Sunday, February 05, 2017

Sermon Starters: Prophets and Kings

I was supposed to preach tonight for the Sunday evening service at College Wesleyan Church. I felt ill and didn't end up being able to do it. My Dad's cousin Herbert Mohler ended up speaking on the spot, and I believe he used my notes.

Here were my notes for that sermon:

Prophets and Kings
Starting Text: 1 Kings 16:29-34

Every people has good and bad rulers. At the time, good people often disagree on whether their ruler is good or bad. So many Christians considered President Obama a prime candidate for the antichrist, others didn't. Similarly, now many Christians consider President Trump a likely candidate, others think he is an answer to prayer.

My intention tonight is not to form a verdict on these presidents but to look at the various situations and responses of God's prophets, under both good and bad kings. What we find is that even good kings sometimes did bad and occasionally even a bad king had a good moment. But how did God's prophets respond?

Ahab (875-850-ish BC) was the worst king yet.
  • He married a devotee of Ba'al (lesson on marrying someone of like faith)
  • He built a temple to Ba'al in Samaria with an altar to Ba'al. He constructed an Asherah pole.
  • His context included the rebuilding of Jericho with two child sacrifices (to the god Molech?)
Hopefully we will never see a violent, idolatrous king like Ahab. How did the prophets engage him?

1. Elijah interceded with God for intervention
caused a drought (see James 5). In this case, God's action showed that he supported the drought.

2. He used God's power to help the needy and the sick--he even raised a boy from the dead.
a widow, a multiplying miracle -- There is a time to take care of the needy, the desperate, the oppressed, the stranger, even when other major events are taking place

3. Obadiah worked stealthily for the LORD for a godless regime.
He worked for the king while hiding prophets of YHWH. Some might call him a traitor, a compromiser, a coward. But the LORD used him. When necessary he did what he needed to (relayed an order to the king). (Also wrote the book of Obadiah, which was against Edom, an influence on Jericho, perhaps including child sacrifice).

4. Elijah took taunts that applied better to his taunter
"O troubler of Israel." (1 Kings 18). The bully king called Elijah this, but it was actually true of king Ahab himself.

5. He spoke truth to power.
Elijah told Ahab and Jezebel what they were doing wrong, just like Nathan had done to David, a good king.

6. He engaged in an actual battle after God made his reality known.
the 450 prophets he killed on Mt. Carmel. Don’t recommend this today. But God sanctioned it with a clear miracle.

7. People tried to kill him. 
Jezebel in particular

8. He got depressed. There were times he had trouble hearing God.
and after a great victory (1 Kings 19) – the cave scene, the still small voice

9. No one is indispensable.
God had 7000 who had never bowed to Ba’al

10. He set a coup in motion. (1 Kings 19)
Again, don’t recommend it. Elisha was the one who followed up. But the overthrower, Jehu, was later judged for how he slaughtered all of Ahab’s sons.

11. He mentored a successor. 
He got Elisha ready and gave him his mantel.

12. God received him in glory.
And that makes it worth it all.

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