Success Through God and the Attacks of the Enemy
1Kings 19: 1-4 When Ahab got home, he told Jezebel everything Elijah had done, including the way he had killed all the prophets of Baal. 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." Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. 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, L ord ," he said. "Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died." (NLT)
God has a plan for you and your future. He did not save you to live a life of fruitlessness and complacency. He did not save you so you can sit on your inheritance. There is still a world that is dying out there. They are dying and need the Savior you have found. For some, you may be their only chance to see the live saving power of Jesus Christ. But as sure as there is a God in heaven, there is an enemy to your soul. If you are saved today by the blood of Jesus Christ than the devil has lost the war for your soul but he now seeks to make you impotent for the Kingdom of God. One of the great misunderstandings is the belief that once you are saved, all your problems go away. Realize that when you were in the world, the devil did not need to worry about you. Now that you are an heir of Christ, you are on his radar.
The principle we will look at today is simple. During your walk, God will give you many great victories. Many moments when you will triumph in your life. Moments that can propel you into the next level God has for you. Remember, God always has another level to raise you too if you are willing to go deeper. Paul did not have one missionary journey; he had three. He could have stopped after the first and been satisfied with the success God had given him but he still pressed on for the prize. But there is a principle we need to be prepared for in our walk. Whenever God gives you a great victory, you can rest assured that the enemy will attack soon after. He will try to steal the victory, steal your joy and most importantly derail the progress God has given you.
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. - 1Peter 5: 8 (NLT)
This verse clearly indicates that the enemy is always active. He is always seeking to devour your progress, your joy, your victory. Let's be honest here if you are basically sitting on your salvation then you probably will not draw much attention from the enemy. But when you are serving God and God is using you; that is when we need to be even more alert! Did you ever have one of those victories? Maybe you defeated an old sin that had been a huge stronghold in your life. Maybe you had just been promoted into leadership at church. Maybe you just had a life altering missions trip. You come out of the victory on fire! You can see God moving and all sorts of thoughts are racing through your mind about how you can continue to push on in this victory. Sure enough, something happens to challenge you. Maybe one of your kids goes AWOL. Maybe the doctor's report is not positive. Maybe you're downsized out of your job. Something comes against you to threaten you. To get your focus off of the God that just gave you the great victory and back on to temporal concerns in your life. Now, did the devil cause the medical report? No. Did the devil cause the kid to go AWOL or your boss to lay you off? No. But how you react will be all about whether you listen to your God or the lies the enemy will come against you with.
The Prophet Elijah knew all about it. He was not saved to sit in a pew. He served God mightily and saw unbelievable victories through God. He had seen God feed him by ravens. He had seen the cruse of oil not run out during the famine. He had seen God raise the widow's child from the dead! Now there are some victories! But the biggest was yet to come. He had King Ahab summon the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah to Mount Carmel to settle who was God. He called down fire from heaven and saw the unbelievable victory as all of the false prophets were slain! Yet right after that, we come to our key verses above.
Jezebel threatened Elijah and he feared for his life and ran away. The same can easily happen to us today as well. That thing that comes against us frightens us and we run away from the success God has given us. We somehow forget the mighty victories and the problem becomes bigger than the God we serve. Elijah saw supernatural victories and yet Jezebel and her threat became bigger than them. Who knows what lies the enemy must have been whispering into Elijah's ears at that time to make him forget who he served? But in this story are some truths we need to learn from for our own walks. First of all, sometimes the wilderness we find ourselves in is the one we willingly walked into:
Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. 1Kings 19: 4a (NLT)
In modern Christianity we speak all the time about the wilderness or the desert experience. Sometimes God has us there for a reason and other times, we walked into it ourselves and then sat under a broom tree and asked God to end it all. Have you ever found yourself there? Wallowing under the broom tree of life and telling God you just can't take anymore? Well, here is what God will do for you.
First, God will give you rest and sustenance:
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!" 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. 1Kings 19: 5-6 (NLT)
God understands our human frailties. He understands that we get tired and that we often will need revival in our walk. So God tends to Elijah's needs but after sustaining him, He will prepare him:
Then the angel of the L ord came again and touched him and said, "Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you." 1Kings 19: 7 (NLT)