THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH WINNING ALL (ECWA)
5007 SOUTHSIDE DRIVE
LOUISVILLE, KY 40214
THEME: Elijah; A Man Like Us
TOPIC: Hatred And Opposition
TEXT: 1 Kings 18: 1-18
Rev. (Dr.) Stephen K. Awoniyi
In our first sermon we narrated the story of Prophet Elijah also known as Elisa, been interpreted as “Yahweh is my God.” He was a highly devoted and righteous man from Tishbeh in Gilead, who prophesied against worshiping of Baal and idols after the death of King Solomon before King Ahab was ordained as the King. The Scripture says,
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit (James 5: 17-18).
In the second sermon we also narrated the story of Elisha, an obedient servant of Prophet Elijah. Elisha was the son of Shaphat of Abel-Meholah, and he was a prophet in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. He was very dedicated, obedient, and devoted to his mission during the reign of King Joram, King Jehu, King Jehoahaz, and King Jehoash. Elisha became a great Prophet for sixty years (892-832 BC) in Israel after the departure of Prophet Elijah by the whirlwind to heaven, said David Roper. In today’s sermon titled “Hatred And Opposition” we will focus on the followings:
Step 1. Acknowledging God’s Part.
The first thing in dealing with hatred and opposition is to acknowledge God’s hand in any matter. For example, in reference to the man called Michelle, “acknowledging” could be viewed in different ways. For example it means;
A. 1. To admit the existence, the reality, or the truth of something
2. To recognize as being valid or having force or power.
B. 1. To express recognition of a friend’s smile.
2. To express thanks, appreciation, or gratitude for something good or great.
3. It could also mean when you place an order online, you then receive an email back from the supplier which means an order acknowledgment. That reassures you that what you order for will be received soon.
The above analysis reminds me of what King David said about Shimei’s ruthless rock-throwing at King David. The Scripture records it thus:
Shimei Curses David
5 Now when King David came to Bahurim, there was a man from the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei the son of Gera, coming from there. He came out, cursing continuously as he came. 6 And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David. And all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. 7 Also Shimei said thus when he cursed: “Come out! Come out! You bloodthirsty man, you rogue! 8 The Lord has brought upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the Lord has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son. So now you are caught in your own evil, because you are a bloodthirsty man!”
9 Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Please, let me go over and take off his head!”
10 But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? So let him curse, because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David.’ Who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?”
11 And David said to Abishai and all his servants “See how my son who came from my own body seeks my life. How much more now may this Benjamite? Let him alone, and let him curse; for so the Lord has ordered him. 12 It may be that the Lord will look on my affliction, [a] and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing this day.” 13 And as David and his men went along the road, Shimei went along the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, threw stones at him and kicked up dust (2 Samuel 16:5-13(NKJV).
Brethren, we are in the world of hatred and opposition. But be assured that no-matter what happens, depend on the Lord Jesus Christ who is able to deliver you. I wish you understand and learn carefully what King David said about his own son. Again he said;
And David said to Abishai and all his servants “See how my son who came from my own body seeks my life. How much more now may this Benjamite? Let him alone, and let him curse; for so the Lord has ordered him. 12 It may be that the Lord will look on my affliction, [a] and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing this day.” 13 And as David and his men went along the road, Shimei went along the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, threw stones at him and kicked up dust.
This reminds me of the story of our Lord Jesus Christ when He said to His disciples;
Then Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.” 29 So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[a] or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life (Mark 10: 28-30).
The above Jesus Christ’s story means, when you and I faithfully and obediently follow the Lord, we will be opposed, assaulted, belabored, and disquieted. Nevertheless, no-matter-what, put your trust and faith in the Lord for He is on your side. The Scripture says;
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct[a] your paths (Proverbs 3: 5-6).
Step 2: Opposition Develops Our Relationship with God
What do I mean by saying; opposition develops our relationship with God? This means, opposition moves us closer to our Almighty Father and makes us more susceptible to His shaping. Again, this reminds me of the story of the man called Thomas Kempis, who said thus:
Sometimes it is good that we put up with people speaking against us, and sometimes it is good that we be thought of as bad and flawed, even when you do good things and have good intentions. Such troubles are often aids to humility, and they protect us from pride. Indeed, we are sometimes better at seeking God when people have nothing but bad things to say about us and when they refuse to give us credit for the things we have done! That being the case, we should so root ourselves in God that we do not need to look for comfort anywhere else.
Brethren, the above Thomas Kempis’ story means you and I should accept every angry and hostile comment as an opportunity to draw us near to our Savior and Redeemer. That is, we can take shelter in the righteous judgment of our Lord. When we reach the end of the rope laid down for us, we got to put ourselves in our God’s hand, because that is the main source of our security. Be assured that our Almighty Father knows what people are saying about us, and it grieves Him far more than it grieves us.
Dearly beloved, I wish you carefully read what is written below and see where you are lacking. Think about it and see where you need to make amendments.
Am I living as the person whom God created me to be? Am I part of a missioner community that reflects God’s character before a watching world?
Do I trust that God has my best interests at heart as well as those of whom I love?
How do I embody God’s call to mission, holiness, and community? How well does my community of faith reflect the vision of this passage?
Is my life marked by a moment-by-moment relationship with God rooted in faithful obedience manifested in a whole being love for God? How well am I nurturing others in the community to lead them to true faith in Jesus Christ?
Do I live courageously to advance God’s Kingdom, or am I content to live in the “safety” of the status quo?
What keeps me grounded when my faith experience does not match my theological understanding?
Do I love the lost in the community as much as God does? In particular, what is my attitude toward those whom I consider my enemies?
In what way have I separated myself from following Jesus Christ, my Lord instead of committing myself to the mission entrusted into my hand?
Have I surrendered to God my main thing so that it can become God’s thing?
The Scripture says:
17 “Therefore prepare yourself and arise, And speak to them all that I command you. Do not be dismayed before their faces, Lest I dismay you before them. 18 For behold, I have made you this day A fortified city and an iron pillar, And bronze walls against the whole land— Against the kings of Judah, Against its princes, Against its priests, And against the people of the land. 19 They will fight against you, But they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you,” says the Lord, “to deliver you” (Jeremiah 1:17-19, NKJV).