For a few days we are going to consider a unique man. His name is Elijah and very few can try to duplicate him who was God’s prophet. He was an extraordinary man of God. We are introduced to him in 1 Kings 17 where he tells king Ahab what God has to say as a rebuke and punishment for his wicked ways … see …
1 Li 16:30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him. 31 He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. 32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than did all the kings of Israel before him.
Right here we can see the shape of opposition this man of God would be facing in his ministry. As soon as Elijah appears, his first mission is:
1Ki 17:1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”
It seems for his protection God directs him to a “safe place” where he would not lack sustenance for his body.
1Ki 17:2 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: 3 “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.”
5 So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
God raised up this man for a critical time … and we need to pray that God will raise up such men, both in the church and in political leadership … men who know God personally, know God’s hand upon them and know God’s mission for them. Our times are as critical spiritually and politically as Elijah’s time was. Now let’s consider the character of Elijah, the man of God.
Elijah’s Was a Man of Prayer
1 Ki 17:20 Then he cried out to the LORD, “O LORD my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”
Naturally God permitted the boy to die whilst Elijah was staying there, more to teach Elijah how to trust God than to meet the widow’s need. His prayer is passionate, deep, touching the Lord’s heart. James tells us:
Jas 5:17 “Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”
It’s not that he only prayed twice … rather he prayed once for the rain to cease and another time for the rain to recommence and he prayed in between all the time. Here’s a huge prayer lesson for all believers! He was a man like we are men and women of faith, yet he prayed earnestly. Do we pray earnestly … passionately … fervently? Why was he able to pray like this?
Elijah Was a Man of Power
His power came from God because he knew God personally through prayer!
1Ki 17:1 “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve”
Although Jesus said His followers would receive power to evangelize …
Ac 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
… we also read:
Eph 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
If the Spirit gives power to evangelize, then he also gives power to pray! The question is …”Why do we refuse to use the power God provides?” Is it because we want to divide character into two parts … one for the world and flesh and the other for God?
Elijah Was a Man of Patience
He withdrew from society as the Lord required, for his protection.
1Ki 17:5 So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. 7 Sometime later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.
Until the Lord told him to move on he remained at the Ravine being fed by ravens. His patience is almost not evident but real. How often do we become edgy and even desperate when God’s answers are slow in coming forth? How often do we forget to wait upon the Lord? For far too many Christians we want to run ahead of the Lord forgetting that one of the fruits of the Spirit is patience (Gal 5:22). You need to see the flow of Elijah’s character here … earnest, intense prayer gives spiritual power leading to the spiritual fruit of patience!
Elijah Was a Man Knowing the Protection of God
Although Obadiah was in charge of king Ahab’s palace, like all the staff, he was afraid of the king for he slaughtered people at will. Elijah meets up with Obadiah and tells him to go to Ahab and say Elijah is around. Obadiah is afraid, feeling the king will kill him and says to Elijah
1 Ki 18:10 “As surely as the LORD your God lives, there is not a nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to look for you. And whenever a nation or kingdom claimed you were not there, he made them swear they could not find you.”
The reason no harm came to Elijah is because God protected him. He trusted God to look after him. Here are a few points exposing his character to us and we would do well to try and emulate it through being people of prayer, drawing power from God to exercise patience whilst waiting upon the Lord and knowing His protection.
Dear Lord, thank You that all the resources necessary to follow You are available by Your Spirit for me. Graciously help me to be, above all, one who trusts You for all my daily needs … for Jesus sake. Amen.