How the Holy Spirit Deals With People – Part 1

Learning to Listen for His Still Small Voice

1 Kings 19:1-21


I.         Introduction (Zech 4:6) – Discerning the Working of the Holy Spirit


A.      The primary work of the Holy Spirit is to bring a person under the Lordship of Jesus Christ – under His control, and direction. No longer like a child thrown back and forth between two bullies, but rock-solid in their standing and direction

B.       Just how the Holy Spirit takes us to that place in our lives where we surrender, is amazing to watch

C.       In 1 Kings chapter 19, we will see the Holy Spirit work on one of the hardest men in the Bible - Elijah

D.      Elijah is a mighty man of God that, when surrounded by 850 false prophets, he knelt, and passionately prayed down the fire of God, and turned the hearts of the nation of Israel back to God!

E.       But Elijah needed a lot more work in his life – a lot more “perfecting”

F.       How would that occur?

G.       The same way it always has – by the moving, and the working of the Holy Spirit of God (Gen 1:1,2)

H.      We so desperately need to know the way that the Holy Spirit works in our lives so that we can quickly and completely yield to Him as he works

I.         Illustration:


1.        If I had a toothache, and knew the tooth had to come out, I wouldn’t let anyone near my mouth, especially with pliers. The more someone tried to hold me down, the more I might fight to resist

2.        But if someone mentions there is a great dentist, who is the best at pulling teeth, and that it may hurt and be uncomfortable for a bit, but in the end, it will be worth it, most of us, in such pain, would willingly sit down in a chair, and yield as the dentist does his work.


J.        Believe me, the Holy Spirit of God can do a work – but he must be yielded to as he works.

K.      Let’s take a moment to study how he works, so that next time He attempts to work on any of us, that we willingly yield to Him!


II.       Message


A.      The Holy Spirit Deals with Us Unknowingly (19:1-3)


1.        Elijah thought it was just Jezebel working him over

2.        Didn’t know that the events of his life were under the control of God

3.        Usually, we only think God is doing something in our lives when


a.        We feel like praying

b.       Things start going good


4.        The Biblical ways God can work on us – God uses all ways


a.        Through our enemies

b.       Through our authorities – parents, boss

c.        Through our families

d.       Through preaching – strong, and clear – the word of God

e.        Through failures


5.        Remember, this man Elijah is being moulded and changed from a great man to a greater man – and not the way he would have expected – never is

6.        Never think you have arrived to the point that God doesn’t lead you into a circumstance where He is going to reveal maybe just how weak you are (2Cor 12:1-10)


B.       The Holy Spirit Deals with Us when we are Alone (19:3,4)


1.        Such a great truth

2.        The world’s emphasis is


a.        Get in a crowd – get lost in a crowd

b.       Go with the flow

c.        Never be alone - too depressing

d.       If you have nothing to do, turn on the TV, or play the radio, or phone a friend, for at all costs, don’t be alone!!!


3.        God needs us alone, with Him


a.        Jacob (Gen 32:24)

b.       David, ALONE with his sheep

c.        Elijah here


1)       Got rid of his servant who was a faithful helper, but not needed right then

2)       Got away from everybody – a whole day’s journey

3)       It was there God’s Holy Spirit was going to be able to nudge and direct him to victory over himself


d.       John the Baptist - Alone in the wilderness in preparation for the coming of Jesus


4.        Not that He wants us to STAY alone (Gen 1:18) – not good to remain alone

5.        But unless we are committed to getting alone with God, His Holy Spirit can do nothing with us – we HAVE to be His in every way for a little while, every day


a.        In prayer – not just at prayer meetings – you can always tell those who pray already, and those who haven’t really prayed and walked with God during the past week


b.       In mindset – we belong the God – we need to just sit back and “tune ourselves” with heaven. That’s what your Bible reading time is for – like an orchestra

c.        In quiet. Maybe a pure torture for many of you, but a necessary part of your life will always be the ability to get quiet, and learn to shut up, and rest (Isa 30:15; Eccl 9:17)


6.        So, let God have some of your time, but make it a quiet time


a.        Not trying to read your Bible with the TV on, or music

b.       Not trying to pray when rushed

c.        Make a protected quiet time for God to change you through!


C.       The Holy Spirit Deals with Us Lovingly (19:4-7)


1.        Note the bad attitudes


a.        Gives up

b.       Wants to die – specifically, for God to kill him

c.        Complains about his failures


2.        Now notice how God responds:


a.        With food and water

b.       With an angel

c.        With time to rest and recuperate. Elijah had just been through a big spiritual battle, and didn’t realise just how exhausted he was.


3.        Isn’t it wonderful when someone looks beyond the words we say, and goes ahead and meets our real need – is a blessing when we deserve a good kick!!!


D.      The Holy Spirit Deals with Us Miraculously (19:8)


1.        Two meals turn out to be enough sustenance for Elijah to go on a forty day journey to Mt Horeb – Mt Sinai

2.        It’s called supernatural strength

3.        He’s not showing off – He is just trying to get somewhere

4.        And God was willing to get him there – miraculously

5.        He does the same in our lives and we don’t even recognize it


a.        Carries us through the darkest of hours of our lives

b.       Directs our conversations about the Lord when we run out of steam

c.        Supplies our every need as we serve him


1)       Petrol fumes on trips that we shouldn’t have made it

2)       Pennies being turned into pounds when serving the Lord – out of money and yet God supplying

3)       Wisdom when witnessing (Mk 13:11)


6.        Elijah ate and rested, and then was able to get all the way to Mt Sinai without stopping – a 40 day journey – all by the power of the Holy Spirit


E.       The Holy Spirit Deals with Us Thoughtfully (19:9-10) – not mainly emotionally but carefully


1.        Asks Elijah, “Why did you come here?”

2.        Elijah was probably acting on impulse

3.        But notice how God wanted Elijah to stop and think about what he was doing, and why he was doing it

4.        Isn’t that what a good friend is for? To stop us when we are not thinking, and get us to think before we act?

5.        The Holy Spirit drew out of Elijah how he felt


a.        Very jealous for the Lord – very devoted

b.       Very disgusted with society – the nation of Israel

c.        Very isolated

d.       Very vulnerable


6.        We always feel that we have done right, and reaped wrong – feel wronged, and that life is unfair. But that is how we FEEL.

7.        One of the most precious workings of the Holy Spirit of God is to reveal truth – how things really are – how WE really are

8.        That’s why it takes so long for some of us to change – we don’t want to know how we really are, and we don’t want to change!


F.       The Holy Spirit Deals with Us Quietly (19:11-12)


1.        We have been raised as a generation that doesn’t respond unless we are yelled at, provoked, pounded, and forced to

2.        God never has operated that way

3.        You will find Him repeating Himself only about a dozen times in the Bible

4.        Notice how the Holy Spirit speaks to Elijah and directs Elijah


a.        With a voice – words – not just a feeling

b.       Heard only in stillness – like at a lake in the stillness of the early morning – no wind, no other sound

c.        The voice is small – like a child trying to talk quietly, when everyone else is screaming


5.        To hear such a voice you need to:


a.        Humble yourself and quit looking for the spectacular


1)       Like a hurricane

2)       Like an earthquakes

3)       Like a firestorm


b.       These were all what Elijah expected God to use to say something dramatic with

c.        Elijah wanted God to say something big and powerful – wanted God to make a bold statement about how great Elijah was, and how bad the people were, and how God was going to go after and get Jezebel!

d.       But God didn’t!


6.        Does this mean that God will speak to you? Yes!


a.        Assuring you (Rom 8:16)

b.       Teaching you (Jn 16:13)

c.        Always however, only through the written word of God that you have put away in your heart


7.        So,


a.        Listen for just that kind of voice


1)       It is how the Holy Spirit drew me to the cross to humble myself and get saved

2)       It is how the Lord called me to preach

3)       It is how the Lord has kept me out of countless disasters – by quietly and confidently speaking in the midst of my storms


b.       Learn from His words without having to be hammered

c.        And remember, it will always be when you are alone!


G.       The Holy Spirit Deals with Us Patiently (19:13-14)


1.        Elijah is not impressed yet


a.        Binds himself back up

b.       Has had this depression for a month and a half now – not giving it up so easily

c.        So the Holy Spirit asks him again, “Why are you here?”

d.       He acknowledges that he hasn’t been changed yet!


2.        Did you ever stop and think about how much time it takes to save a man, much less change him?

3.        Thank God the Holy Spirit is patient

4.        Statistics:


a.        It takes at least three determined encounters with someone to earn their trust – for them just to listen to you

b.       It takes almost half a dozen discussions with them to just agree to come out to church

c.        It takes weeks of preaching to pierce through the darkness and confusion in their minds about Christ

d.       Then it may take hours of struggle before the simplicity of repentance takes effect

e.        Then, after getting saved, it still takes months and years of working on us to get us growing


5.        Aren’t you glad he is patient?!


H.      The Holy Spirit Deals with Us Purposely (19:15-16)


1.        When Elijah ran from Jezebel, he was running from everything

2.        But God didn’t let him go – stayed with him – worked on him

3.        Why? Because God had a purpose for Elijah’s life – look at all of them


a.        Yes, God had used Elijah to defeat the corrupt religious system of the day - but there was MORE to accomplish

b.       Anoint a king in Syria – make a king aware that he serves God

c.        Anoint Jehu to be king over Israel and encourage him to the great task ahead of leading God’s people in doing right

d.       Anoint Elisha to enable him to take your place – what a task!!!


4.        So, it wasn’t Jezebel that was in control here, but what Jezebel meant for evil, God’s Holy Spirit used for good – and changed Elijah with

5.        From here on, Elijah is a better man


III.     Conclusion


A.      Elijah needed a lot of work in his life – a lot more “perfecting”

B.       How did it occur? The same way it always has – by the moving, and the working of the Holy Spirit of God (Gen 1:1,2)

C.       We so desperately need to know the way that the Holy Spirit works in our lives so that we can quickly and completely yield to Him as he works

D.      Believe me, the Holy Spirit of God can do a work – but he must be yielded to as he works.

E.       How Does he Work on us?


1.        Unknowingly (19:1-3)

2.        When we are Alone (19:3,4)

3.        Lovingly (19:4-7) Isn’t it wonderful when someone looks beyond the words we say, and goes ahead and meets our real need – is a blessing when we deserve a good kick!!!

4.        Miraculously (19:8)

5.        Thoughtfully (19:9-10) – not mainly emotionally but carefully

6.        Quietly (19:11-12)

7.        Patiently (19:13-14)

8.        Purposely (19:15-16)


F.       His first purpose is to get us born again


1.        First birth is a failure

2.        Must be born again



Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church