1 Kings 15-17

 No Boundaries

In our study today we read that during the reign of Asa, King of Judah, the ten tribes of Israel went through several assassinations and dynasty changes. This is the way of the world at that time which is why the world desperately needs God’s Law.  Asa will see the end of Jeroboam’s reign and the beginning of Ahab’s reign and six other kings in-between.  Asa, the godly king, represents stability and the leadership in Israel represents the instability the world delivers.

Ahab, we are told, did more evil than the other kings of Israel that ruled before him. Ahab will lead the nation into idolatry. His wife, Jezebel, was the daughter of the King of Sidon. Before her father was king he was a priest of Baal, a Canaanite idol. When he was the priest he assassinated the King of Sidon and became king in his place. Ahab and Jezebel will lead Israel into idolatry and corruption but not without God’s intervention. God had already sent several prophets to Israel and during Ahab’s reign God sent Elijah as well as others.

In Chapter 17 we read of Elijah. God sends him to Ahab telling him there will be a drought for three years. Then God leads Elijah out to the wilderness where God provides for him and shows him that God is able to protect and empower Elijah.

My pastor, Chuck Smith, would say that what God is taking us through today is preparation for what we will face tomorrow. Clearly, this is the case in Chapter 17. God’s ways are not man’s ways. God is demonstrating to Elijah that He is able to protect and provide for Elijah in some very creative ways. God is going to show Ahab and the nation who is truly God but first he has to prepare Elijah for the task ahead and get the nation to the place where they are willing to listen, hence the drought.

God is doing the same for you and me today. What we are going through today is preparation for what God has in store for us tomorrow. For Israel it was to show them that there was a God who was stronger than any idol or king they trusted in. For Elijah, God demonstrated that He is able to provide in the worst of circumstances and that He could even empower Elijah to raise the dead.

Somewhere between these two extreme’s we are living our life and God is revealing Himself to us. No doubt the drought brought fear and even panic to the people of the nation. The drought was beyond anyone’s control and hope was fading fast. God was preparing the people for the day when they would see the power of God. Elijah was sent out to an environment where he had to trust God’s promise to Him. He was learning to take direction from God and not man. But there is more to this story.  God’s plan and power went beyond the borders of Israel. His plan reaches the world and is not bound by time as there is a good lesson for us to learn today.

The drought spread far and wide and included Sidon. God sent Elijah to Jezebel’s father’s kingdom and demonstrates that even in a nation steeped in idolatry He is God and can raise the dead.

One day Jesus asked the disciples who people were saying Jesus was. After they answered He asked them the same question and Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16 NASB

Jesus responded saying that God had revealed this to Peter and that he was blessed. He also said that on the rock of this testimony the gates of Hades would not be strong enough to keep this testimony out nor those who the devil had captured and enslaved in. This is clearly illustrated with Elijah sent to Sidon where he raised a widow’s son to life. The gates of idolatry could not keep God or His mercy out. God is doing the same thing today. God is using what you and I are going through today so we can understand who God is and that we can accomplish what God wants to do through us. We might be going through a drought and living hand to mouth but be sure of this, God is working in our lives. The gates of the enemy will not keep you out of God's kingdom  nor keep us in isolation.

It is easy, in difficult times, to think God is done with us or he is mad at us and can’t or won’t use us because of some sin the devil is constantly bringing to mind. Nothing could be further from the truth. I view those thoughts as signs on the gates that the devil has set up to keep me from doing God’s will. If we believe these thoughts we will be stuck in place. But if we allow God to take us through the difficulties we face with an attitude that trusts that God loves us and is preparing us for what is ahead, one day we will find the gate will swing wide open just as the angel opened it for the apostles in Acts 5:19 and the earthquake did for Paul and Silas in Acts 16:25.

The prison they were in represented the difficulties they were going through, but when God did what was impossible for them to do by opening the gates they were free to share the gospel and people were saved because they learned through experience that God was able to do more than they could ever imagine or think of.

God wants to do the same for you and me and we can trust that He is with us in the difficulties we face as well as in the blessing he bestows.

In all things let God be evident in your life and not the problem you are facing. God is always with you and no gate will keep Him out.

Pastor Dave