God On Your Ipod Part 4: Human
On Sunday 13th August at our morning service, we continued our series God On Your Ipod with the topic 'Human'. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk and then some questions and reflections for you to think through on your own or to discuss in your small group.
To listen to this, click here.
At the start of our service we watched a Youtube media of the song 'Human'. To watch this, click here.
I work in IT (someone has to I suppose). I am grandly referred to as a software product specialist. It is a grand title, but it basically means I spend most of my time dealing with customer support issues.
At times some of the customers can be quite difficult to work with. The problem they are having is never their problem, it could never be that they have done something wrong, or just don’t understand what is supposed to happen, no, they try to put the blame on me.
It can get quite tiring and frustrating trying to sort out these issues on your own. So sometimes I have to look to a higher power.
In my job this means that I go to one of a few places. I can either go and see the developers who can normally tell me how something is supposed to work (I say normally, as sometimes they don’t know, and in one case the developer defers to me as to how the program should work!).
The alternative, which I have had to use quite a bit recently with one particular customer, is to look to management for advice and support.
What about your lives? Are there or have there been situations that you have found challenging or difficult to manage? These could be in your personal or work life. Now have a think about it. Were you like some of my customers, ready to put the blame on other people? Did you try and tough it out on your own, or did you look to others around you for help and support?
What about the other side of this? Have there been times when people have tried to blame you for things that have gone wrong in their lives, or with what they are doing at work? How did you react?
How do you think it would have been good to react?
We have an example of how someone reacted in the Old Testament part of the Bible.
The prophet Elijah went through a series of tough times and we read about some of these in the book of 1 Kings, which is part of the Old Testament which describes the history of God’s people Israel.You can read this by clicking here.
In the part that we are looking at Elijah is on the run from King Ahab, who was described as having done more evil in the eyes of the Lord than those before him. Ahab was basically the worst of a bad bunch.
In a desire to bring Israel back to himself, God had sent a drought on the land causing a famine. God though was looking after Elijah. After a period of being out in the wilderness living off the bread and meat that the ravens brought him Elijah moves on to Zarephath, where God promises Elijah that a widow will provide for him.
What is interesting here is that God didn’t direct Elijah to part of Israel or Judah. That is where the Jews, his own people lived. No, he directs Elijah away from that area, north in to an area not populated by Jews. God is forcing Elijah to put his trust in people that would have had no background in the way that God works.
He asks her for food and drink, but there is a problem…
She is actually preparing to make her last meal after which she is expecting to starve to death along with her son. They are in pretty dire straits. There is nothing that a mere human can do to save them. They were probably in the same boat as all their neighbours. It was a case of when not if they starved.
In this section we can see that Elijah is someone who is looking somewhere higher. In Elijah’s case this is God. He has to rely on him. The alternative is for Elijah to just to try and cope. If he is going to just try and cope and manage on his own it is basically going to end in him starving to death alongside the widow and her son. Elijah though chooses the alternative – something better. Rather than trying to go alone he decides that he will rely on God. He doesn’t try and do it on his own, but he trusts that God knows best and can be relied on. To sum it up, basically, Elijah realises that relying on God is better than just being human. It is this faith and the fact that God had chosen to work through Elijah that saves the day for the widow and her son.
So one problem has been averted, but another is around the corner.
So another problem arises. This time the widow’s son is ill and then dies. I don’t know what your reaction would have been to losing the only support in life you had, but the widow’s reaction is to blame Elijah. “What do you have against me, man of God?”
You could imagine Elijah going whoa, thinking “Don’t put your blame on me”. I know that I would probably be thinking something similar. But yet again Elijah shows that he is a man of God, he is a prophet. Again he goes looking somewhere higher – to God. Again he realises that relying on God is better than just being human. He trusts that God can do something in this situation. He trusts in God and tries to do something about it. His faith in God and his power allows Elijah to perform a miracle to bring the widow’s son back to life.
If we rely on God, I am not going to pretend that everything is going to be perfect. There will still be times of trouble, but we will have someone beside us in those times; someone who can guide us and support us.
In last week’s talk we had read to us the Footprints poem, I’m not going to read it all again this week, but when the man having the dream queries with the Lord why there were only one set of footprints in the sand during the difficult periods of his life, the Lord replied this:
“My precious, precious child, I love you and would never leave you.
“During your times of suffering and when you only see one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you.”
It is this last section that to me makes it clear why relying on God is better than just being human. If we just rely on ourselves during these times of trouble, we may stumble and fall and there is the risk that we wouldn’t be able to get up again. The risk is that we would abandon our walk, our relationship, with God.
Is it worth that risk, or is it better to realise that relying on God is better than just being human.
Questions and Reflections (for you to think about on your own or to discuss in your Life Group)
1. Have there been times in your life when you have had problems, or had difficulties?
2. How did you react? Did you try and blame others?
3. Did you try and tough out that situation?
4. Do you feel that toughing out the situation was the right thing to do, or was there a better way?
5. Have you been in a situation where someone has blamed you for something?
6. How did you react? Do you look somewhere higher for help in that situation?
7. Are you ready to acknowledge that relying on God is better than just being human?