Monday, August 25, 2008


Day and night are so different from each other that they have become the ultimate expression of contrast - we say things like "they're as different as day and night"
Yet, in spite of the sharp contrast, God ordained that they should co-exist - side by side. Night follows day and day follows night.
Wherever you are on the planet, no matter what it is, you can't hurt 24 hours of the day. - By the same token, you won't have 24 hours of night- And the night may have been long, dark and cold, but there is coming a morning- And the morning brings joy with it.
Night provides the perfect cover for the enemy to surprise us - When God has sown good seeds in our lives, the enemy comes under the cover of night and sows tares
So the surprise comes when the wheat is growing; and all of a sudden the tares appear.
When this happens our natural inclination is to move in quickly and try to fix the problem we must learn to:

1. Ask the right questions - "where did this come from?"

2. Don't react - leave it alone; "be still"

3. Ask God for directions.

I want to examine a crucial characteristic of the night- The night not only provides the perfect cover for the enemy to surprise you,- It provides the right atmosphere for the unknown to threaten you

1 Kings 19:1-8
One of the beautiful things about scripture is that it makes no attempt to conceal the humanity of those bible characters that we regard as super heroes.
So, from time to time, God will open a window and give us an inside view into the lives of the people He uses. - And we read, not just of the great things they accomplished, but also of the challenges they went through.
Just as their heroic feats are put on display, we get a view into their issues and oddities; the conflicts and contradictions that they had to contend with.
We get to find out that superman is after all also Clark Kent.
On the one hand we admire their strength, courage and exploits; and on the other, we deal with their weakness, insecurities, failures and frailties.- Then we get to understand that behind all of those great things that God has done, there is an ordinary human being.

Newsflash: God uses ordinary people!

This passage allows us to eavesdrop on the private conversations of a great man of God. He has just taken on 450 prophets of Baal, and single-handedly disregards them and their god. His courage has spanked revival in the land. - He has just called down fire from heaven
No doubt, Elijah had just stepped into his finest hour.
Then this wicked, manipulative, conniving, ungodly witch puts a death warrant on him.
She sends out a threat - possibly a secret threat. - She doesn't explain what she is going to do, or how she's going to do it, but she makes it clear that he has 24 hours to live.
What does a man of faith and power do when something scares him to death?- He runs! like you and me, he runs- And he does not run for one mile or two, he runs for one hour or two; he runs for a whole day and them runs some more.- He runs for dear life!
Now notice the dichotomy: People are probably still talking about how brave Elijah is and describing the awesome encounter in mount caramel - and he is running. You might ask, "What would make such a great man of God run?"- Everybody has something that will make him or her run.- It doesn't matter how tough you are, if you are faced with an issue that's big enough, you will run!
Isn't it funny how you can go from a great heroic moment of victory to a miserable moment of defeat without any warning?
Isn't it interesting how you can go from the top of the mountain to the depths of the valley without an interval, interlude or intermission?- Things can happen so fast that you don't even get to enjoy the top before hit the bottom.
"How could I have attained such glorious heights and then hit such ignominious depths within the same 24 hour period?"

- "How could I have experienced the brightness of the noonday sun and the darkness of the midnight hour - all in the same day? How?"
"How can I be so brave and heroic and courageous about this; and at the same time be so afraid and intimidated and worried that?"

- How can I be so heavy over here and so week over there?"
Now, you must understand that Elijah is not fighting a physical enemy here- You see, a physical enemy - you can get ready for- Anything you can get your hand around, you can choke to death- But the enemy we're fighting is not the type you can choke with your handsFor we wrestle not against flesh and blood.
Elijah knew what to do with an enemy you can see - after all, he had just taken on 200 of them and defeated them- But how do you fight an enemy you can't see? What weapons do you use against a phantom, a ghost? How do you tackle a nebulous entity; how do you corner an ethereal and ephemeral concept?
So Elijah started to run- Oh no! He wasn't running from Jezebel; for Jezebel he could see- He was running from her threat - the threat of the unknown.
Have you ever found yourself running from the threat of the unknown?- I'm talking about issues that nobody imagines would even cross your mind.
In case you still don't understand what I'm talking about, let me help you

- Three members of your family die in rapid succession; and the devil tells you you're next - that's the threat of the unknown.

- You've got a great job in the city but you're wondering if you will turn out an alcoholic like your father - that's the threat of the unknown.

- Your mother died of breast cancer; and you're afraid to touch your own breast for fear of what you might find - that's the threat of the unknown

- You know you are drop dead gorgeous, but you are afraid your husband will leave you. Why? Because your two older sisters could not keep a husband - that is the threat of the unknown.

- Your friend is diagnosed with AIDS and you fall to pieces because you are not sure you have AIDS too. You die many times before you get tested; you die many times between the test and the result - that is the threat of the unknown.

I could carry on …… and it is only a matter of time before I touch your won particular issue.- But whether I call your issue or not, the truth is everybody has something that makes them run.- Secret threats that people do not even know intimidate you.
=> Question: What Are You Running From Today?
Elijah runs - he runs like hi is possessed. He runs till he comes to the juniper tree.
What do you do when life beats you up, wrestles you down and drives you into a corner?

What do you do in the night, when the unknown threatens you, overwhelms you and traps you under a juniper tree?
But before we try to answer that questions, there are two practical issues we must address
Notice two things about Elijah in the passage:
1) He is Tired: Elijah is physically tired- There are no demons, there are no hex, no spell, no witch, no voodoo, no juju - he is just tired- Something as simple as that
He had defeated hostile prophets, outrun chariots, and performed many other exploits. But now, he is tired.
And people react strangely to issues when they are tired.- It is real hard to be objective when you are exhausted.
Notice what he says in verse 4: "It is enough!"- In the NIV, it says "I have had enough"- In other words, Elijah had come to his limits.
And there is nothing wrong with coming to your limits, because after all, everyone has limits.
But he over reacts - he gets suicidal. He prayed that he might die: "Now Lord take my life for I am no better than my fathers!"
Now if truth be told, Elijah does not really want to die - otherwise he would not have run from Jezebel; or at least he would have gone back.
But he gets irrational because he is tired.
You need to recognize your limits; you need to know how to stop when you are tired.- In fact you need to give yourself permission to be tired.

2) He is Hungry: Again, physically hungry.
The feeder had not been fed; the leader had not been led; the teacher could not find anyone to teach him; the counselor had not counselor of its own.
The therapist did not know where to turn to receive therapy; the comforter was not comforted; the physician had no doctor.
But God steps in and releases four kinds of power into Elijah's life that give him victory over the threat of the unknown.

i) The Power of Perspective:- Perspective is the ability to see things as they really are - to see big things as big and small things as small.- When you are faced with the threat of the unknown, ask yourself. "Am I looking at this situation correctly?"- One of the reasons why the unknown has so much power is that it assumes in exaggerated dimensions.The night has a way of creating an illusion of a situation.- You see, it is not so much what you go through that matters - it is how you feel about what you go through.- And in reality, you may not be able to change what you go through, but if you can change your perspective about it, it will dramatically enhance your ability to deal with it.- Elijah had overcome many obstacles in the past, but he saw this one as something he would not deal with or overcome.And the devil has a way of intimidating you with the very thing you feel you cannot cope with.Remember Job? The thing that I greatly feared has come upon me.- IF YOU CANNOT CHANGE YOUR PROBLE, CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE.If you cannot change what you are looking at, change how you look at it.- Do not magnify something that God has minimized.- Do not make it the big one when God has not made it the big one.
- Now lets see the threat from God's perspective:a) First of all, Jezebel's threat was empty.Elijah had been running for more than a day, and she said she would kill him within a day.But he was so busy running that he failed to notice that the Lord has protected him past the deadline the enemy had set.Left to your enemy, you would be long dead and gone. If Jezebel had had her way, Elijah would not have lived to see the Juniper tree.Look around you today - what is your own Juniper tree?What landmark have you achieved that, if left to your enemy, you would never have seen?Sometimes we are so busy running from what might happen that we do not notice that God has blessed us on the run.
b) Secondly, Jezebel does not even feature in God's discussion with Elijah.She is so unimportant in the scheme of things that a servant of Elijah's servant anointed the person, who kills her.
- Gain perspective - do not make your cross roads a crisis.- And this is the benefit of fellowship - the power of iron sharpening iron. Because when you get around other people, you will find out that what your are dealing with is normal; and someone else has been through it.- It is easier to cope with things when you find out they are normal.1 Corinthians 10:13; 1 Peter 4:12; 5:9

ii) The Power of Preparation:- Some of the things that we call problems are simply places of preparation.What was this whole journey into the wilderness all about?From where Elijah stood, he was running from Jezebel.But as far as God was concerned, it was a way of getting Elijah's attention in order to prepare him for the second half of his ministry.- So, be careful what you pray; because the very thing you are asking God to remove may be the things he is using to prepare you for your entry into destiny.- 2 Corinthians 4:17
- So how did God prepare him?a) First He got him to rest.b) Then He got him to eat.Question: Are you as good at eating as you are at cooking?Sometimes you need to eat what you serveThe feeder too needs to be fed.Are you as good at doing as you are at teaching?Elijah needed to eat so badly, that God sent an angel to cook his foodNow notice, angels are good at rolling away stones, and parting seas, and bringing down walls.
But you are so important to God, that sometimes he will send you an angel just to make you some stir fry.You need to be on the look out for the angel who will be sent to cook your next meal - it may be the person you least expect.
One more thing here: you need to learn to feed in the place of your problem.God has a way of preparing a table before you in the presence of your enemies.
Sometimes we run away from our challenges too soon. Do not move on until you have got out of that problem everything you need to get out of it.
The angel had to wake Elijah a second time and say, "You haven't got all from this situation - arise and eat"
Samson took honey from the place of his previous battle and he said: "Out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet " Judges 14:5,6,8,9,14.
Make up your mind when you go through a difficult situation: "I am going to get something out of this"

iii) The Power of Propulsion:- God uses the problem you are going through as the wind up power to propel you to your next destination.Not a single thing you went through will be wasted.Not a singe tear, sigh, trauma, pain or disappointment will go to waste.- God propels prepared people into their purpose.- When David picked stones to fight Goliath, he did not just pick up stones - he picked the smooth ones.The brook had prepared smooth stones and so they moved easily through the air.

iv) The Power of Preservation:- When God feeds you, it is for more than just the hunger of the moment.God's meal will take you through a full cycle of completion.- Some people are still running on the strength of message they heard 3,4 or 5 years ago.- Learn to preserve what you took away from the problem. The disciples gathered twelve buckets full of the leftovers from their miracle, and took them on their journey.Have you gathered the leftovers from your last encounter with God?


Weeping May Endure For The Night, But Joy Comes In The Morning.