God Blesses Initiative

  1. Introduction:
    1. Setting the scene
      1. Ahab (Son of Omri) is king of Israel, Jezebel is his Queen (1 Kings 16:29-34)
      2. They rule the Northern Kingdom from Samaria
      3. Omri was more wicked than all before him (v.25)
      4. Ahab was worse than his father (v.30)
      5. Jezebel s (a Phonecian from Tyre) name was used for the false prophetess in Revelation 2:20
      6. What they did that was so wicked:
      7. Thought it a light thing to walk in the sins of Jereboam
    2. Baal-worship
      1. Baal-Master or Lord, General title for any God served, explains its common use (Golden Calf, etc.)
      2. Tyre dedicated to Baal-Melqart (Thought to be identical with Jupiter, and the God of rain)
      3. Cultic splinter group of Baal-Worship
    3. The introduction of Elijah
      1. Usually, a prophet is introduced in scripture as the son of etc. Elijah just appears suddenly. Reminiscent of Melchizedek, without father or mother.
      2. All other prophets begin their story with "And the word of the Lord came unto "
      3. Elijah was a man of like passions as we (James 5:17)
      4. He, being a God fearing man, read his Bible which of that day was the Torah (GN, EX, LV, NM, DT)
      5. He had been reading Deuteronomy 11, and came upon Vs.16,17
      6. His faith led him to accept God s word above appearance to the contrary
      7. Israel had left God and was serving Baal, But it was still raining
      8. He acted on what he believed
      9. Elijah walked the 30 miles from Tishbe (in Gilead) across the river Jordan to the capital, Samaria
      10. He went right into the palace of the wicked Ahab and Jezebel
      11. He rebuked them for their sin and prayed that God would fulfill his word and the rain would stop (James 5:17)
      12. Then God spoke to him.
  2. What is initiative?
    1. Defined "Power, ability, instinct to begin or follow through energetically on a plan or task that benefits others."
    2. Initiative, is doing something without being told by someone else that it is your job to do it.
  3. Great men and women of faith always acted with initiative
    1. Luke took initiative to write Luke & Acts (Luke1:3)
    2. Moses took initiative to free his people
      1. Used the wrong method & had to flee, BUT
      2. God rewarded his choice (Hebrews 11:25)
      3. God praised his motive (Hebrews 11:26)
    3. David took initiative to bring the ark to Jerusalem
      1. Used the wrong method (Cart) and Uzzah died
      2. Corrected his method and he was blessed
    4. David took initiative to build a temple
      1. God had not asked for it (2 Samuel 7:5-11)
      2. He wasn t qualified to do it (Man of blood)
      3. God rewarded his initiative and descendants
  4. God is a God of initiative
    1. God took initiative in Creation (Gen1:1-3)
    2. He also took initiative in our redemption (Romans 5:8-10)
  5. Bible commands requiring initiative:
    1. Ask, knock, seek, study, go, give
  6. Initiative among the church today:
    1. God s word tells you to study, but doesn t tell you when.
      1. studying to prepare a lesson is not initiative, for you ve kind of gotta do that
      2. Do you study? Takes initiative.
    2. Initiative or inertia
      1. A warning, that anything you do will be met with criticism from someone. That is the price to pay for initiative.
      2. Don t sit back and be a critic. I have heard people severely criticize a church which meets at a time other than 10:30.
      3. I have heard churches criticized severely for having church dinners and festive getting together (i.e. Christmas, New Years, Easter egg hunts, etc.) because it "Seems so denominational"
      4. That is not our standard of judgment. God s word is (i.e. Gospel meetings, church business meetings, etc.)
    3. Minister System and Sunday School (1 Corinthians 14)
      1. We claim not to believe in the Minister system, but often chide the preachers for the lack of church growth.
      2. Without initiative, the minister system is the only way the church will ever grow!
      3. Without initiative, Sunday School is the only way our children will be taught God s Word
      4. Every other Israelite should have been in that palace with Elijah
    4. If men of faith don t act on initiative, men without faith will
  7. Key factors in the character quality of initiative
    1. Seek the welfare of God s people (Nehemiah 2:10)
    2. Seeks the glory of God (Elijah in 1 Kg 17)
    3. Based on Commands of God (Matthew 7:21)
    4. Delight yourself in God and receive His desires (Psalms 37:4)