Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Approximate Notes For Sunday’s Notes; February 12, 2017; 1 Kings 19:1-13

Scripture for this Sunday is 1 Kings 19: 1-13

You can read these Scripture here: {NIV and ESV}

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“What am I doing here?”

“How did it come to this?”

I am certain that I am not the only one who has asked these questions of myself at one time or another. It is impossible to live life on earth and to be human without finding ourselves in that place.

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In today’s reading we find Elijah after a show-down with the prophets of Baal. It was a show-down that Elijah was led to by God (1 Kings 18:15) and I think that God did it in order to demonstrate to the children of Israel that Elijah was the real thing.

{Illustration: Show-down is described in 1 Kings 18}

It is in this place of desolation and in this time of despair that God gave to Elijah something like a Super Bowl half-time show. It was scary and noisy. Elijah did not feel God’s presence in the earthquake, or in the wind, or in the fire. Elijah felt the presence of God in the stillness and silence that followed.

Today we live in a society filled with noise. Noise gets our attention; noise stimulates our curiosity. God used the noise of the earthquake, wind and fire to prepare Elijah to pay attention. The sentence, “Ok, Poindexter, sit down, shut up and listen” comes to mind.

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Last week we looked at Jesus’ sermon about renewal and regeneration. “… if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?” (Matthew 5:13) Jesus asked.

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Today’s reading is about Elijah losing his “saltiness.” He was scared, unable to see beyond his current circumstances, and he felt powerless. He even asked God to take his life (1 Kings 19: 4 – “I have had enough, take my life.”) Listen to Elijah’s conversation with God.

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NIV2010 1 Kings 19:14 “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

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In Celtic spirituality there is a concept called “Thin Places.” A thin place is a place where the boundary between heaven and earth, between sacred and profane, is so transparent that God feels especially real to us. A thin place is a spot on a space-time continuum where we can look straight into the face of God, where we can touch the hand that holds the world. It’s a place where and when we – imperfect human beings – can sense and experience the presence of the divine intensely and vividly. It is a place where we are encouraged and filled with the Holy Spirit.

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We see Elijah in his “thin place.” I think that God sent him on an errand (1 Kings 19:14-18) just to get Elijah to recognize that life still goes on and to demonstrate to Elijah that he is still capable of doing things for God. God also gave Elijah hope. In verse 18 we hear, “I [God] reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” In essence God said, “Elijah, you are not the only one left.”

We all get frustrated or angry at some point in our lives. All of us know the feeling of being defeated or embarrassed by something that we said or did. We don’t live in a perfect world; we live in a fallen world and sometimes things do not go the way we hope them to because we live in a world where the forces of evil are active.

What we can learn from Elijah is that the most obvious answers and the easy answers are not always the right ones.

From his “thin place” experience Elijah’s world view was challenged, and he reached a new understanding. In order to get to that new understanding, he had to lose his bearings, and he was forced to find new ones. He was jolted out of his comfort zone, out of old ways of seeing the world, and challenged to seek a deeper understanding of the world.

It takes maturity, patience, courage, and discernment to keep going in times like this.

Today we have with us Scout Troop 603. Scouting prepares and builds young men for their future lives. Everything worthwhile takes time, effort, perseverance and strength of character to accomplish.

Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of scouting said once, “The secret of sound education is to get each pupil to learn for himself, instead of instructing him by driving knowledge into him on a stereotyped system.”

We all asked ourselves the question “How in the world did I get here?” Scouting prepares young men and women to face such times with courage and dignity, and teaches them to persevere, listen and learn from those experiences.

Throughout our lives we are in the process of becoming something tomorrow that we were not yesterday and are not today. God did not create us to grovel in the grime of our sins the way Elijah did in that cave. God created us to be the best version of the image of God that we can be.

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