1 Kings 19:1-18 (Part 2) – Seeing God When It’s Not A “Big Pointing Finger” Moment!

Posted: March 5, 2019 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 19:1-18 (Part 2 of 3)

Elijah Flees to Sinai

Sometimes, we expect God to act in big ways and want Him to give us big bold signs with a giant pointing finger with blinking lights that says, “This is it!” And, yes, still does these big bold things. Anytime, you see a cute pregnant mom. God speaks boldly about the origins of life in Him. Just think of that miracle of conception that sparks life as we know it. Anytime, you see someone in a hospital that makes an unexplainable recovery from an aggressive cancer as the direct result of many people praying for a cure. Anytime, you sit on a turnout on the Pacific Coast Highway and see majestic mountains behind you that sharply give way to the mighty Pacific Ocean. Anytime, we see lives radically changed by accepting of Jesus Christ as their Savior and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We see, in these things, the mighty miracles of God. We all want all of life to be as bold and beautiful as these things. We all want to see God’s mighty hand in obvious ways.

Most likely, each Christ follower, you and me included, can point to particular moments in time where God has made Himself boldly known to each of us. You know, those watershed moments in our Christian walk where it was what we like to say in Christianese “it was a God thing!” There are moments that we each have, no doubt, where we can see the hand of God in it. I know I do. I don’t want to go into a biography here but one of the most obvious things is how my wife and me even met each other.

The short story of it is that I had lived in the Greenville, SC area for 29 years (age 14 to 43) until I accepted a job in Charlotte, NC. But in order for my daughter to maintain her funding from one of her scholarships from the State of South Carolina as she attended Clemson University, I needed to live on the South Carolina side of the Charlotte, NC area when I moved. So I settled on this apartment community in Rock Hill, SC (just across the NC-SC border from Charlotte). At the same time, Elena for her own reasons ends up moving to Rock Hill from Clover, SC, another Charlotte suburb. She ends up not only in the same apartment complex but in the same building that I was a resident of. We finally meet and begin to talk a couple of months after she moved in. And the rest, as they say, is history. The fact that we met and what all we have been able to do together in Christ since that time, it was a God-orchestrated thing that is one of the “big pointing finger” evidences of God’s providence in our lives. How else do you explain it? It was a God thing. Obvious and evident!

But there are times more often in our lives that we have to keep our eyes open and our ears peeled to see and hear God speak to us. There is more of that than there are the big pointing finger moments. That was what I thought of this morning as I read 1 Kings 19:1-18 a second time. Let’s read the passage again this morning with that thought in mind:

Chapter 19

When Ahab got home, he told Jezebel everything Elijah had done, including the way he had killed all the prophets of Baal. 2 So Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.”

3 Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. 4 Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”

5 Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” 6 He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again.

7 Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.”

8 So he got up and ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to travel forty days and forty nights to Mount Sinai,[a] the mountain of God. 9 There he came to a cave, where he spent the night.

But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10 Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”

11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

14 He replied again, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”

15 Then the Lord told him, “Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. 16 Then anoint Jehu grandson of Nimshi[b] to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet. 17 Anyone who escapes from Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and those who escape Jehu will be killed by Elisha! 18 Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!”

In this passage, we see that that God was not in the loud wind. He was not in the earthquake. He was not in the fire. But he was in the gentle, small whisper. That’s the thing that I want us to take away this morning. Sure, there are obvious times in our lives that we can discern God’s presence in our lives. In those cases, you can look at the situation and go, “Yep, that was a God thing!” However, those are the obvious things. We must learn to see God in the everyday small things. We get so wrapped up in what’s wrong in our lives. We get so wrapped up in seeking those obvious, mountaintop experiences with God. We get so wrapped up in the details of life and the struggles around that. We often forget to listen for the still, small voice of God speaking to us. We often forget to see the action of God in our daily lives.

For me that was no more evident than yesterday. There were to simple acts of kindness shown to Elena and me by two different church members. One dropping by the church to give us something unexpected. Another was a perfectly timed text message of encouragement. Each of these people are dear friends that we have made since we have been here in Illinois. They care deeply about us and we about them. Sometimes when we need it most, God gives us encouragement in little ways that we could shrug over and forget in a moment. But God is in the small things that lead to big things.

God is watching over His people each and every day. We need to look up sometimes and realize that He is there all the time not just in the big pointing finger moments of life. Take stock of how God lets you know each day that He is there. Take stock of those little perfectly timed intersections with people each day or each week that happen when you need it the most. God is there in the small stuff just as much as He is in the big pointing finger moments.

Amen and Amen.

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