Revive! Are you ready to come back to life? Testify!
There are certain authors I love to read. One such author is John Fischer. John has a website called “The Catch.” Last June John wrote, “Los Angeles has a new rock star. Literally! It’s a rock – a 340 ton granite megalith. The artist, Michael Heizer, calls his sculpture “Levitated Mass” because of its imaginative display which includes a 456 foot long groove that runs beneath the 21’ high boulder making it possible for visitors to walk completely underneath allowing a view unlike any other. Who wants to go see the big rock?
Michael Heizer said, “Art is made to memorialize time.” John Fischer said, “Only in this case, it is God’s art that is being showcased.”[i]
I understand that Michael Heizer gets the credit. $10 million dollars[ii] made this display possible, but who actually made the rock? God did! Can you imagine someone interviewing God? “Wow, Almighty God, that’s one big rock – quite an accomplishment on your part.” And God responds. “Oh that thing! That’s nothing – I didn’t even use a whole word to make that rock - 340 tons is a cake walk to me. Hey, do you want to see something impressive? Something that will really blow your mind? Well let me show you!”
Turn in your Bibles today to 1st Kings 17:15. Today we finish the entire 17th chapter of 1st Kings as we seek to be revived. To do that you are going to need a Bible.
Let me show you two pictures. This is a jar of flour that Mark Boyer put on his desk at work. Here’s a jar of flour that Deb Dunning put on her table in her home. Why did they do that? Because the jar is a reminder of God’s provision. God tests Elijah. Go to this widow. Elijah tests the widow. Make me some bread even though you have very little bread. If you do – this will happen! Find verse 15. Read 15-16!
I bet this woman is just stoked. She doesn’t have to grind grain. She doesn’t have to press olives. Every day the jar of flour stays full. The jug of oil never runs dry. I can picture her jumping up and down every morning for breakfast saying, “God rocks, Baal stinks!” Because of her faith in Elijah’s God her outlook on life was FULL and vibrant despite the drought! But then the unthinkable happens. The flour doesn’t run out. Neither does the oil. But her faith takes a hit! Find 1st Kings 17:17! (Read 17)
Verse 20 tells us the boy’s dead! His illness started off slowly but soon took his life. She’s not happy! Go to verse 18! This widow has a guilty conscience. What she did really doesn’t matter. It’s all lumped into sin! But people then and in Jesus’ day and even today often believe that God punishes our sin by taking it out on someone we love. Look at John 9:2-3: His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"  "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.
This widow does what we all do. In a moment of crisis she blames Elijah! “OK, I admit it. I messed up. I have committed boulder sized mistakes in my life. So you’re going to take my son because of my sin?” And what does Elijah do in response to her blaming him? He blames God! Go to verse 19! (Read 19-20)
A friend of mine, Robin Hart had this picture posted on FB. “When I die, I want my tombstone to offer free Wi-Fi, just so people will visit more often.” We try our best to make death funny, but it’s not. Death isn’t funny and Elijah isn’t happy either. He questions God! Look at verse 20 again!
Are you questioning God about something in your life? I don’t understand why this accident had to happen? I don’t understand why I still can’t find a job? I don’t understand why my spouse would make such a bonehead, selfish decision? I’ve referenced this book before but here I go again. Brian Jones wrote a book called Second Guessing God. He wrote about a time where he felt so distant from God. So distant he wondered if he even believed in God anymore. This troubled him so much he decided to call a college mentor to get his advice. He told his professor, “My faith in God right now is like a walk on the beach. I’ve taken off my shoes, and as I stand at the water’s edge, the tide has started to roll across my feet. It feels wonderful. Up to this point my spiritual journey has been incredible, but in the last six months doubt has begun to paralyze me. It’s like when the water goes back out to the ocean. It is washing away the sand underneath me, and my feet keep sinking lower and lower and lower. If this keeps up, there won’t be anything left. And with that his friend made one statement that changed his life. “Brian, listen to me when I say this. When the last grain of sand is finally gone, you’re going to discover that you’re standing on a rock.”[iii]
And that rock is not a 340 ton gargantuan. That rock is Christ Jesus himself. I believe allot of us think that when we walk through heavens doors whatever they are made of – we will then proceed to ream God out! Why did you take my son? How could you have let my little daughter suffer? How could you keep Moses and Aaron from entering the Promised Land! Why did you let madmen like Herod, Nero, Hitler and Osama bin Laden rule? And honestly God, who really wrote Hebrews?
The last time a part of creation demanded answers from the creator – i.e. Job to God – it didn’t go well. Job had no answers – only humble apologies. We will not ream God then, but we sure blame him now! Even Elijah did! And then he does something that’s just flat weird. Go to verse 21.
Remember, God always hears and answers our prayers. We get frustrated because it’s not the answer we want to hear! But not this time. Go to verse 22. (Read 22 & 23)
And now what does this widow have? She has a testimony. She has an opportunity to testify – that is declare or affirm that Elijah’s God is supreme and Baal is baloney!
If you find yourself in a spiritual drought – maybe distant from God, ask yourself, do you want out? Do you want to come back to life? Then choose to testify! That is tell people in the course of your ordinary day – this is what the Lord has done for me! This widow’s testimony would have been intense. My son was dead, but now he’s alive.
Testimonies – what the Lord has done for me can come in all shapes and sizes. What I think we all often conclude is – I don’t have a testimony. Inotherwords, the Lord has done squat for me! Really? Maybe we should put a testimony in perspective. Anything that you rely on God for is a testimony! Example: losing weight. How hard is it to lose weight? VERY hard. But if you do lose weight people want to know how you did it. Imagine the looks on people’s faces when you say, “I lost weight because I prayed about every piece of food I put into my mouth! God, do you want me to eat this?” Example #2: Worry! My niece, Deborah Markey along with her husband David and their two girls Abigail and Selah are moving to Siberia as missionaries. Siberia – it gets cold in Siberia in September. I want to worry about them. But worry is not God’s will for my life or yours. So pray instead. That’s your testimony. I used to worry about everything. Now I just pray instead. I used to worry allot. Now I pray allot. This third example hits home for several families in this church. This widow is so happy – her son was dead and now he’s alive. He got sick. The sickness gradually became worse and he died. To have your son come back to live would be the ultimate answered prayer. But what if he doesn’t on earth?
Wouldn’t the ultimate testimony be – our son died, but he’s with Jesus in heaven and one day we’re gonna see him again, but until that day we’re going to continue to rely on God! I can’t fathom saying that – but others have said that and their testimony blows people’s minds!
Do you remember the big rock on display in LA? Do you remember the name? Levitated Mass! That rock is impressive and God made it. What does that make him? I can picture God saying, “If you think a big rock is something. That’s nothing. I bring people back from the dead. Now that’s something to get excited about.”
Did anyone notice how much the son in 1st Kings 17 reminds us of God’s son? The widow is upset. Are you kidding me? Must my son die to pay for my sins? No, not your son – God’s son! Elijah stretches himself over the boy 3 times. Jesus was in the grave how many days? 3! The boy comes back to life! Jesus did too! The only difference? Jesus will never die again! Now there’s a testimony! Find verse 24! Truth is not a concept. Truth is person. He came back from the dead. Testify to the people around you! God is alive and I’m his witness in this world.
[i] John Fischer, The Catch, June 27, 2012
[iii] Brian Jones, Second Guessing God, 15