1 Kings 18:41-48 (Part 2) – No Matter How Fast You Run…

Posted: March 2, 2019 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 18:41-48 (Part 2 of 2)

Elijah Prays for Rain

Do you remember in school where there were times that people made judgments about you, whether true or not, that you could never change? I am sure that we have all experienced situations like this in adult life too. People label you a certain way and regardless of how much effort you put into changing that perception, their perception will never change.

Sometimes, it’s in your personal life. An ex-wife or ex-husband never softens their stance on you. Other personal life examples can be the dating scene. It has been proven that people make up their minds about a person they date for the first time within the first five minutes of meeting them (and as to whether there will be a second date). That’s pretty powerful stuff – deciding whether a person that can be your potential long-term relationship within five minutes. Sometimes, it happens in the retail world where businesses can be destroyed by the perception of just a few customers. Just think of the stores or businesses that you and I have written off because of a poor initial experience with that business. Regardless of whether others find the business a great one, we will never use them again.  

Sometimes, it is evident in our politics today. People define you by whether you are a Trump supporter or not. Anti-Trump folks simply write-off Trump supporters as brutish and ignorant and not worthy of entering into conversations with. The reverse is also true. Trump supporters see all anti-Trump folks as bleeding heart liberals who want to live in a socialist America. Thus, they refuse to engage in debate with the anti-Trump camp. Sometimes, along these lines, in today’s America, your view of the news events of the day depends on which media outlet you listen to or read. Social media can be the same way, Facebook, for example, has been known to delete posts that people make that are against the liberal political agenda of that social media giant.

That was the idea that stuck in my heart this morning – why did God empower Elijah to run at supernatural speed for the 17 miles from Mt. Carmel to Jezreel at a rate faster than trained chariot horses and then it came to nothing. Let’s read today’s passage, 1 Kings 18:41-48, with that in mind:

41 Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go get something to eat and drink, for I hear a mighty rainstorm coming!”

42 So Ahab went to eat and drink. But Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and bowed low to the ground and prayed with his face between his knees.

43 Then he said to his servant, “Go and look out toward the sea.”

The servant went and looked, then returned to Elijah and said, “I didn’t see anything.”

Seven times Elijah told him to go and look. 44 Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, “I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.”

Then Elijah shouted, “Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!’”

45 And soon the sky was black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm, and Ahab left quickly for Jezreel. 46 Then the Lord gave special strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his belt[a] and ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to the entrance of Jezreel.

In this passage, we see that Elijah ran the seventeen miles back to the city in order to give Ahab a last chance to turn from sin before joining his wife, Jezebel, in Jezreel. His run also was an attempt to give Jezebel the opportunity to hear the correct version of the story of what happened at Mt. Carmel. As we shall see later in the next passage, the effort to dispense his side of the story was, in the end, unnecessary as Jezebel continued to believe what she wanted to believe about Elijah and his actions. There are times, even when we are doing what the Lord asks us or empowers us to do, that it will not change hearts no matter what we do. There are times that hearts are hardened toward us and nothing we can do, no matter how miraculous, or say, no matter how wise, that can change the hardened heart.

Maybe that’s the takeaway here today. Sometimes, there are perceptions that we cannot change about us, about earthly situations, and about following Jesus Christ. Sometimes, we are going to encounter people with the message of the gospel that simply are not going to listen to it because their hearts are hardened. Even in earthly matters, there are people that are just not going to like us or what we have to say or how we do things. All we can do is care about what the Lord thinks of us. All we can do is pray that He will allow others’ hearts to be softened toward the gospel message or even just to be softened toward us. All we can do is try our best to please God in the process. All we can do is to seek after Him and let Him worry about the rest through our prayers. And we must leave it at the cross in prayer and not go back and pick it up later. We must simply and truly trust God in prayer about the hearts of other people whether it be about the gospel message or about their perceptions of us as human beings.

I guess that is the thing to me that makes Elijah so likable is that it is he is so human. He has situations where he trusts God so seemingly easily – praying all afternoon for rain, trusting that God will consume the wood at the altar, laying on the lifeless boy to bring him back to life. But yet at the same time, he has his moments where he is so concerned about perceptions like in this situation. He becomes disheartened after speeding to Jezreel under God’s power but nothing changes in Israel. He becomes so despondent that he sulks in cave. He is a reminder of ourselves. We must remember, like Elijah should have, that there are times where hearts are just hard to us or to our message. Does that mean we grow despondent and run away? No. We keep praying for hearts to be soften and for the Lord to give us an opening, a way to be heard. We keep plugging away and we keep seeking after the Lord and leave the hearts of others to the Lord in our prayers.

Amen and Amen.

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