Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Cave Is Not My Grave!

I Kings 1:1-18 (Read if you're not familiar with this story )

If you were to go back and read in I kings 17 you would find out that it reveals an important fact about Elijah, he was one of the inhabitants of Gilead.

I Kings 17:1
“And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.”

The point that I am trying to make is that Elijah was one of the people, in other words he was one of us, he was in the same mess as everyone else, he was surrounded by the same problems and the same sinful circumstances.  Elijah was in the world, but he wasn’t a part of it.  The importance of this fact should not escape us, because Israel’s spiritual condition was at an all-time low.  From generation to generation each of Israel’s kings had taken the nation “progressively” deeper into sin and farther away from God.  Sound familiar? 

The Bible says that Ahab, the son of Omri, did evil in the sight of the Lord above and more to provoke the anger of God than all of the other Kings of Israel that were before him.  And now, here stands Elijah, alone against this flood of ungodliness and perversion.

Have you ever felt like you’re all alone?  Has it ever seemed to you like you’re the only one trying to do right or the only one who is standing for righteousness?  You know what I mean, the only one on your job, the only one in your family, the only one in your school, in your town, or maybe even in your church.  Sometimes to a lot of people it seems like they are the only one trying to live a pure, holy, and separated life.

I’ve got good news for you today, it only takes one!  It only took One David to get rid of Goliath.  It only took one Moses to lead nearly three million people out of bondage in Egypt.  It only took one Ezekiel to turn an entire valley of dry bones into a mighty army of God.  I want to tell you today, the Holy Spirit is urging me to tell you: you can make the difference on your job, in your family, in your school, in your town, in your church, and in your world!

The devil wants you to believe that one person can never make a difference and he goes to great lengths to try and convince us, but the devil is a liar.  I remember what one of my professors in seminary told us, he said, “Always remember: no matter how dark it gets one light changes everything.  The only way that darkness can overtake the light and win the battle for righteousness in each generation, is if that generation refuses to let their light shine.”

When it came to knowing and demonstrating the power of God, Elijah was no push over prophet.  He knew the power of God, through his ministry the dead were raised, the widow of Zarephath went into supernatural provision and was sustained through the famine.  He had a poverty crushing, death destroying anointing.  He was bold as a lion and mean as a bear, Elijah was a man’s man.  He stood alone against a wicked king, and his wicked wife, and an entire religious system that had turned against God.

I know a lot of people that can stand as long as they got someone to lean on, as long as people are backing them up, patting them on the back, and encouraging them.  But if you are ever going to do any real kingdom work, you might as well know: sometimes you have to stand alone.

It’s always nice to have friends that are willing to stand with us.  I’m not gonna lie to you, pats on the back feel pretty good most of the time.  I am always grateful when others bless and encourage me, but I have come to understand a very important principle through God’s Word:  at some point you have to be able to stand on your own two feet.

You have to be able to praise when nobody else is praising, dance when nobody else is dancing, pray when nobody else is praying, and preach the Word when everyone else is snuggling up to the world.  Sometime you have to preach yourself happy.  When David looked around and couldn’t get anyone to pat him on the back or speak an encouraging word to him, he encouraged himself in the Lord.

Elijah was a man who knew how to stand, but in our text we find the prophet hiding in a cave.  The cave is a place of isolation: most of the time when there is a strong attack against you the devil will try to Isolate you, cause you to withdraw from others.  The Cave is a place of Depression: one of the greatest signs of being in a cave is the spirit of depression. Isaiah calls it, “the Spirit of heaviness.”  The Cave is a place of Fear: fear is the opposite of faith, faith always mobilizes, but fear always paralyzes.  And the Cave is a place of death: the cave is where dreams, vision, anointing, and callings go to die.

Unfortunately, it seems, the cave is a spiritual reality.  At some point almost every single one of us, in our walk of faith, will experience the cave.  The cave is a spiritual condition: you can be rich and be in a cave, you can be surrounded by people and be in a cave, you can be anointed and be in a cave, you can be a pastor and be in a cave, and you can be a prophet and still wind up in the cave.  You can cast out devils on Sunday and be in the cave on Monday!  No one is exempt from the cave!

Most of you know what I’m talking about, you know what it feels like to be in a cave, to feel isolated and alone.  You know what it feels like to run as hard and fast as you can and feel like you haven’t moved.  You have to really strain your eyes to see anything good ahead of you.  Some of you are fighting feelings of discouragement because you haven’t seen the manifestation of your promise yet.  You’ve been faithful to God, but it seems like nothing is happening.  The devil has you questioning your calling and your anointing.

The great prophet, a mighty man of God, found himself in a cave.

1 Kings 19:9-10
“And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

Notice Elijah’s Language, “I have been.”  Not I am, not I will be, but “I have been.”  Elijah was essentially saying: I’m done, I’m through, I’m finished, and I came here to die.  The cave is the place where dreams die, it is the place where visions expire, it is the place where passion and enthusiasm and desire surrender to apathy, indifference, and hopelessness.  It’s the place where fear reigns and doubt robs the heart of any expectation of better things.  Elijah Found himself in a cave, afraid of Jezebel, running for his life, wallowing in self-pity, mad at God, and mad at God’s people.  He was Ready to give up, throw in the towel.  But then something happened, the Lord passed by.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am glad in my life that the Lord passed by.  I was in a cave, a tomb of my own making.  I had given up on God, given up on righteousness, given up on my calling, but then the Lord passed by.  I was doing my own thing.  I didn’t care about anything or anybody, but then the Lord passed by.  I was doing the church thing, fooling myself and everyone around me, but then the Lord passed by.  I was lying in a hospital bed with the doctors shaking their heads, but then the Lord passed by.

One word from God turned Elijah’s cave, his tomb, into a womb.  One word from God and the old prophet came out with a new anointing, a new vision, and a new fire!

I am glad that my tomb became a womb and that God didn’t allow me to die in the cave.  And I want to tell you today that it doesn’t matter how long you have been in the cave, how far down into that cave you have traveled, Jesus is about to pass by.  Today is your opportunity to turn your tomb into a womb.

God told me to tell someone: you’re on the verge of a new revelation of the glory and power of God, of a new level of anointing, and you’re getting ready to see the greatest manifestation of the power of God you’ve ever seen.  The devil has tried to push you into a cave and roll the stone over the door and call it your tomb.  I want to make a small correction and turn the T into a W and tell you the devil spelled it wrong.  The Lord is about to pass by, Jesus is coming by and with just one word from God your tomb can become a womb.

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