Elijah and the Voice – Gospel in Life

Elijah and the Voice

Tim Keller |  October 13, 1996

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  • Understanding the Gospel
1 Kings 19:9-18
RS 272-05


We’re looking at individuals who have met God in a particularly poignant way, who have actually come into the presence of God.

To understand Elijah’s experience, we have to first jump back. Right before this moment in Elijah’s life, we see one of the most dramatic, spectacular events in all of the Bible. But after that spectacular event, Elijah is afraid, running for his life, and in utter despair.

Let’s tell the story, and then let’s draw out lessons from it. Let’s look at 1) the three things God does for a depressed Elijah, and 2) the three things Elijah learns.

1 Kings 19:9–18

The story of Elijah hiding in a cave teaches us about God’s truths through real-life experiences. It’s about the struggle between believing in one God versus many gods, and it shows the influence of Jezebel over King Ahab. The story ends with Elijah feeling alone, but God provides food, rest, and a personal meeting on Mount Sinai.

1. The world

Elijah thought he knew it all and blamed his enemies for everything wrong in the world. He didn’t fully understand the nature of sin. But God showed him that He wasn’t alone – God was also working through 7,000 other people. To find hope in a troubled world, we must understand the depth of sin and experience God’s amazing grace.

2. Us

When we face personal problems, we need to consider all aspects of our lives – physical, relational, creative, and spiritual. Like God did with Elijah, taking care of his physical needs before guiding him spiritually, we need to balance our spiritual growth with taking care of our bodies, relationships, and appreciating beauty. This well-rounded approach is how God counsels us, caring for both our physical and spiritual lives.

3. God

God often speaks not through big, dramatic events like earthquakes or fires, but through His Word, which can change our lives. God’s gentle grace is symbolized by a quiet voice, and His judgment by powerful natural events. But judgment isn’t God’s main job – it’s a means to an end. Jesus took on this judgment so we could receive God’s grace, helping us understand the world, ourselves, and God through the gospel.



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