And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. 1 Kings 17:1
The pages of our Bibles are filled with accounts of men that seem larger than life. People like Moses, David, Daniel, Paul and others, all seem to be characters that are so far above the realm of our own experience that we may feel like we can never be like them. However, I’ll let you in on a secret this morning: All of these people were just that: people! The fellow in our text is no different. When I read about the life and ministry of Elijah, I am amazed at his courage and at his power with God. Yet, I am reminded by the Word of God that Elijah “was a man subject to like passion as we are.” (James 5:17) He was just a man who walked in humble obedience before his God.
I am going to begin a series of messages that will focus on the life and ministry of this man named Elijah. We will call this series “Elijah: The Prophet of Courage and Confrontation”. Today, we will focus in on this one verse and talk about “A Man Sent From God.”
- In this message, I want you to see that God can take a nobody and make a somebody out of him.
- God can take any life that will be totally yielded to His will and use that life for His glory.
- It was Henry Varley who said, “It remains to be seen what God will do with a man who gives himself up wholly to Him.” And Moody endeavored to be, under God, that man; and the world did marvel to see how
IN THE FIRST PLACE ELIJAH WAS A STRUGGLING (Common) MAN
Lets look at his humanity – We are given an interesting insight into the prophet Elijah in the book of James. “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.“, James 5:17-18.
As one follows the life of Elijah, it becomes clear that he was a mere mortal. He was a man with a fiery temper, who was prone to bouts of depression. He also suffered from loneliness, due to the life of solitude from which he ministered.
The emphasis here is that the Lord is not looking for spiritual giants to use for His glory. He is simply looking for people who will readily obey His Word and follow Him where He leads them. You see, nothing at all is known about Elijah until he steps onto the scene in the presence of king Ahab. He was a nobody from nowhere, but he was handpicked by the Lord God to do His will and to carry His message to a wayward nation.
God doesn’t need the rich, the educated, the intelligent, the beautiful or the movers and shakers of this word to get His work done. (Remember David? – 1 Sam. 16:6-7, 12) God has chosen to work through the lives of men and women who will simply yield themselves to the will of God and, who will like Isaiah, say “Here am I, send me!” Isa. 6:8. The bottom line is this: God wants your obedient surrender to His will more than He wants anything else you can give to Him, 1 Sam. 15:22.)
IN THE SECOND PLACE ELIJAH WAS A SEPARATED (Courageous) MAN
There are several statements that speak to the character of Elijah:
First His Name – His very name tells us his testimony. The name Elijah means “My God Is Jehovah“. His name tells us that he had a personal relationship with the God of Heaven.
- Every time his name was called it was in direct defiance and synonymous with the separation of Idolatry.
- He Defied A Foolish Ruler – The king of Israel during the time of Elijah was a little toad of a man named Ahab. According to the Bible, 1 Kings 16:30, 33, Ahab was the wicked king that ever squatted upon the throne of Israel. Besides that, he was married to a wretchedly evil woman named Jezebel. She was the daughter of the king of Zidon. This too was an offense to the Lord, 1 Kings 16:31. Jezebel was from a group of people who were ardent Baal worshipers. And she, along with her husband Ahab, did more to introduce the worship of Baal to the people of Israel than any other ruling family, 1 Kings 16:32. This produced a state of affairs in Israel, where people lost all regard for the commandments of God. This is illustrated by 1 Kings 16:34, where a man named Hiel the Bethelite attempted to rebuild Jericho. This was in direct disobedience to a clear command of God, Josh. 6:26.
Second His Home – This verse tells us that Elijah was from a place called Tishbe. Tishbe means “Stranger” and it was a type of the world. A stranger is someone who is separated from the culture of that place.
- In like fashion we ought to be separated from the world. You remember well “love not the world neither the things that are in the world for if ye love the world the love of the Father is not in you.”
Third His Dwelling – in the region known as Gilead. Gilead was a rough, mountainous area known for its high peaks and deep valleys. The very name “Gilead” in its Hebrew form means “raw or rugged.”
- This was a place where men of valor trained for battle.
- Elijah was separated unto the Lord.
- This tells us that Elijah was a backwoods man. When he stepped onto the scene and began his ministry, his methods, his mannerisms and his message were as rough and rugged as the place he called home.
- Evidently, Elijah’s method of dress was as strange as anything else we know about him, 2 Kings 1:8.
It took a separated man to defy a foolish ruler and denounce a false religion. Yet, it was to this king that God sent the prophet Elijah. Elijah walked right into the presence of king Ahab and delivered the message of the Lord without flinching. He told Ahab that there would be no rain or dew until he said there would be. It took courage to defy the wicked ruler!
When Elijah made his announcement, he was declaring war on Baal. It took great courage to stand up before the chief promoter of that false religion and in effect say, “My God is greater than Baal! And to prove it, God is going to shut off the spigot. There will be no rain until I say so. And, there’s nothing you, Jezebel or Baal can do about it!”
IN THE THIRD PLACE ELIJAH WAS A STANDING (Committed) MAN
While the nation was on their knees bowing to Baal. Elijah stood.
This speaks to His Dependence – By walking into the presence of Ahab and Jezebel in the name of Jehovah, Elijah was demonstrating that in his life and ministry, he was totally dependent upon the Lord. He was not trusting the arm of flesh, but was resting in the everlasting arms by faith.
It declares His Devotion – Note the phrase Elijah used “before Whom I stand.” Elijah was standing in the presence of the king of Israel. He was standing in the presence of one of the most powerful men of his time. Yet, Elijah was able to see beyond all the trapping of the throne room of Israel. Elijah knew that he was standing in the presence of God. He knew that here was no need to try and please Ahab. There was no need to soft sell his message and make it more pleasing. There was only one Person in that room who had to be pleased and His name was Jehovah.
- Elijah Was A Struggling Man
- Elijah Was A Separated Man
- Elijah Was A Standing Man
LAST, BUT NOT LEAST ELIJAH WAS A ASSURED (Confident) MAN
His Assurance Was In The Person Of God – Note that Elijah believed that God was alive. He said, “as the Lord God of Israel liveth.” Most of those other folks were living like Jehovah was dead. Sounds like America doesn’t it? We need some people like Elijah who will stand up and say, “You can live like God is dead if you wish, but I am going to live for Him, because He is alive in me.” You see, that was Elijah’s situation. God was living in him and when God lives in you, you just can’t keep Him quiet!
His Assurance Was In The Promise Of God – This man stood before Ahab because he had received a word from God concerning this matter. Elijah had enough sense to know that when God told him something was going to happen, it would happen. My friends, God will never, never, never back away from a single promise he has made to His people. He will not desert you and leave you to flap in the breeze. If He has made a promise to you, it will be fulfilled, Rom. 4:21; Heb. 6:18
His Assurance Was In The Power Of God – He is God all the time, in every situation, regardless of what we face in life. When we are battling sin: He is God! When we have a need: He is God! When we are fighting Satan and his activities: He is God! He is God all the time! Never forget that! What He did for people like Elijah, He can do for you and me. We just have to arrive at the place where we can trust His ability.).
I encourage you today, that where you are this moment, God can use you for His purposes. Whatever baggage you may have, however bad your past may be, or problem you may have this very moment. If you let him, God will take you from misery to ministry. We have this promise from God written by the Apostle Paul to the believers in the Roman Church, “And we know that all things work together for the good for them that love the Lord and are called according to His purposes.”
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