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Elijah The Prophet Of Courage And Confrontation

Sermon #11

1 Kings 21:17-29


Intro: The events of which we have just read take place some 5 to 6 years after the events on Mount Horeb. In that interim, Elijah has not been heard from nor seen in the life and affairs of Israel. Perhaps his time was spent training the prophet Elisha to take his place. Perhaps it was time wherein God allowed the prophet to rest his spirit, his mind and his body. Whatever the reason, it seems that there is a 5 or 6 year span in Elijah's life when he is on the shelf and is not being used by the Lord, at least in a public way.

But, this quiet time has not been for naught! During those silent years, the Lord has reworked the prophet of God and when he appears on the scene again, he is not defeated, discouraged and self-centered. When he comes back into view he stands forth as a man of God once again. He has been prepared and reworked for new and renewed service to the Lord God.

There is a lesson for us in all this. Let us not despise the times when God pulls us from the public eye and closes us up with himself. It may not be pleasing o the flesh and the ego, but it is a time that God has chosen to reform us and to mold us more perfectly into the image of His Son.

Now, Elijah is back! He is ready to serve and he is not disappointed. God gives him a new mission. As we see him carrying out the will of the Lord we can see that Elijah is still The Faithful Man Of God. Notice three elements of this text that demonstrate the faithfulness of Elijah and the power and purpose of God as we consider the thought, "When God Says "That's Enough!"


A. V. 17-18a The Comfort Of It - God's word, which came to Elijah, brought with it a two-fold comfort.

1. God's Grace In The Situation - Perhaps Elijah thought that he had served the Lord for the last time. Perhaps he thought that his last days on the earth would be spent preparing Elisha for the tasks that lay ahead in his ministry. Perhaps he thought that he would be remembered as Elijah the has been. But, the Word of God did come to the man of God again! God still had a plan for this man's life and He intended to use him again for His glory. Elijah experienced the grace of God in being taken off the shelf and placed back on the front line for the glory of God.

(Ill. As you and I travel through this world, there will be times when it seems that the Lord has finished with us. It seems that we have been shelved, and that we have lost our effectiveness and usefulness to the Lord. We may be in that position because of some sin we have allowed to enter our lives. It may be that God is just setting us aside for a time so that He might prepare us for something even greater. Whatever the reason you find yourself set aside, do not despair! Use the time wisely. Pray, seek God's face, learn God's Word. Be faithful to Him even when you are in one of the dry times of life. There will come a day when the Master will pass by the shelf He has you sitting on and He will take you down and put you back in the fight for the glory of the Lord. God hasn't forgotten about you! I would imagine that Jonah thought he had preached his last message as he lay in that whale's belly. He was wrong! Peter thought he was washed up as a disciple when he denied Jesus at that Roman fire. He was Wrong! John mark thought that he would never be trusted by the Apostles after he abandoned Paul and Barnabas on the mission field. He was Wrong! David probably thought that he would never shout and sing again after what he did with Bathsheba. He was Wrong! And, friend, if you think you are washed u p this morning because of some sin or circumstance in your life, you are wrong too! We serve the "God of the Second Chance!" Your answer is the same as Elijah's: confess your sins, humble yourself before the Lord, learn the lessons He is trying to teach you and wait for Him to call you back into effective service for His glory!)

2. God's Grasp Of The Situation - God's words to the prophet let him know that the Lord is on top of the situation. God knows where Ahab is and what Ahab has been doing. Surely it brought comfort to the man of God to know that his God was in control.

(Ill. I just want to remind each of you that God is in control of your situation as well! Just as God knew all about Elijah's enemy; where he was and what he was doing, God knows what your enemies have been up to as well! He is aware of what you are facing in life and He knows all about the obstacles, the trials, the failures, the hopes and the dreams. He knows where you are what you are facing as His servant this morning, Heb. 4:13. That ought to comfort the heart of the child of God, Matt. 10:29-31!)

B. V. 18 The Cause Of It - The reason God sends Elijah with this message of death and destruction is because of the events of 1 Kings 21:1-16. In these verses Ahab and Jezebel have committed some horrible sins in that they have perverted the Law of God, put an innocent man to death, bribed false witness to lie against him, and they have taken that which belonged to the dead man. In the events surrounding the confiscation of Naboth's vineyard, this diabolical duo has plumbed the depths of depravity! They have earned a judgment sentence from the Lord.

C. V. 19 The Content Of It - God's message to this wayward pair is direct and plain. There will be no misunderstanding that which the Lord is trying to say to them. There are two basic divisions in God's message.

1. The Sin - God knew what Ahab had done. He knew the extent of it and He knew the vileness of it. Nothing got by the gaze of God. Those things that we think are hidden from view are open to the contemplation of God. He sees all and He knows all and He will deal with men on the basis of their sins!

(Ill. Just a reminder: God knows everything there is to know about us. Nothing in our lives escapes His gaze, Pro.15:3.)

2. The Sentence - For Ahab's sin, there can be but one sentence: Death! This man is guilty of murder, theft, deception, idolatry and every form of wickedness and evil. He is guilty in the sight of God and he is sentenced to die! Ahab had been given plenty of rope. He has been given opportunity after opportunity to repent of his sins and turn to God. However, he had procrastinated and continued in his sins. Now, God says, "That's enough! It's time to face your deeds!"

(Ill. Just a word of application here: There will come a time when God says, "That's enough!" He mat allow man to wander in sin for a season, but the day will come when the hammer of God's judgment will fall, and when it does, His judgment will be swift, sure and harsh! Do not think that you can play around on God and get by. There is always a price to pay for sins committed and left unconfessed - Gal. 6:9; Num. 32:23. The wheels of God's judgment may grind slow, but they grind exceedingly fine! The day will come when God will look at your life an say "That's enough!" What will it cost you in that day? Don't be a fool! God knows how to get you attention, and He will not hesitate to touch the most precious thing you have to do just that! (Ill. Joab's barley fields - 2 Sam. 14:29-32)

(Ill. A certain man wanted to sell his house in Haiti for $2,000. Another man wanted to buy it, but because he was poor, he couldn't afford the full price. After much bargaining, the owner agreed to sell the house for half the original price with just one stipulation: he would retain ownership of one small nail protruding from just over the door.

After several years, the original owner wanted the house back, but the new owner was unwilling to sell. So the first owner went out, found the carcass of a dead dog, and hung it from the single nail he still owned. Soon the house became unlivable, and the family was forced to sell the house to the owner of the nail.

The moral of the parable is, "If we leave the devil with even one small peg in our life, he will return to hang his rotting garbage on it, making it unfit for Christ's habitation." This is the truth taught in Eph. 4:27!)

I. God's Mission Declared


(Ill. When Elijah receives this new call, He wastes no time, but sets out to do the bidding of the Lord. He goes directly to Naboth's vineyard where he finds Ahab enjoying his ill gotten gains. When he arrives, he faithfully and forcefully delivers the massage of God.)

A. V. 20a The Challenge - When these two men meet, the first to speak is Ahab. He sees Elijah approaching and calls him his enemy. It had been a long time since these two had seen each other, and there was no love lost between them. But, while Ahab looked at Elijah as his enemy, Elijah was, in fact, the best friend Ahab had! How so? Because Elijah tried his best to teach Ahab the proper way to live his life. He tried repeatedly to point him in the right direction. If Ahab wanted to find his real enemy he needed to look no farther than the woman he called his wife. She was the source of his trouble, not Elijah! The Word of God tells us that much of what Ahab did was because he listened to his wife, v. 25. She was a vile and wicked woman!

(Ill. These are events that repeat themselves all the time! You let a person get sin in their heart and then someone comes along and tells them the truth about them and their situation and they will become angry. People do not appreciate having someone point out their errors. In fact, they will often turn on the person entrusted with carrying the truth to them. The man who tells you the truth is not your enemy, but he is your friend!)

B. V. 20b The Confrontation - Elijah's response to Ahab is to confront his sin head on. The man of God pulls no punches, but he lets Ahab know that his sins have been exposed! This reminds me of the time Nathan came into King David and said, "Thou are the man!" I am sure that Ahab had already rationalized the events with Naboth away by saying, "Well, I didn't have anything to do with it. I was in the palace minding my business when Jezebel came and told me that Naboth was dead. If she had a hand it, well that's just too bad, but it isn't my fault!" However, Elijah's statement exposes the fact that Ahab is at the center of the blame for all that has taken place! Naboth is dead because Ahab was covetous. Naboth is dead because Ahab had no control over his wife. Naboth is dead because Ahab turned a blind eye to that which was right. Naboth is dead because Ahab had no regard for the clear Word of God. Naboth is dead because Ahab is sold under sin! When Elijah uses the word "sold", it is an interesting play on words. This is a word that means "a habitual lifestyle given over to something." It can also mean "to marry." Not only has Ahab manifested wickedness in his life day by day, but he had also married wickedness when he took Jezebel to be his wife.

(Ill. When will men ever learn that we are not hiding anything form God? He sees everything we do and He even knows the motives behind what we do. That is why when we sin, there is no use to try and sweep it under the rug. The only course of action that can bring peace and restoration is full confession, 1 John 1:9; Pro. 28:13. Why? Because there will come a day when we will be confronted because of our sins. God will not let them go on forever, but will bring them out one day. Ill. Reuben at his father's bedside, Gen. 49:3-4. In those verses, a sin that had been covered up for 40 years is dragged into the bright light of judgment and confrontation. The day will come when it will be dealt with. Better that it should be early while there is time for mercy than later when there is time for nothing but punishment!)

C. V. 21-26 The Condemnation - In these next few verses, Elijah delivers the terms of God's judgment to Ahab. He tells him in no uncertain terms just what is going to happen to him, his family and his kingdom because of his sins. Surely, this wasn't a popular message, but it was the message of the Lord and it had to be delivered! Notice three aspects of this message.

1. V. 21a, 23-26 It Was Personal - There is no mistaking the fact that the hammer of God of about to fall in the life of Ahab and of his family. Even the wicked Jezebel will be judged by God. The sinners will not go unpunished!

2. V. 21b-22 It Was Perpetual - Ahab is told that even his children will suffer because of his sins. This is one of the sad consequences of allowing sin to fester in our homes and hearts. Our children learn from our wickedness and often they will adopt our evil ways. This invites the judgment of God to visit their lives as well.

3. V. 21-26 It Was Plain - There was no question concerning what Elijah told Ahab. He didn't leave there scratching his head saying, "Now, I wonder what that fellow was talking about! His message didn't make a bit of sense to me!" He probably wished that he didn't understand, but he surely did. It was a message so plain and clear that even a wicked, hard headed, hard hearted king would have no trouble getting the point.

(Ill. What can we learn from these events? First, that God is a longsuffering God Who gives men plenty of opportunities to repent. Second, there will come a day when the opportunities will run out and there is nothing left but the judgment of God. Third, when judgment comes because of sin it is certain, it is swift and it is just. The best course of action for us this morning is to examine our hearts and see if we have sin there that are hindering our walk with God and that are inviting His judgment to fall upon us. If so, now is the time to get them taken care of, before God says, "That's enough!")

(Ill. Never be guilty of laughing at the coming judgment of God! The following conversation was heard between an old farmer in the country and the new parson.

"Do you belong to the Christian family?" asked the minister.

"No, they live two farms down," replied the farmer.

"No, no, I mean are you lost?"

"Lost? Why, I've lived here thirty years."

"I mean are you ready for the Judgment


"When is it?" asked the farmer.

"Well, it could be today or tomorrow."

"Well," said the farmer, "when you find out for sure when it is, you let me know. My wife will probably want to go both days.")

I. God Mission Declared

II. God's Message Delivered


A. V. 27 Ahab's Repentance - When Ahab hears the sentence that is handed down by Elijah, he knows that he has run out of chances, he knows that he must repent or perish. So, even this wicked little man does what he should have done many years before. He repents of his sins and walks in humility before the Lord.

(Ill. Repentance is one of those words that doesn't get a lot of air time in our modern world. The idea of repentance refers to a "Change of mind that results in a change of action." It is best pictured by someone who is going in one direction and they suddenly make a 180 degree turn and start going in the other direction. While no one wants to hear much talk about repentance, it is the only way to get right with God! The Bible is clear when it says, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.", Luke 13:3, 5. It also says, "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:", Acts 17:30. Do you want to see the hand of judgment taken off your life? If so, there is only one course of action: you must repent of your sins! That means you must acknowledge you sins: get them out into the open. You must confess them to God: literally that means you are to say the same thing about them that He has already said. Then, you are to turn from them and abandon them forever. Repentance is the key to enjoying God's presence and power rather than His punishment!

B. V. 28-29 Ahab's Respite - Because Ahab repents, God let's Elijah know that He is going to show Ahab mercy. Judgment is still coming, but it will be held off until after Ahab's death. My friends, that is grace in action! If anyone deserved to pay the price for wickedness, it was that wicked king named Ahab. "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)", Eph. 2:4-5. Was Ahab sincere? It appears that he was at this time. Later in his life, he fell into sin again. However, he learned the truth that repentance turns away the wrath of God.

(Ill. My friends, the same is true today! You and I can do as we please to do. We can live in sin. We can play around with the things of God. We can live below His standards for our lives. But, if we do, let us not complain when the Lord judges our lives. When He says, "That's enough!", may we accept our just punishment with grace. In other words, if you choose a life of sinful rebellion over a life of righteous obedience, then do not be shocked when God judges you and brings the rod of chastisement down on your back. After all, this is His promise to His children - Heb. 12:5-11. Let us learn the lesson from Samson. Sin will blind you to its consequences, it will bind you in its power and it will grind you to powder! Is that really what you want? )

Conc: Is God about to say "That's enough!" to something in your life? Have you been deceived into thinking that there will never be a pay day for your sins? Is there some little sin closeted away in your life that needs to be brought out into the open this morning? If the Lord has dealt with your heart today about some sin or some need in your life, I challenge you to bring that need to the Lord. Bring that sin before Him, jerk the covers off of it and throw it into the light of His justice and grace. He will help you with it. Don't allow what happened to Ahab to happen to you!

Others here have never been saved. You need to know that Jesus loves you and God will receive you if you will come to Him this morning. Don't allow your sins to take your soul to Hell! Come to Jesus and be converted before it's too late!

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