FOREVER FAITHFUL

I’ll say the name: Tim Tebow.  Everyone knows his name and almost everyone has an opinion of him.  However, no matter what comes to mind when you think of Tim Tebow, his faithfulness has never been in question.  Tim has experienced pinnacles in sports such as leading the University of Florida to a national championship in 2008 and winning the Heisman Trophy, to throwing an overtime touchdown pass in the NFL playoffs, upsetting the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers in 2012. 

But, Tebow is not known for his play on the grid iron.  He is known for his faithfulness to Jesus Christ.  This was put to the test this year; as his dreams of being an NFL QB took a hit.  He is now out of the league after being cut by the Patriots this summer.  Did he become bitter and depressed?  No, he kept praising God and remains faithful to living for Christ.  Tebow trusts in God’s faithfulness and recognizes that God is in control no matter the circumstances.  He has a right view of God.

Christian’s who fully trust in God’s faithfulness experience true peace and contentment regardless of the circumstances.

Before the Hebrews entered the Promised Land, the Lord warned against worshiping the land’s false gods, but Israel turned to idolatry anyway. During the 22 year reign of evil King Ahab and his wife Jezebel, who ruled at the height of Baal worship in Israel, Ahab’s Baal worshiping practices caused a great famine to fall upon the land. Baal was worshipped as a god of the rain, thunder, of fertility, and agriculture.  God directly confronted this paganism through His prophet Elijah. 

  • First, God showed that He, not Baal, controlled the rain by sending a drought lasting 3.5 years which Elijah announced to King Ahab (1 Kings 17:1).  
  • Then, a life and death showdown took place on Mt. Carmel between Elijah and the prophets of Baal to prove once and for all who the true God was. All day long, 450 prophets of Baal called on their god to send fire from heaven—but “there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention” (1 Kings 18:29).

After Baal’s prophets gave up, Elijah prayed a simple prayer, and God answered immediately with fire from heaven.  The idol worshipping prophets of Baal were then put to death.  As a result, a major clash between the prophet Elijah and King Ahab of Israel occurred.

Now, in light of this context, let’s look at 1 Kings 19:1-8 together and go over some main points in the text that will teach us about God’s faithfulness.

1 Kings 19:1-8: Ahab told Jezebel everything that Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “May the gods punish me and do so severely if I don’t make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow!”3 Then Elijah became afraid[a] and immediately ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba that belonged to Judah, he left his servant there, 4 but he went on a day’s journey into the wilderness. He sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. He said, “I have had enough! Lord, take my life, for I’m no better than my fathers.” 5 Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree.  Suddenly, an angel touched him. The angel told him, “Get up and eat.” 6 Then he looked, and there at his head was a loaf of bread baked over hot stones, and a jug of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. 7 Then the angel of the Lord returned for a second time and touched him. He said, “Get up and eat, or the journey will be too much for you.” 8 So he got up, ate, and drank. Then on the strength from that food, he walked 40 days and 40 nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.

POINT #1: Elijah lost sight of God’s faithfulness, which caused polarizing fear.

Elijah ran for his life immediately.   As a prophet of God who just saw God work amazing signs and wonders; Elijah let his fear of Ahab’s wife overwhelm him to the point of running for his life!  After seeing fire come down from heaven you’d think Elijah would realize God had his back. 

Regarding God’s faithfulness, He is at once faithful and unchanging, so all of His Words and acts must be faithful and remain faithful.  Any failure within the divine character of God would argue imperfection, and since God is perfect, it could not occur.  Faithfulness is an attribute of God. 

No verse better describes this fact than Exodus 3:14 when God tells Moses: “I am that I am.” What are some areas in your life right now where you are letting fear run the show?  Are you tired of running from your fears? I once saw a National Geographic type documentary on TV where there was a rabbit in the desert.  Slowly, a rattlesnake started approaching from far away.  The rabbit spotted the snake in the corner of its eye and had plenty of time to hop away; but was completely polarized by fear and began shaking.  As the snake slowly approached, still, the rabbit had a chance to still get away!  Watching it you find yourself saying, GO! Get out of there!  But you knew it was all over because the hare already gave up.  What happened next?  Can anyone guess?  That rabbit ended up being the Golden Corral special!  

POINT #2: Elijah lost sight of God’s faithfulness, which caused him to want to give up.

Elijah ran like Forest Gump out into the middle of nowhere and flat out gave up. He told the Lord he wanted to die. As fallen humans, we become unfaithful out of our own sinful desire, fear, weakness, loss of interest, or because of some strong influence from without.  But, it is impossible for God to become unfaithful. That would actually make Him something other than HimselfAre you feeling like you want to give up because you are letting intimidating circumstances control how you think and act?

In the 1980 winter Olympics the USSR hockey team was such a juggernaut, that just the mere thought of playing against them got in the heads of so many teams; that they basically gave up before the game even started!  Every team went into their game so intimidated by the Russians that they naturally got blown out.  However, a young team full of no name amateurs took a different approach.  Known as the Miracle on Ice, the US hockey team was determined not to be intimidated.  They went in to their game with the Russians confident, determined not to give up, and pulled off arguably the greatest upset in sports history on their way to an improbable gold medal.

POINT #3: Elijah lost sight of God’s faithfulness, which caused physical and emotional exhaustion.

Exhaustion and depression set in for Elijah.  How many times in life have you been in this dark place?  Are you there right now? Because of Jesus Christ, the Christian who is anxious, fearful, depressed, discouraged; may find new hope and good cheer in the knowledge that our God is faithful.  This is who God is.  He’s already established it.

The great Theologian Charles Spurgeon said: “I find myself frequently depressed – perhaps more so than any other person here. And I find no better cure for that depression than to trust in the Lord with all my heart, and seek to realize afresh the power of the peace-speaking blood of Jesus, and His infinite love in dying upon the cross to put away all my transgressions.”

In verse 8, we see that Elijah changed his course by renewing afresh his trust in God’s faithfulness. Therefore he experienced true peace and contentment eventhough crazy circumstances were going on around him. 

We can hold a correct view of God only by daring to believe everything He has said about Himself.  How many of us need to restructure or renew our view of God and His faithfulness? Does your view of God match who He really is?   God is who He is.  He is unchanging.  He has revealed many of His attributes to us in His Word.  If you think that God is unfaithful then you are not thinking of the God of the Bible. 

Christian’s who fully trust in God’s faithfulness experience true peace and contentment regardless of the circumstances.

Authored by: Jonathan Barrett

Jonathan Barrett 

Class of 2013 SeminaryMasters in Theological Studies Lynchburg, Virginia
Currently studying Masters in Theological Studies (Pastoral) at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia (class of 2014).  Jonathan has served as fill-in Preacher at Neriah Baptist Church in Buena Vista, VA in 2012.  He is a graduate of the University of Alabama with Bachelor of Science in Communications and lives in Lynchburg, Virginia with his wife Sarah and two daughters, Katelyn and Rebecca. Jonathan is Doreen’s brother.

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