing got by the gaze of God. Those things that we think are hidden from view are open to God. He sees all and He knows all and He will deal with men on the basis of their sins!
        1. (Ill. Just a reminder: God knows everything there is to know about us. Nothing in our lives escapes His gaze,Pro.15:3.)
      2. The Sentence– For Ahab’s sin, there can be but one sentence: Death! This man is guilty of murder, theft, deception, idolatry and every form of wickedness and evil. He is guilty in the sight of God and he is sentenced to die! Ahab had been given plenty of rope. He has been given opportunity after opportunity to repent of his sins and turn to God. However, he had procrastinated and continued in his sins. Now, God says, “That’s enough! It’s time to face your deeds!
        1. (Ill. Just a word of application here: There will come a time when God says, “That’s enough!” There is always a price to pay for sins committed and left unconfessed –Gal. 6:9; the day will come when God will look at your life an say “That’s enough!” What will it cost you in that day? Don’t be a fool! God knows how to get you attention, and He will not hesitate to touch the most precious thing you have to do just that!
        2. V. 20-26GOD’S MESSAGE DELIVERED

(Ill. When Elijah receives this new call, He wastes no time, but sets out to do the bidding of the Lord. He goes directly to Naboth’s vineyard where he finds Ahab enjoying his ill-gotten gains. When he arrives, he faithfully and forcefully delivers the message of God.)

  1. 20aThe Challenge – When these two men meet, the first to speak is Ahab. He sees Elijah approaching and calls him his enemy. But, while Ahab looked at Elijah as his enemy, Elijah was, in fact, the best friend Ahab had! If Ahab wanted to find his real enemy he needed to look no farther than the woman he called his wife. She was the source of his trouble, not Elijah! The Word of God tells us that much of what Ahab did was because he listened to his wife. 25. She was a vile and wicked woman!
  2. 20bThe Confrontation – Elijah’s response to Ahab is to confront his sin head on. The man of God pulls no punches, but he lets Ahab know that his sins have been exposed! This reminds me of the time Nathan came into King David and said, “Thou are the man!” However, Elijah’s statement exposes the fact that Ahab is at the center of the blame for all that has taken place!
    1. When Elijah uses the word “sold“, it is an interesting play on words. This is a word that means “a habitual lifestyle given over to something.” It can also mean “to marry.” Not only has Ahab manifested wickedness in his life day by day, but he had also married wickedness when he took Jezebel to be his wife.
  3. 21-26The Condemnation – In these next few verses, Elijah delivers the terms of God’s judgment to Ahab. He tells him in no uncertain terms just what is going to happen to him, his family and his kingdom because of his sins. Surely, this wasn’t a popular message, but it was the message of the Lord and it had to be delivered! Notice three aspects of this message.
    1. 21a, 23-26It Was Personal – There is no mistaking the fact that the hammer of God of about to fall in the life of Ahab and of his family. Even the wicked Jezebel will be judged by God. The sinners will not go unpunished!
    2. 21b-22It Was Perpetual – Ahab is told that even his children will suffer because of his sins. This is one of the sad consequences of allowing sin to fester in our homes and hearts. Our children learn from our wickedness and often they will adopt our evil ways. This invites the judgment of God to visit their lives as well.
    3. 21-26It Was Plain – There was no question concerning what Elijah told Ahab. It was a message so plain and clear that even a wicked, hard headed, hard hearted king would have no trouble getting the point.

III. V. 27-29 GOD’S MERCY DISPENSED

  1. 27Ahab’s Repentance – When Ahab hears the sentence that is handed down by Elijah, he knows that he has run out of chances, he knows that he must repent or perish. So, even this wicked little man does what he should have done many years before. He repents of his sins and walks in humility before the Lord.
    1. (Ill. Repentance is one of those words that doesn’t get a lot of air time in our modern world. The idea of repentance refers to a “Change of mind that results in a change of action.” The Bible is clear when it says, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.Luke 13:3, 5. It also says, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent:” Acts 17:30.
  2. 28-29Ahab’s Respite – Because Ahab repents, God let’s Elijah know that He is going to show Ahab mercy. Judgment is still coming, but it will be held off until after Ahab’s death. My friends that is grace in action! If anyone deserved to pay the price for wickedness, it was that wicked king named Ahab. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)“,Eph. 2:4-5.

 

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