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Sermon Reflection Questions - January 28, 2018

On Sunday, we concluded our four-part message series on the life and ministry of the Old Testament prophet, Elijah. In this final message, we saw God's gracious care of Elijah during a time of profound discouragement. The following are questions for reflection based upon the sermon and are made available for Willow Creek small groups to use as desired.

Title: "Elijah, Part 4: Comforting a Servant of God"
Text: 1 Kings 19:1-18

1. Leading up to our passage, Elijah experienced several evidences of God's power and provision. Yet, only four verses after one of the greatest (the defeat of the priests of Baal at Mt. Carmel), he is discouraged and defeated in ministry. Why do you think he was so quick to lose heart? Have you ever experienced a rapid onset of discouragement?

2. The text notes that Elijah traveled a great distance, leaving his companion and servant behind. Do you think Elijah's physical exhaustion and social isolation played any part in his discouragement? What contributes to your own feelings of discouragement?

3. The passage describes God's care of his discouraged prophet. What does God do for Elijah, first through an angelic messenger and then even more directly? What wisdom do you see in this approach? Are there any possible applications for us as we care for others, even ourselves?

4. What are Elijah's complaints? What does Elijah want God to do toward the unrighteous? What does this tell us about how Elijah viewed himself? Was that view accurate? How should a follower of Jesus Christ approach judging others?

5. God shows Elijah three manifestations of his power and judgment - a great wind, an earthquake, and a fire. However, the Bible tells us that "God was not in them." After these God speaks in a gentle whisper to Elijah. What did God intend by this contrast? Why was God not "in" the signs of judgment? Why did he speak so quietly and gently to Elijah? 

6. Elijah feared that he was alone among the prophets of Israel. What amazing truth does God reveal to encourage Elijah? What might this mean for us today? 

7. It is easy to lose heart, and to grow weary in doing good. Read Galatians 6:9-10. What does the Apostle Paul say we should do in the face of discouragements? How does God's ministry to Elijah help us offer and experience hope?

8. Finally, we noted that Jesus subjected himself to the storm, earthquake, and fire of God's wrath so that we might hear the gentle and loving voice of God instead. In what ways does God speak to us today? How do you take time to listen to your Good Shepherd's voice? In what ways can you take time to remember that God remains faithful even when we falter?