Have you ever noticed how many warning signs and warning labels there are these days? We see them on food products and personal hygiene items. We hear them on advertisements for prescription drugs. They’re everywhere and in my opinion many of them go a bit overboard.
This week found out that I’m not the only one who feels that way. There is an anti-lawsuit organization in Michigan that keeps track of warning labels that they deem to be unnecessary to help show the negative impact these warnings can have on businesses. This watchdog group has even compiled a list of what they think of as the silliest. Here’s a few examples.
- They found an ad for a tractor that came with this warning: “Caution: Avoid death.”
- You may have heard of this next one. They found a stroller with a warning label on it that said, “Warning: remove infant before folding stroller for storage.”
- They found a Batman costume that said, “Warning: Cape does not enable user to fly.” This one was silly because everyone knows Batman can’t fly, that’s Superman!
- One more and this is my favorite. They found a sign on an electric fence that said, “Touching wires causes instant death. Two hundred dollar fine.”
I can see that you agree these warning signs are too funny to take seriously but there are warnings we should heed. There are times in life when we NEED to be warned that we are in a dangerous situation, and that we need to listen up or face some pretty devastating consequences.
I remember going to the Grand Canyon many years ago and the views were spectacular. The problem was they were so beautiful that people would not watch where they were going so they had signs all over the place warning people to be careful not to get too close to the edge. I read this week that since they started keeping records over seven hundred people have been killed in the Grand Canyon and most of them died because they got too close to the canyon rim and fell to their deaths. They didn’t heed the warning signs. They were so busy looking OUT that they didn’t look DOWN.
I bring all this up because in our study of The Story this past week we looked at a special group of people, special MESSENGERS that God gave the job of WARNING the Hebrews.
Their task was to warn them that if they didn’t change their behavior destruction was coming. In 2nd Chronicles 35:15 it says, “The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them (the Hebrews) through His messengers again and again because He had pity on His people…”
Understand. God sent these messengers, also known as “prophets” BEFORE the Hebrews “fell off the edge” so to speak before tragedy struck, before there was devastation, before sin took root so as to warn His people in time for them to make some changes.
To review a bit last week we studied how the nation of Israel split into TWO nations: Israel in the north and Judah in the south. And, the years that followed that split were a chapter in the history of God’s chosen people when things went from bad to worse. These were years of spiritual decline and unprecedented immorality, 208 years to be exact.
To give you an idea of how bad the decline was according to the Biblical record during these 208 years the combined kingdoms had thirty-eight different kings and only five were good. The rest were described as evil and they led the Hebrews to do evil things. Now,try to imagine what that would be like. In the good old U.S. of A. we’ve had 44 presidents over a period slightly longer than the divided kingdom’s 208 years. A few of these leaders were less than stellar, but I don’t know of anyone who would describe any of our presidents as being outright EVIL. In fact, in my lifetime, I can think of only a handful of WORLD rulers whom we would describe as evil, Hitler, Stalin, Idi Ammin, Pol Pot, etc.
But Israel, God’s chosen nation, the people through whom God would reveal Himself to the rest of the world as part of His plan to create a perfect community in just 208 years they had 33 rulers that God’s book judges as being EVIL. This is because these kings allowed and even encouraged abominable practices to go on, making this a sad time indeed in this part of God’s story. Over and over we read about God using tragic words like these to describe these evil rulers: “You followed the ways of Jeroboam and caused My people to sin.” (1 Kings 16:2)
And the main sin of these rulers, the root of all their decadence was IDOLATRY and you should remember that it started with the “Boam brothers.” King Jeroboam in the northern kingdom became afraid that his people would go south to worship in the temple so he had two golden calves made and invented his own substitute religion. He told the people, “Don’t go south to worship. Traffic is a mess. You can never find a parking place near the temple. Just stay here and worship these idols.” King Rehoboam in the south led his people to worship false gods as well and, over the years the idolatry in both kingdoms got worse and worse. It got so bad that, to be honest, if I were God, I would have quit and started over, you know, hit the “delete” key, wipe these rebellious people off the face of the earth and begin again but as you remember from Noah’s part of The Story, God did that once and promised never to do it again and God never breaks His promises. Besides, as Frazee puts it, “God loves His chosen people, even if they don’t reciprocate. It’s the part of the Upper Story that is so difficult for us to comprehend: God loves us no matter what, and despite our rebellion, He wants nothing more than to call us back to Him so He can live with us.”
For 208 years God patiently waited for His children to heed His call, give up their idols, and return to Him but He didn’t wait passively. No, He sent these special MESSENGERS or PROPHETS to warn the people and to call them back to His ways. They were the voice of God to His people. In fact, they always introduced their speeches with these words, “Thus says the Lord.” These messengers or prophets came in all kinds. Some were noblemen in the courts of kings; others were priests; still others were farmers, herdsmen, and plain, humble working folk but they all spoke the same basic message: “Return to the Lord, and His law, beware of His judgment, and above all things, look for the glorious future day of the Messiah.”
In the Northern kingdom alone, God raised up nine prophets during this 208-year period to try and convince the people to turn from their sin. Perhaps the best-known prophet during this period was Elijah, a man who served God during the reign of a wicked northern-kingdom ruler named Ahab and his infamous wife, Queen Jezebel. Be sure you understand, this queen was not LIKE a “Jezebel.” She was the ORIGINAL Jezebel. She led her husband to promote the worship of false gods named Baal and Asherah and, with his full support, she had several prophets of God executed.
God sent Elijah to confront this evil duo and to call Israel back to worshiping the one true God. By the way, Elijah’s name actually reflected his assignment. The second part of his name, “jah” is from “Yahweh” and the first part, “Eli” comes from “Elohim.” Put them together and it means, “The Lord is God.” That was Elijah’s job, to remind Israel that The Lord, not Baal, THE LORD is God.
As punishment for the idolatry of Ahab and Jezebel and to get the people’s attention, Elijah announced that there would be no more rain until he, Elijah said so. And indeed no rain fell for three and a half years. This caused a terrible famine during that time in Israel which shows that God takes idolatry seriously. Another indication of this is the fact that God put more than a thousand verses in the Bible that speak against this sin. Plus, the first two of the Ten Commandments deal with idolatry and it’s one of only four commandments that has the death penalty attached to it. God takes idolatry seriously indeed.
Now, why is this so? Why is idolatry such a big deal? Well, remember what we’ve seen so far in our study. THE STORY is all about the glory of God and idolatry tries to steal God’s glory. Plus, God loves us so He is ZEALOUS for a relationship with you and me, an exclusive one.
As I said last week idolatry is still around in our day and age. It’s more subtle, we don’t see any golden calves these days but many people still push God off His throne and worship modern day idols. This week I read of a “tool” that we can use to put ferret out our own personal “idols” and believe it or not it was “invented” way back in the 17th century by a Puritan preacher named David Clarkson. Clarkson came up with several questions that can help people identify the idols in their hearts and Kyle Idleman of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville has reframed them brought them up-to-date and made them into excellent “idol diagnostic tools” for us to use. Here they are. See if they bring an idol you are worshiping perhaps without even knowing it, into the light.
Question #1 “What are you most disappointed with right now?” Maybe it’s your career or your financial status or whatever but this is a good question for us to consider because the thing we are most disappointed with points to something we have put our hope in. We must remember that only God can give us TRUE hope, a hope that is steadfast and sure.
Question #2 “What do you sacrifice your time and money for?” Remember, the Bible says, “Where your treasure is, that’s where your heart is.” Our checkbooks and our credit card bills can reveal the “god” within our hearts, the “god” we truly worship.
Question #3 “What do you worry about? What scares you?” This is a good question because the answer can show who or what we revere or fear the most. Elizabeth Elliot addressed this one and said, “The love of God has wrapped us round from before the foundations of the world. If we fear Him–that is, if we are brought to our knees before Him, reverence and worship Him in absolute assurance of his sovereignty, we cannot possibly be afraid of anything else. To love God is to destroy all other fear. To love the world is to be afraid of everything–what it may think of me, what it may do to me, what may happen today or tomorrow for which I am not prepared.”
I would agree with Mrs. Elliot because as the Psalmist said, “The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1 RSV). Fearing anything but God is elevating it to idol status. It also reduces God to a being Who either does not care about our needs or is not able to meet them.
Question #4 “Where do you go when you get hurt or when life is hard? Where do you go to find comfort?” If we go to anyone or anything other than God there’s a good chance that thing or person has become an idol.
Question #5 “Whose applause do you long for?” Who do you most want to please in life? If the answer is not GOD you could have a problem.
Whatever these questions lead you to discover don’t be surprised if there is a drought in your life that matches up with the thing that has become equal to God in your heart. God is not going to bless His primary competition. If your career has reached idol status if it becomes more important than God don’t be surprised by that pink slip. If finances are number one, if your security is linked to the size of your bank account, don’t be surprised if your balances shrink.
God won’t bless His competition because He wants us to realize Who He really is, that He is the one TRUE God. And the opposite is also true. When we put God first, when we put Him in the right place, we shouldn’t be surprised if He showers us with blessings. I’ve seen this. People who put God first in their careers, people who work with integrity as unto the Lord, are often elevated to jobs of high status just as Joseph was! And people who honor God with their finances, people who tithe and are good stewards of their money, people God can trust with material blessings tend to have an abundance of them!
Okay, let’s get back to this part of The Story. Three and a half years into the drought and famine, Elijah challenged Ahab to a duel of sorts. In 1st Kings 18:19ff Elijah says to Ahab,
‘Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.’ So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel.” Elijah went before the people and said, ‘How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.’ But the people said nothing. Then Elijah said to them, ‘I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. Get two bulls for us. Let them choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire, he is God.’ Then all the people said, ‘What you say is good.’
I’m sure the prophets of Baal were happy with this challenge because Baal was predominantly thought of as the god of weather, lightening and rain. So the challenge was accepted. Everyone gathered at Mt. Carmel near modern day Haifa. Two bulls were chosen, one for each altar. The 850 false prophets went first. They tried from early morning until late in the afternoon in vain to get their “god” to respond. They ranted and raved and cut themselves to get his attention. They danced around the altar and begged Baal to show up, all to no avail. And at this point Elijah gives us what may be the first historical record of “trash talk.” Look at 1st Kings 18:27 or page 168 in The Story. “At noon Elijah began to taunt them. ‘Shout louder!’ he said. ‘Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.’” I can’t help but remember a scene from The Avengers movie. The incredible Hulk is fighting with Loki, who considers himself to be a god and demands that he be treated as such. Hulk responds by grabbing Loki by the ankle and slamming him into the floor over and over again while shouting, “Puny ‘god!’”
Elijah didn’t do any slamming yet. he just sarcastically ridiculed these false prophets verbally. I like how The Living Bible parapharses it,“Elijah began mocking them. ‘You’ll have to shout louder,’ he scoffed. ‘for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is daydreaming, or is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be wakened.’” This went on all day and nothing happened. Can you imagine what that altar looked like at this point? Remember it’s hot, a drought is going on. Flies are buzzing around, the carcass of the bull is rotting as the sweating, smelling frantic false prophets continue their self-mutilating antics to no avail. Finally late that afternoon they gave up. It was Elijah’s turn and at this point he does a little showboating by kicking his challenge up a notch. Elijah has his assistants pour water all over his altar not once but three times. You may wonder, “If there was a drought, where did they get the water?”
I used to wonder that too until I went to Israel and stood on Mt. Carmel because I could see the Mediterranean. It’s close, just over the next hill, so they must have used sea water. Elijah had them haul the water up there from the sea to make sure that anything combustible was completely soaked. He even had them dig a trench around the altar and fill it with water. As Frazee puts it, ‘Even a Boy Scout troop with propane torches wouldn’t have been able to get a fire going anywhere near this altar.” Then Elijah prayed: “‘O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.’ Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, ‘The Lord, he is God! The Lord, he is God!’” (1 Kings 36:18ff)
Understand, Elijah had barely ended his petition when God answered by sending fire to consume not only the bull which Elijah had drenched with water, but the stone altar as well. It was as if the Starship Enterprise was in orbit and put its main phaser banks on full power and aimed it at Mt. Carmel. Everything vaporized, even the stone. And the people got the message. They called out the meaning of Elijah’s name and exclaimed that Yahweh alone was God! Then Elijah commanded that those 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah be seized and executed according to the law of God written in Deuteronomy 7. And when that was done, Elijah prayed that God would end the drought. He sent his assistant to watch for approaching clouds while he prayed seven times and finally a small cloud the size of a man’s fist could be seen on the distant horizon. Elijah advised Ahab to head for Jezreel and avoid the approaching downpour. Then, as the rain fell, Elijah tucked his robe into his belt so he wouldn’t trip over it and in true Forrest Gump fashion ran ahead of the royal chariot the entire 16 miles back to the city gates. Can you imagine running that far in leather sandals?!
You may wonder, why would Elijah associate with Ahab? Why he would accompany this wicked king to Jezreel? I don’t know for sure but perhaps he was hoping that the Lord would enable him to put the final nail in Baal’s coffin by eliminating the evil queen Jezebel and that Ahab then would repent of his sin and lead the entire nation to return to worshiping God and God alone. Elijah may even have had dreams of being placed in King Ahab’s palace as the “prophet in residence.” I don’t know but if you did your reading you know that’s not what happened. Ahab arrived home at his summer palace in Jezreel with Elijah running ahead of him. I imagine that this weak king was still excited about the events of the day, the amazing presence of Jehovah on Mt. Carmel and the joy of the rain falling on his kingdom once again. As he entered the palace he called for Queen Jezebel to share the adventures he had experienced with Elijah, but the story about the power of the living God, the fire from heaven, and the thunder and rain that came after Elijah prayed, all this was drowned out when the king got around to mentioning the elimination of all 850 of Jezebel’s prophets as per Elijah’s order. And, at that point all the wrath of hell poured out of the mouth of this demonic woman as she expressed her desire to end the life of one more prophet. Then King Ahab’s excitement faded as he stood by passively and let his queen take matters into her own hands as she proceeded to put a contract out on the life of Elijah. There’s no doubt who wore the “pants” in that family! Take your Bibles and follow along as I read and you’ll see what I mean. I’m reading 1st Kings 19:1-4. “Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, ‘May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.’”
Now, I want you to notice that Jezebel was not only vicious but clever. I mean, she could have ordered Elijah killed immediately. Then again, without her own prophets to protect her, she might have lost her life at the hands of the people who had just recommitted themselves to following God and not Baal. But if she threatened to kill Elijah within twenty-four hours, he might slip into a posture of self-defense and flee. And if he did this, the people might be spiritually demoralized without their prophet leading them and Jehovah might be discredited and her plan basically worked. Elijah did flee. In my mind he was waiting in some outer chamber while Ahab reported in to Jezebel so the messenger didn’t have to go far and when he told Elijah what Jezebel had vowed, Elijah became afraid and ran for his life. In fact, the Bible records that after his 16-mile-run he ran another 115 miles, all the way to Beersheba where he left his servant. Then he continued his “run” another day’s journey into the Negev where he pulled up under a Juniper tree and succumbed to deep depression saying, “I have had enough Lord, take my life.” (1 Kings 19:4)
You would think that after his success on Mt. Carmel, after witnessing God’s power, after killing 850 false prophets, you would think that after all this when Elijah heard Jezebel’s threat he would say, “Bring it on baby!” But that’s not what happened. No, this powerful man of God ran and hid in the desert where he became seriously depressed. And I don’t know about you, but this part of the Elijah’s story encourages me because this is how my life has been at times. I have found that after victories there is almost always a time when I feel down, despondent even. After the “mountain” there is almost always a “valley.” After the good days come the bad ones and that’s what Elijah felt like. At one point he felt like he was on the top of the world. The next he was a wanted man depressed and ready to give up on life.
We would do well to remember this in our own pilgrimages. Life is not just one long joy that gets better and better. No, there are mountains AND valleys, highs AND lows. So when we are in the midst of a “low” we should remember that a “high” will come. As the Psalmist put it, “Weeping may remain for the night but joy comes in the morning.” This came true for Elijah. There were other mountain top experiences ahead, plus, even though he got so sad that he prayed to die he never did. 2nd Kings 2 tells us God simply took him straight to Heaven but I get ahead of myself. As Elijah sat there under the juniper tree praying that God would take his life an angel appeared. Listen to verses 5-9:
The angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat.’ Elijah looked around and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.’ So, he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. [Where Moses had received the ten commandments] There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the Word of the Lord came to him: What are you doing here, Elijah?’ (1 Kings 19:5-9)
In other words, God said, “Elijah, what has brought you to this point? Why are you so depressed? Why are you hiding in a cave?”
I think that would be a good question for us to look at this morning because, as I inferred, we all deal with discouraging times. We all have our “cave times.” So what brought Elijah to this point? What did he do wrong? How did he get in this depression in the first place?
1.) First, he forgot that he was human.
Think of it. Elijah had just spent an exhausting day in the hot sun in his duel with the prophets of Baal. In a very real sense he had preached all day. I remember reading somewhere that a 30-minute sermon has the same physically exhausting effect of eight hours of manual labor. No wonder I feel like a nap on Sunday afternoons! Elijah had been going at it much longer than 30 minutes. Plus he had just run well over 100 miles, most of it through the dessert. No wonder he FELT down!
Have any of you ever seen this guy? [pic of “Energizer bunny”] He keeps going and going and going and obviously his commercials are good. They get your attention. But there is something the energizer bunny doesn’t tell you. His batteries eventually run out. No battery lasts forever. They may go on longer than their competitors but they don’t keep going. The bunny eventually stops, he runs out of power and so do humans but Elijah forgot this. He forgot that even though he was a prophet, God’s messenger, he was still a human one and humans need food and rest which is why the first thing God did was get Elijah to sleep and eat. You know, some people act like it is spiritually mature to go and go and go and go, that an indication that you have a close walk with God is for you to go without rest and good food. But that is just not true. The Bible commands us to take care of our bodies so sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap so you can get the strength to do more for God. After all, we are only human! We need to stop running ourselves into the ground and take care of this physical body that God has given us. We need to quit abusing it and learn to eat right and sleep right. There’s an old Greek saying that goes like this: “You will break the bow if you keep it always bent.” In other words, if you’re living under constant, relentless physical stress, you will eventually break under the pressure. You have to give yourself some time for rest and refreshment. Elijah forgot this and that’s one thing that brought him to this depression.
2.) Elijah’s second mistake was to think he was a failure and that his lifework was over.
Remember? He said, “I’m no better than my ancestors.” In other words, “I’m done.” The first time I read this I thought, “How could Elijah believe this? Look what he just did!” But I read something else this week, something that helped me to understand. I read that part of being human is that our brains tend to remember failures much better than we do victories.
Psychologist Les Parrot tells us that, “…failures tend to take on a life of their own because the brain remembers incomplete tasks or failures longer than any successes or completed activity.”
It’s referred to as the Zeigarnik effect. When a project or a thought is completed, the brain places it in a special memory. Since it is completed, the brain no longer gives that project priority or active working status and the bits and pieces of the achieved situation begin to decay. But failures in the human brain have no such closure. The brain continues to spin the memory of the failure trying to come up with way to fix the mess and move it from active to inactive status.
This is why we tend to remember some of our failures so long, remember them better than we do our successes. And this is what happened to Elijah. The memory of his failure to fix the problem of Ahab and Jezebel eclipsed the memory of his victory on Mt. Carmel. He wasn’t a failure, far from it. Plus, there were other victories ahead. In fact, to help him see this, after Elijah got some food and rest God gave him assignments. He told him that two kings needed crowning. He also had his prophetic successor, Elisha, to appoint.
Another thing we should remember when we feel like failures is that we will never know all our “successes,” all the ways God used us to further His kingdom until we get to Heaven. Only then will we be able to look back and see the “harvest” that was reaped from the “seeds” we sowed. Only then will we realize how God used our faithfulness. Many of you invited non-Christians to our Festive Christmas program and many of them declined that invitation. That may feel like a failure but declining your invite may make it harder for them to decline one in the future. God may use even your inviting! We must remember that success for the Christian is defined as simply being obedient.
3.) Elijah’s third mistake is he forgot to practice what he preached.
When Elijah realized that his victory on Mt. Carmel had NOT changed Ahab, when he heard that Jezebel was out to get him, when he heard she had pledged to kill him within 24 hours, he forgot that Yahweh alone, not Jezebel—Yahweh is God, and he ran for the hills. This fearful prophet took his eyes off God and focused instead on Jezebel and her soldiers and despair was the consequence. This should help us to realize that when life’s inevitable problems approach WE dare not take our eyes off of our loving Heavenly Father because when we focus our life’s gaze on our problems and difficulties we lose the proper perspective and the spiritual power that comes with it. Then we in essence open the door of our hearts and minds so depression can come in and make itself at home. Isaiah 26:3 says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, WHOSE MIND IS STAYED ON THEE.” So when our own times of depression come, we must keep our eyes on God. We must dwell on God’s greatness and power. We must remember all the ways He has been faithful to us or as I put it we must KEEP THE SON IN OUR EYES!
I love how God responded to his pouting prophet in our reading. He told Elijah to go out and stand on the mountain and that He would pass by. “Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.” (1 Kings 19) Then God tenderly said to him again, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” In essence, God said, “Elijah, why have you been thinking all these wrong thoughts? I am infinitely bigger than Jezebel. I gave you a victory on Mt. Carmel and will give you others. I am not done with you yet. And you are not alone. I have 7,000 in Israel whose knees have not bowed down to Baal. You need not run. You need not fear.”
This week Sue and I were blessed in that we got to have our granddaughter stay with us for 48 hours straight, two days and two nights! She is a good sleeper, her parents have done a much better job in teaching her this lesson than Sue and I did with our own kids. I mean, she goes down without a peep at about 7:30 and sleeps almost 12 hours straight but the first night she was with us she woke up about 12midnight crying. I waited so as to let her calm down on her own but as I listened I realized she was very afraid. She must have had a nightmare or something. And, my response at this point wasn’t to yell from our bed and say, “Quiet down. It’s ok. Go back to sleep.” Nor did I bang on her door and make the sounds of an earthquake to let her know who was boss. No,I went in her room and picked her up and rocked her in my arms and whispered in her ear and told her everything would be alright. I sang to her quietly. And in a minute she stopped crying and went back to sleep.
Let me just ask, what do you need to hear God whisper in your ear today? What is YOUR nightmare? What is causing you fear? What has you feeling down? What burden are you trying to bear on your own? What thing in your life looks bigger than God? Perhaps it’s the sin in your life. You want to know God but you think your sin is too big to forgive, well, if you did your reading this week you know that is not true. God used another of His messengers, a prophet named Hosea, to help us see that no sin keeps Him from loving us and wanting us back. In fact, God loves us so much that, in spite of our sin, He sent His only Son, Jesus, the Messiah that the prophets foretold, into our world. Every Christmas we celebrate His coming and the reason behind it. Jesus came to save us from our sins so NO SIN in your life is too big for God. His grace is always sufficient. So I’ll ask again, what do you need your Heavenly Father to whisper in your ear today?
Let’s all bow our heads and listen. I’ll let you do that, listen to God and then I’ll close our prayer time.