September 25, 2017
The impact of the flooding in the Houston area reminded our country that our current supply of affordable oil and gasoline in this country could change very rapidly or come to an abrupt halt. We saw gas prices jump fifty cents a gallon almost overnight, and just in time for purchasing gasoline for our generators. The result of the refineries closing caused a lot of worry for many people. There are a lot of things going on in the world that people can worry about, including of course, the availability and price we pay for gasoline. But if we are going to worry let’s include other commodities that we use every day to put it into perspective. Take for instance the price we pay for bottled water. According to the International Bottled Water Association, the average price per gallon for bottled water is $1.11. The average price we pay for a 16 ounce soft drink is $1.50, which comes out to about $12 a gallon. Should we worry about the rising cost of the things we use daily? I am happy to say no, because our worrying won’t change anything. I believe God’s Word tells us that there is a better way to deal with the challenges in our lives, than to worry.
An example of someone in the Bible who worried and experienced discouragement, is the prophet Elijah. Elijah was the prophet of God who challenged the false prophets of Baal to a contest to determine who was the true God. When the false prophets failed to get a response from all their gods, Elijah chided them and suggested that maybe their gods were sleeping. He then called on the One true God who sent fire from heaven in a display of His power. Shortly after this great victory the wicked queen Jezebel issued a threat to Elijah that she was going to kill him. You might think that someone who had just seen the power of God displayed in such a magnificent way would be empowered and bold. But, not unlike us, this mighty man of God was scared and ran and hid himself.
The lessons in how God provided for Elijah during this time are exactly the way we need to think in the light of the frightful developments of the days we now live in. First of all, God reminded Elijah of who He was and what He had done in Elijah’s life. Think about it, as believers we have entrusted our eternal souls to God by trusting in His Son for our salvation, but when difficult times come, we have trouble trusting that same God to provide for us when the price of gas goes up or our grocery bill keeps rising. In Elijah’s discouragement God reminded him of who He is and what He had done in Elijah’s life. 1 Kings 19:9-13, “Then the word of God came to him: “So Elijah, what are you doing here? I’ve been working my heart out for the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,” said Elijah. The people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed the places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me. Then he was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.” A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper. When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, “So Elijah, now tell me, what are you doing here?”
As you read this today you may have troubles and concerns that you believe are insurmountable. You might think that no one understands your circumstances, and that you are all alone in your despair. May I suggest that you stop and remember what God has done for you. As a believer you have eternal life in heaven, and as long as you have breath, you have His promise to “never leave you or forsake you.” Listen for that “still small voice” that will remind you that God is in control and the forces of evil will not prevail. Later in the story of Elijah, God also reminded him that he was not alone in his standing against the evil queen. Maybe you feel all alone and you are certain no one else could possibly know what you are going through. If you listen to God’s Word you will be reminded that there are many others, who like you are trying to serve God, keep their families together, and yes, pay for the ever increasing price of gas and other commodities. It is a fact that discouragement can strike any of us at any time. God’s people are not immune to it. Discouragement can come quickly and leave slowly, but the message for us today is that God wants to minister to us when we are frightened and discouraged. We don’t have to live under the control of it.
When we go through the storms of life it is only natural for us to be worn down and become like Elijah, thinking that we are alone in dealing with the problems of life. The truth is, however, God’s promises are true especially when we are worn down and discouraged. Through the life of Elijah, we learn how Satan used discouragement to render even a great man of God like Elijah helpless. If you are battling with discouragement today, why not take God at His Word and follow the example of Elijah to a full recovery.