“Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.” Surely by now you’ve seen this quote floating around the Internet. It might be cliche, but for good reason –– sometimes speaking the truth is hard! Sometimes telling the truth comes with severe consequences because other people don’t always want to hear it. The crazy thing about telling the truth is, even when it’s hard to speak, it’s the most loving thing we can do for another person. Telling the truth is always more loving than telling a lie. As we continue our journey with the prophet Elijah, this week we’ll watch as he speaks some really difficult truths to the king of Israel…with amazing, God-inspired results!
1. Fear the Lord.
1 Kings 18:1-6
- Obadiah is a character worth considering. He worked in Ahab’s house, which we know already was a hard place to be. Both Ahab and Jezebel were known for their idolatry and their violence. In a place with so much to fear, Obadiah feared the Lord first and foremost.
- Because of his fear of the Lord, Obadiah was willing to make hard decisions. When he saw the plans of Jezebel, he decided to take care of the prophets of God.
- The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. When we fear God above all else it causes us to live and act differently. It clears up our priorities. One of our greatest problems as followers of Jesus is that we fear people more than we fear God.
- Fearing God is an idea that can sound confusing. To fear God means that we recognize His ultimate authority, but it also means that we fear breaking his heart or grieving his Spirit.
What do you fear most in your life? Do you find yourself more afraid of breaking God’s heart or more afraid of the disapproval of other people? How are your fears provoking your actions and choices in life?
2. Trust God in your circumstances.
1 Kings 18:7-15
- Obadiah had been doing a great job trusting God, but when Elijah showed up and asked him to talk to Ahab, Obadiah panicked. It’s much easier to trust God in someone else’s circumstances than your own.
- When we see a brother or sister in crisis, we should encourage them and remind them of the power of our God. However, doing that for someone else is often easier than doing it for ourselves. God wants us to learn how to trust him in our own circumstances and crises.
- That kind of courage also requires faithfulness. Our faith in yesterday’s crisis does not necessarily mean we’re trusting God today. When our circumstances confuse or upset us, we need to take a step back and let yesterday’s crisis remind us that God is going to be faithful.
Describe your current life circumstances, especially any situations or relationships that require your intentional trust in God. How are you doing at trusting God in your present circumstances?
3. Speak the truth.
1 Kings 18:16-19
- Elijah’s words might have been to the king of Israel, but the message and the mission would change all of Israel. His courage to speak the truth led to a wider movement among God’s people. We are also part of something bigger than ourselves–the church.
- Ephesians 4:25 says that we are to each speak truth to our neighbor. As the church lying to one another is going to distort the work of God.
- Speak the truth in love. Elijah’s love for the Lord and for his people drove him to speak up on their behalf.
- Speak the truth to power. Elijah did not allow himself to be intimidated by this king, but simply spoke as God instructed.
- Speak up in circumstances of injustice. Elijah did not sugar coat the situation. God used the true words of Elijah to point people away from their false gods and back to himself.
Can you remember a time it was really hard to be honest and speak the truth to someone else? What was your motive for being truthful, and what were the results? What is a situation you’re faced with right now where God is inviting you to speak the truth?
Optional Follow-up Questions:
- What makes you say that?
- How do you feel about that?
- How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor?
- Why did God design it to work that way? Why not just do (whatever else) instead?
- What would you say to someone who disagrees with that?
- Why do we really have to do it like that? Why can’t we just go (some other route) instead?