This podcast covers Lesson 8 of Profiles of Perseverance Bible Study by Melanie Newton.
The God You Can Know
Like other prophets in the Bible, Elijah knew who God was and understood His character. Prophets didn't just predict future events. They more often taught people in the present about the God they served or claimed to serve. Prophets taught theology.
What is theology?
- Theology is simply what you believe about God. Whether we want to call ourselves that or not, we are the theologians in our spheres of influence. And, it matters if we are good ones or not. It matters what we know about God and relate about Him by words or actions to those around us.
Your life is your billboard. And every day, you can choose the message to display. (Jayme Durant, Acts & Facts, 48 (11), p. 4)
- Understanding the truth about God and being able to communicate that truth in casual conversation and serious discussion is one of your greatest assets for any relationship. You use your theology to give others strength or drag them down.
- We learn theology like we learn most anything else in life: Prepare by instruction, learn by experience. Prepare by instruction means studying the truths about God in the Bible. Learn by experience means to trust in what you believe about God as you live out your life. We can face any impossible situation if we are prepared by instruction about God and teachable to learn through experience with God.
The God you can know
God demonstrated things about Himself to Elijah and through Elijah that teach us truths about Him today.
- The true God is ALIVE. Four times Elijah refers to God as the one who lives. He is the living, active, ever-present Lord.
- The true God is FAITHFUL. Our God is a promise-keeping God. God promised to feed Elijah and the widow and to send rain. God kept those promises.
- The true God is EVERYWHERE at once. While God was present in Jerusalem in the Temple at this time, He was also present with Elijah and with the widow in Phoenicia. And, He never sleeps.
- The true God is LOVING. God showed Himself to these people of Israel even though they were not worshipping Him. They were rebelling against Him. That's His love.
- The true God is HOLY and JUST. The people of Israel repented and declared the Lord to be God. The prophets of Baal did not repent so they were judged and removed.
- The true God is POWERFUL and VICTORIOUS. When God takes charge to prove to humans that He is who He says He is, there is no interference. Satan was shut down from operating.
- The true God is MERCIFUL and GRACIOUS. He promised rain before the people had even repented. He sent rain although Ahab never repented. He allowed Ahab to live. He demonstrated Himself to Ahab in an unmistakable fashion yet Ahab still rejected Him.
Knowing the truth about God leads to choices
What was the single most important event in human history? The cross followed by the resurrection. A gigantic Z. God demonstrated His power over our greatest enemy, sin and its consequence—death. God demonstrated His love in that He did this while we were still His enemies. God demonstrated His justice in a sinless Jesus who became sin for us and took that penalty for sin that we deserved—death. God demonstrated His grace in that He offered this payment for our sin so that we might be declared righteous, perfectly acceptable to Him, by faith. Our responsibility is to accept His plan. There is only one way to the true God—by faith in His Son Jesus Christ. That's His plan.
Our first choice is to commit ourselves to Him.
That’s the same choice Elijah gave to the No Comment Fence-Sitter Israelites. It's either being for God or not for Him. You are on one side or the other. Being on the fence is on the other side. Trusting in Jesus Christ is committing ourselves to God.
Our second choice is to serve Him no matter what.
Serving God no matter what requires taking your stand before God and acting by faith in His name.
- To take one's stand means “to present oneself, to hold one's ground, and to station oneself.” Picture Elijah being physically in the presence of King Ahab as he issued the drought declaration. But, in his mind and heart, he was standing in front of God. Take your stand.
- To act by faith in His name means to obey God. When the Lord told Elijah to go and confront Ahab and the Israelites, Elijah chose to go. He was given a task to confront his culture, and he did it. He acted in obedience to God's commands and not done on his own initiative. He set up the scene so that God would get the glory.
- To act by faith also means to pray and trust God to work. Elijah called upon the Lord Almighty. The God of unlimited power. Our God is exalted above the heavens. We can pray to Him, having total confidence that He loves us, He knows what is going on, and He can do something about it. Leaving it in His hands is our choice. What He does is His.
Women need good theology so we don't get caught sitting on the fence like the Israelites did. So, we won't do harm when family and friends depend on us for counsel. We need good theology to teach others rightly about God, giving them the best information to make their own decision about the God we know and serve. The God who answered by fire in Elijah's day never tires of hearing us individually stand before Him and say, "The LORD, He is MY God." He is the God you can know and trust.
“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope (Romans 15:4, NASB).”
We can have hope because we have God with us. So, remember our lane markers for the race.
#1. Choose to persevere through every challenge.
#2. Count on God’s promise to give you hope.
#3. Let that hope sustain you through the rough-and-tumble of life.
#4. Celebrate the joyful reward.
Let Jesus satisfy your heart with hope so you can persevere through life.
Joyful Walk Bible Studies by Melanie Newton are available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.