Sermon – Great Promises for Dark Days (1 Kings 16:23 – 17:6) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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Life in The Land of False Idols

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Great Promises for Dark Days

Tom Sweatman, 1 Kings 16:23 - 17:6, 13 September 2020

Tom kicks of a new series in 1 Kings on the life of Elijah, showing how God proves himself to be the true God in a land of idols. In this passage Tom shows God's protection and provision for his people in a land that has turned away from him. 1 Kings 16:23 - 17:6.

1 Kings 16:23 - 17:6

23 In the thirty-first year of Asa king of Judah, Omri began to reign over Israel, and he reigned for twelve years; six years he reigned in Tirzah. 24 He bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver, and he fortified the hill and called the name of the city that he built Samaria, after the name of Shemer, the owner of the hill.

25 Omri did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did more evil than all who were before him. 26 For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in the sins that he made Israel to sin, provoking the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger by their idols. 27 Now the rest of the acts of Omri that he did, and the might that he showed, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? 28 And Omri slept with his fathers and was buried in Samaria, and Ahab his son reigned in his place.

29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab the son of Omri began to reign over Israel, and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years. 30 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD, more than all who were before him. 31 And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshiped him. 32 He erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria. 33 And Ahab made an Asherah. Ahab did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him. 34 In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spoke by Joshua the son of Nun.

17:1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” And the word of the LORD came to him: “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the LORD. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

We in these morning series services are going to be starting a new series in 1 Kings. And if you'd like to turn in your bibles or the reading will come up on the screen in just a moment. We're going to be focusing on the life and the times and the ministry of Elijah. And this particular section of the old testament is just full of wonderful stories. It is an exciting read this part of 1 kings.

But as I hope we're gonna see, these are more than just good stories. These are stories that are very helpful for us. In the age in which we we live. Because as we're gonna discover, Elijah lived at a time of great turmoil and uncertainty. Politically and spiritually, and even physically, these were dark, dark, dark days.

It was an unsettling time, particularly if you were a follower of yahweh. But into that, we are going to see that the living covenant God, Yahweh, is going to show over and over again that he is the true God, And that unlike baal, his word runs the world. He's gonna prove himself to be that God. And so although in our country, bale worship and the lack of rain are not particularly common, we are gonna see that things are not that different. We are a nation in turmoil.

We live in unsettling days, both physically. We're going through a physical hardship moment, aren't we? As a nation? This year has has been a physical hardship for many people. We are a nation that is given over to idolatry.

We have chosen to push the living God and his Word to 1 side and have thought we know better than him. And therefore, we are a nation that need to be called back to the true worship of the true God by by his people. And so we're gonna see actually, although this is many hundreds thousands of years ago, there is a lot that is the same. These are dark days of turmoil. And yet our lord lives, and he has promised to care for his people in this time.

And to start with before we begin the Elijah section in chapter 17 of 1 kings. We're gonna actually go back to 1 king 16 and we're going to read from verse 23 because if we're gonna fully appreciate Elijah's Ministry, we need to understand the air that he was breathing. As I've said, they were dark days, but it's not until you get into chapter 16, that you realize just how toxic and polluted the spiritual atmosphere was, and we'll see that together. In our reading. So let's let's read from verse 23 of 1 king 16.

It will be on the screen or if you bought your own bible then follow along there there too. In the 30 first year of King Asa, King of Judah, omri became king of Israel and he reigned 12 years, 6 of them in Tursa. He bought the hill of Samaria from Sheimar for 2 talents of silver and built a city on the hill calling it Samaria after Schamer, the name of the former owner of that hill. But Omry did evil in the eyes of the lord, and he sinned more than all those before him. He followed completely the ways of Gerabohum, son of NEibat, Committing the same sin, Geroboam had caused Israel to commit so that they aroused the anger of the Lord the God of Israel by their worthless idols.

As for the other events of Omry's reign, what he did and the things that he achieved Are they not written in the book of the annals of the king of Israel? Omry rested with his ancestors and was buried in Sumaria and Ahab his son succeeded him as king. In the 30 eighth year of ASSA King of Judah, Ahab son of Omry became king of Israel and he reigned in Sumaria over Israel 22 years. Ahab, son of Omry, did more evil in the eyes of the Lord, than any of those before him. He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Gerrah Burmson of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel, daughter of F Bale, King of the Sidonians, and began to serve Bale and worship him.

He set up an altar for Bale in the Temple of Bale that he had built in some area. Ahab also made an ASHA poll and he did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel than did all the kings of Israel before him. In Ahab's time heel of Bethel rebuilt Gerico, he laid its foundations at the cost of his first born son abiram, and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son, Seggab, in accordance with the word of the Lord spoken by Joshua son of nun. Now, Elijah the tishbite from tish being galilee in Gilead, said to Ahab, as the Lord, the God of Israel lives, whom I serve, there will be neither June or reign in the next few years except at my word. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah leave here turn eastward and hide in the Carith ravine east of the Jordan.

You will drink from the Brook, and I have directed the Ravens to supply you with food there. So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Carith ravine, Easter the Jordan and stayed there The Ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the Brook. And, as I mentioned in the introduction, in order to appreciate Elijah and his ministry, we do need spend time thinking about the climate into which he was called. And the first point this morning, if you're taking notes, And I hope those who are watching online can can see can see it as well, is the landscape dark days.

Landscape, dark days. And that was the point of turning to 1 king 16 just to find out how polluted the areas with idolatry. See, if you take someone like Omry, the year is about 850 b c and Omry is is a significant king. I mean, for hundreds of years after he died, Israel was referred to by some as the House of Omry. In other words, he left a legacy and the people was defined by his legacy.

And when it came to politics and international trade, he was a successful man. If you've been following the news this week, you will have seen lots of information about international trade deals and securing free trade agreements and deals, and it's become a very important thing for us to do, hasn't it? To secure good relations with other nations? Well, if Omry was alive, we would do well to have him on our negotiating team. He was good at that.

He wanted to be friends with the king of the Sidonians. And at this time, the best way to unite kingdoms was through marriage. And so Ahab, his son, and Jezebel, got married in order to cement that political and perhaps military relationship. So he was a success on the international stage. He was also quite prudent and wise when it came to geography.

And we're told that he moved the capital of Israel to Sumaria, which was obviously a good decision because Sumeria then became a shorthand way of describing the northern kingdom. So that was a successful building project. He he moved the capital to Sumeria. So as I say, he he he was an achiever. If you were to walk through a a graveyard and to see Omry, I'm sure his relatives would have put various successes upon his upon his gravestone.

But basically, the writer of 1 kings isn't really interested in those achievements. As far as he's concerned, Omry was a king who bought a hill and did evil in the eyes of the Lord. He committed evil. He was morally bankrupt. He departed from the word of the Lord, and that's what we need to know about him.

And the same is true of many of the kings in this book. They may get 1 or 2 sentences or a paragraph perhaps, But basically, if they despise the law of the lord, then nothing else matters. The author of this book has a standard and he knows his old testament and he knows the book of deuteronomy particularly. And for him, that forms the backdrop of this book. How do you know whether a king is successful?

Well, let's evaluate him by how closely he sticks to deuteronomy and the law of God. That's how the kings are being evaluated. And actually, there are particular verses in deuteronomy which which he may have in mind. So again, hopefully, if you're watching and you'll be able to see these these words, If not, this is from deuteronomy 12 verse 29. When you have driven them out to the nations and settled in their lands, Be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods saying, how do the nations serve their gods?

We will do the same. Now, you must not worship the Lord your God in their way because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things that the Lord hates. And within that same book, there were even regulations about the king and what he was to do. When a king, this is due toonomy 17, When a king takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll, a copy of this law, taken from that of the levitical priests. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law.

I mean, what what an amazing country it would be if both our royal family and our politicians obey that. Imagine if when they were enthroned or appointed, their first job was to crack open the law of God and with Penn and ink to write it out, and then to read it every day, and to make sure that them and their organizations were following the law of the Lord. You can imagine it would make the house of commons quite a different place to be, wouldn't it? If the first part of the day was devoted to the reading and discussion about the law and then you would move to today's business. That would be an amazing country, wouldn't it?

Well, that is what the kings of Israel were expected to do. And if they didn't do that stuff, If they didn't hate idols and revere the word of the lords, then whatever else they achieved, well, nothing really matters. They might get a line or 2, but if they don't do that, then they're failures. But then we meet Ahab and we know straight away that something is going to be different about Ahab because unlike the other Kings, he doesn't just get a few paragraphs, he is going to rear his ugly head for the next 6 chapters of this book. And that is because we'll discover this together.

That is because his commitment to idle worship His personal involvement with Baal worship, his departure from Yahweh, the 1 true God, is so complete and so shocking that he has given all of this material as if to say, we have now reached a new low as a nation. This now is a kind of total apostasy. And when Jezebel comes onto the stage, things are only gonna get worse. I mean, Jezebel, I was thinking this week, Jezebel would not fit in very well in our society. Where we're expected to be very tolerant of other people's opinions, where even people of faith are encouraged not to emphasize differences but to focus on similarities and work together for the good of the nation, Jezebel would would be very unwelcome in those circles.

She wanted Yairway and his name and his prophets to be eradicated from the land. And so I think what is happening here in 1 kings is a bit like what happens in revelation and other parts of the new testament, where the ant the antichrist comes, Ahab and Jezebel are a type of old testament antichrist. Who who who summarize everything that is opposed to Yairway and and his purposes. And so I'm afraid if you were alive during this time, and you were 1 of the remaining remnant who loved the laws. The atmosphere in the air that you're breathing is just toxic toxic air.

These are these are dark dark days, and that is the landscape we find ourselves in in this series. So the first point then is about the landscape. The second point is about the profit. The profit Elijah the tishbite. That's the second point.

I'm sure you've seen those those chat shows where where the host is getting ready to introduce the next guest. And before the next guest comes on to the stage, the the host really wants to work the crowd. To get them fired up so that the the guest has a proper welcome. And they they sometimes they really lay it on thick, don't they? So you might have my next guest is the award winning author of 11 books.

A woman who single handedly has reshaped the genre. A Nobel Prize winner loved the world over. From humble origins her rise to fame has been meteoric. Will you please, ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for And the point it says, there's backstory to enable you to appreciate who's coming on to the stage. But then then you come to Elijah in chapter 17.

Who by all accounts is a fairly significant character in the bible and yet there is nothing by way of introduction. Not really, He walks onto the stage. In fact, someone someone in the first service actually said to me, you know, when I read that in verse 17, I thought, I was I was flicking back, and I was thinking, now we must have met Elijah before in this book. Because it felt it feels like we should already know who he is. Kinda thing.

But, no, the introduction is so is so brief, isn't it? There's nothing about his prior life. No reference to his tribe. Is he a is he a is he a, you know, a big wig or is he a somewhat of lower social status? Is he a priest or a governor?

The only thing we know is the place of birth and even that was insignificant, but we know the thing that matters most to this author. He is a servant of the living God. He stands in the presence of the living God to do his will. And according to our author, that is all that really matters. His name is Elijah, which literally means my name my my God is Yah, which is a short way of saying, My God is Yahway.

And so, what a scene Just when the whole world seems to be given over to idolatry, my God is Yeah. Steps onto the scene. I am a spokesman of the living God. He comes like a lightning bolt in the dark. He illuminates the horizon.

The profit of yahweh has come into this idolatrous smog. My God is Yahway. The prophet arrives. Elijah, the tishbite. So there's the landscape, There's the profit and thirdly now.

Let's look at the confrontation in chapter 17, Yahweh lives. Verse 1, As the Lord, the God of Israel lives whom I serve. There will be neither June or reign in the next few years. Except at my word. Maybe you remember those very early late days of lockdown when when suddenly the products that we had been relying upon for for years just suddenly disappeared from our shelves.

You might remember milk day you know, when when there was a day when you just couldn't get milk for some reason. You know, everywhere you went, there was no milk. And I had Laura who's here ringing me up, Tom. You need to find some milk. Can't find milk.

I've been to the big Tesco. Even the 1 in New Molden has got no milk. You know, it's huge if they're out of milk, everyone must be out of milk. Can you please try and find someone on your way home? And then we went on this scramble to find the milk, and all that we could find was the 1 with the red lit.

And who drinks that? I mean, nobody. That was all that was left. And so we got the red lit milk, and that was all that we could have. And then there was toilet roll crisis, and then even things like marmite, you know, began to disappear for a while.

And these kind of these things that we become so used to with disappearing from our shelves. But but but think now of a community. Which relied a hundred percent on the land, which needed the rain in order to function in every way. This is a devastating judgment for them. You know, you couldn't just import some tomatoes from South America.

Yeah, or or fly in some land from New Zealand. You know, those those options weren't available. If the rains failed, Year after year, after year, after year, your land would turn to dust. Your crops would all dry up in Paris. Your barns would be empty This is this is a tough judgment, and the point of it is to show in a very tangible way that God hates idolatry and he will hold his kings and his people to account if they embrace idols.

And so when Elijah says this to Ahab, again, the old testament law is the backdrop. If the people and the kings anger the Lord, he would turn their reign to dust. And the truth is God would not be God if he didn't act on his word. This is a judgment that has come upon them. But this is about more than judgment.

In Kainanite religion, it's very important to to know that Bale was the God of the rains. He was the God of fertility. If your land prospered, he was pleased with you, If it didn't and the rains failed, he was angry with you. He was a very tempting God to worship for that reason. Because he was seen to be the god of the reigns.

And so when Elijah says there will be neither reign nor due except by my word, He is throwing down the gauntlet here. He is saying to ahab and to the people we are going to find out who the living God is. Let's find out who sends the rain. Let's find out who makes the crops grow. Let's find out who rules the world.

If it is bail, then he's gonna have no problem overriding me. In fact, it will be embarrassing, won't it? Because I've just made this big statement and he can just send the reins this evening and you will see what a fraud I am. But if there is no rain, then let everyone know that Yahweh is the living God. So this is not just a fun trick with the weather and it's not a David Blaine stunt.

I don't know if you saw him disappearing off into the heavens with all his helium balloons, his latest where they're stunned. This is not this is not a trick. It's not sleight of hand, and it's more than just judgment. The very existence of yahweh is tied to this word. As surely as the Lord lives, there will be neither rain nor due.

Except at my word. So this is what it all hangs on. In chapter 16, we meet the king of the Sidonians and his name is F Bale. And that literally means Bale lives. Chapter 17 Elijah comes and he says as surely as Yahweh lives.

This is about which God lives? Who is the living God? It is an unmistakable challenge. And the rest of this series is really going to follow that pattern In fact, when we come to Mount Carmel, which we will do in a few weeks, it's very interesting because on Mount Carmel, it's the God who answers by fire. He is God.

But here, it's the God who answers by reign, he is God. So this is all about the existence of the true God. So that's the challenge. Yairway lives and then the the the fourth point, final point is this, the Lord. The Lord who provides for his people.

Have a look with me at verse 2 and there there it is again. Verse 2. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah, leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Carith ravine east of the Jordan. You would drink from the Brook, and I have directed the Ravens to supply you with food there. So this is a very kind of interesting twist in the story because Elijah appears in chapter 17, and he storms the royal palace and proclaims a message to to to Ahab.

But then just as soon as he's come onto the stage, He's then told to withdraw and to go and hide himself in this ravine and to wait for the Lord's provision. And it is quite a strange command, isn't it? You can imagine Elijah thinking, okay, Lord. So you want me to go and hide in the ravine and drink from the brook. Well, that makes sense because that's where water is.

But then I've got to wait for this ancient delivery service. To come and feed me, these these ravens. You know, I don't know if he was able to order through just eat exactly what meat he wanted, you know, whether he wanted chicken in the morning stake in the evening. But he had to wait for these delivery driver Ravens to come with his provisions, and it's it's peculiar. There there is actually a Jewish tradition about this where they where they believe that the Ravens would take the meat from Ahab's banquet table.

And that morning and evening, the Ravens would would would break in through the windows and take from his food and bring it to provide for his profit. Which I I love the idea of these ravens pillaging his banquet table every day. Don't know whether that's true, obviously. But but it's a strange thing, isn't it? You've ravens, which were unclean birds.

They were unclean birds. And then next week, we're gonna see the Lord using a gentle widow. To support the prophets. So there's strange things going on here, and the Lord is wanting to to show us just how barren Israel has become. But with these promises, he's also wanting to stretch Elijah's faith.

You see, Elijah is going to speak for the lord, but that won't be much good unless he himself trusts the word of the lord. He's got to rely on God's word. He's got to trust in God's miraculous provision. Because otherwise, he's not gonna be able to speak properly for the Lord. So this is a way of stretching Elijah and growing his faith.

And of course, as we see in verse 5. That is exactly how Elijah responds. So he did what the Lord had told him. Ahab disobeyed, Elijah did what the Lord had told him. And so we're supposed to see the contrast here between the nation, which is like a which is like a desert and Elijah who is like an oasis in the desert.

There is a kind of spiritual famine everywhere, but Elijah is able to enjoy the Lord's provision. He is an oasis in the middle of the desert. He lives according to the word of God. He trusts the word of God. And, crucially, he is a picture of what Israel ought to be.

In Elijah, we see the true Israel. At this stage obeying and trusting the word of the Lord. So as we begin to think then about applications, Before we before we begin to kind of apply this story to to ourselves, which it has lots to say to, Let us see how how this story points us to the Lord Jesus Christ. Because it does so in some amazing ways, doesn't it? You see, you think of the Lord Jesus' arrival onto the world stage.

In many ways, he also came from nowhere, didn't he? People said, is this Joseph son? Can can anything good come from Nazareth? Are not are not these his brothers and sisters? Do we not know this man?

Who is this man? This is the man of humble origins, who we know. The prophet Isaiah says that he had no beauty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. There wasn't in 1 sense this great pedigree behind him. And yet when Jesus Christ steps onto the world stage, he is the river of life in the desert, he is the light in the darkness, and he proclaims my father lives.

And I have come to tell you about his kingdom. Well, think of the way Jesus obeys the will of the father. Right at the beginning of his ministry when he's out in the wilderness, and he's experiencing his own drought, isn't he? He's in the desert being tempted by Satan, and yet the father takes care of him. The words of scripture were his food.

The angels came to minister to him in the desert place. The spirit enabled him to succeed where we have failed. Jesus in that scene is the true picture of what Israel and the people of God should always have been. The perfect obedient ones. And yet the shock of the Christ story is that that same son went to the place of cursing for you and me.

It's interesting that Elijah is spared from that, isn't it? He doesn't suffer the same judgment as Ahab. He's taken away and provided for. But Christ as part of his obedience went to the place of cursing for you and for me. If you're familiar with Matthew's Gospel, you might remember when Jesus is on the cross, and Jesus is crying out from the cross.

What do people say about Elijah? Do you remember? They say, he's calling Elijah. Leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to rescue him, but Elijah doesn't come to rescue him.

Because Christ's hour had come. This was the moment of salvation where he would give his life for us taking our idolatry upon himself so that we could be bought into relationship with this same living God. Jesus is the humble hero of this story. Which Elijah is anticipating in his words and in his life. This 1 who obeyed and trusted the father for us.

And with that in mind, we as God's people can take great courage at the moment. You see, I don't need to tell any of you really. That we we live in dark days, don't we? There is loads of rain in England, but spiritually, we are a dry we are a dry people. I don't know if you've been looking at this over over lockdown, if you've been following what's going on.

But in in almost every subject, the lord and his word is altogether sidelined. How are we going to manage this country? What should we teach our children about who they are? How are we going to navigate this crisis together? How should we think about identity and social just disissues.

How do we help people with their physical and mental health in this crisis? In in every subject, the Lord is totally sidelined, totally out of the picture, and we look for wisdom and guidance and life in all the wrong places. And sadly even as Christians who do know better, we can fall into that idolatrous way of living. And part of what 1 Kings is telling us is that if you are living in dark days, things might be about to get worse. You see, spiritually, we might be living under an Omry at the moment with an Ahab just around the corner.

There is no guarantee that things will just get better and better and better. There is no promise that we are at the lowest we could be And from here, the only way is up. We may be an omri expecting an Ahab. These are dark days. And yet, we have this great promise from God.

Firstly, he is going to take care of his own name. Isn't that just wonderful? A wonderful assurance. God is going to take care of his own name. He'll make sure that the living name endures.

Here's a great quote that I picked out from from 1 book. To see Elijah appears so suddenly, reminds us that we need not despair when we see great moments of evil achieving spectacular success on this earth. For we may be sure that God in unexpected places has already secretly prepared his counter movement. Therefore, the situation is never hopeless God is concerned. Whenever evil flourishes, it is always a superficial flourish for at the height of the triumph of evil God will be there, ready with his man and his movement and his plans to ensure that his own cause will never fail.

The Lord will take care of his own name. He will build his church The idols will come and go, but his name remains forever. Doesn't that give us great confidence in dark days? That God is going to look after the glory of his own name. But secondly, God is going to take care of us.

As he did for Elijah, and as he did for Jesus, he is going to take care of those who are in Jesus. A great promise that you might know from the sermon on the Mount given to disciples living around pagans just as was in Elijah's Day. Do not worry saying what shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear for the pagans run after all these things. And your heavenly father knows that you need them, but seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. In other words, as we prioritize the glory of God's name, he will take care of us.

We know it because he's already taken care of our greatest need in Jesus. The living bread and the living water has come to us. And if God did not spare his own son but gave him up freely for us, will he not also along with him? Graciously give us all things. Of course, he will.

He will take care of us. And so with those 2 promises, there is a final application that we find in in the book of James. So this is from James chapter 5 and verse 17. Fascinating the way Elijah is used here. Elijah was a human being even as we are.

He prayed earnestly that it would not rain and it did not rain on the land for 3 and a half years. And here's a bit of a spoiler. Again, he prayed, and the heavens gave rain and the earth produced its crops. Now that is very interesting because in 1 kings, we don't get that side of story. Here we learn that Elijah didn't just say there will be no rain.

He prayed earnestly that there would be no rain. In other words, he wasn't just a mouthpiece. Who was talking to talk but not walking the walk. He wasn't just spouting things. He prayed in accordance with the promises of God.

And through his prayers, he turned a nation on its head. But here's the thing, if you're sat there thinking, well, I understand that. Elijah was a great man of faith. He prayed and the rain stopped. I'd love that power.

You know, this is a man of faith. How could we be like him? James says, no no, he was a human being just like us. Wow. He was a human being just like us.

Same God, same dark days, Same sinful nature, but he prayed and the Lord moved. And so although we don't have the same control over the reins, although we would like that particularly when holiday comes around, this was a this was a special work of God, the point is when we pray in line with God's promises, he really can do extraordinary things. For his own glory. Really, really can. On a national scale, you see, how is it that the dry desert in which we live It's gonna flow with the living water of the gospel.

It's gonna be as we as we pray. As we pray, as we pray, Lord, hallowed be your name. Lord, would you cause your living name to be honored in this nation as we pray that the worthless idols would be seen for what they are and that Jesus Christ would be lifted high in our land and that many would come to know him As we pray like that, God says, Elijah was a person like you. He prayed in line with my word and you too can pray in confidence. Then I will take care of you and take care of my own name.

This is this series, whenever we look at Elijah, the new testament would have us say remember he's like you, so pray like him. And so let's bow our heads together now and pray. We have a great God who's gonna take care of his name, Take care of his people and therefore we can pray. Just take a moment perhaps whether you're at home or whether you are here to just to reflect on some of those things that we've learned and to and to pray to the lord. Heavenly father, we do want to thank you that you are the living God and that you live and that you reign forever.

And that your name and your glory and your promises will prevail. We thank you lord that even though the idols of our day seem and in some senses are so powerful, that in the end, they are just vanities. They are vapor and mist. They are passing and dying. Whereas you are the true God.

And you live forever, and we thank you lord for your commitment to your own glory that you will ensure that your church is built and that your lost ones are gathered in and that you will you will fulfill all your good promises, not 1 of your promises will fail. And we thank you Lord that just as you looked after Elijah and Jesus in the wilderness, you will look after us, that you will provide for us, that you will take care of us, that even where there are brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering greatly, that you will take care of them. You have promised to build your church and to bless your people. And father, we pray that with these promises in our hearts that we would be people of prayer, Lord, there is something so wrong with us when we teach these things and we believe these things, but we don't pry these things. And so, Lord, forgive us for our lack of faith and help us to pray and trust you to glorify your son in our country.

Father, we pray for brothers and sisters in Belarus still. And even though the news perhaps will be starting to forget all that has gone on there. We we know that you are still with your people, and you are concerned that justice prevails in the land. And lord, we pray for Taras in the church, and for some close ones who have been arrested and imprisoned, Lord, we we we thank you that you are committed to your own name in Belarus. That you are committed to building your church and that you have promised to care for your people, and we pray that our brothers and sisters might know these realities at the moment.

We pray for the university here and for the students who are coming down to halls, and we thank you for an opportunity to welcome some of them to the services And we pray, lord, as they come to university and get involved with student life and culture with all its meditations and difficulties that Lord the Christians who are coming here would be committed to the glory of your name, that they would look to stand and to speak for you as Elijah did and that they would trust you. We pray that those who are searching for a church would would find a home with us that we would be able to disipher them and care for them even in these times. We pray father for our children and young people who've gone back to school. Again, after a time in lockdown going back into school with many joys, but also with fresh temptations and with lies being taught to them about you. We pray, Lord, that they would hold fast to the promises they learn in this place and would trust you as the living God.

We pray father for those in the church who can't be with us today, and we ask you that you would bless them and that your word would have been an encouragement to them today. And we pray for those who are struggling, maybe with all kinds of physical or mental health complications, and we pray that in their own dark days. They would know your provision and would love your name. We pray for a couple John and Anja in the church particularly anya, who waters broke this week, almost 10 weeks 10 weeks early. And we we thank you lord that all seems to be well with anya and their baby girl, and we just asked that you would graciously provide for them in this little dark moment and that they would look to you and love your name.

We pray for John that you would give him wisdom as he works out what to do with his work, whether to whether to cut, whether to stop work, or whether to carry on, and all those difficult decisions, we pray that you would help him and and lots of others like them who are suffering in different ways. To know your good word and your promises. And we ask all of these things in Jesus' name, amen.

Preached by Tom Sweatman
Tom Sweatman photo

Tom is an Assistant Pastor at Cornerstone and lives in Kingston with his wife Laura and their two children.

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