Summary: Elijah lived out a life and ministry of amazing trust in God
Selected Passages from 1 Kings 16:29-18:46
Essential 100 Series
February 24, 2008
Olympic gold medalist Darrel Pace was to give an archery exhibition in New York City’s Central Park, and the event received coverage by all the news stations. Shooting steel- tipped hunting arrows, Pace punctured bull’s-eyes without a miss. Then he called for a volunteer. "All you have to do," said Pace, "Is hold this apple in your hand, waist-high." ABC correspondent Josh Howell took a bold step forward. He stood there, a small apple in his hand, a larger one in his throat. Pace took aim from 30 yards away as we all held our breath. Then THWACK-a clean hit that exploded the apple before striking the target behind. Everybody applauded Howell, who was all smiles--until his cameraman approached with a hangdog look. "I’m sorry, Josh," he said. "I didn’t get it. Had a problem with my viewfinder. Could you do it again?"
We have enough trust in God to be spiritually dangerous. We want to watch as God does His thing and shows Himself to us but when it comes to volunteering to hold the proverbial apple, we back off. We don’t want to get involved in what God is doing if there is some form of risk. I hate to burst your bubble but everything that God does involves risk and trust on our part.
Think about that for a few moments. Each time that you make plans for the future you are trusting God that you’ll still be here. Each time that you pray you are placing trust in God.
Faith is not belief without proof but trust without reservation. One of the great examples of trust in God comes from one of the worst times in the spiritual history of Israel. Israel was in what some might call its darkest hour and that is when God called Elijah to be His prophet. Open your Bibles to 1 Kings 17 as we look at the life and ministry of Elijah.
What do we learn from Elijah the Tishbite?
Stand up for God
Elijah was called to stand for God in the midst of an incredible power struggle. Ahab had become king of the northern nation of Israel and Jezabel was his queen. These were the most wicked couple mentioned in the Old Testament. Ahab practiced idolatry and filled the nation with idols. Jezebel even had priests of Baal, a Canaanite God of the harvest, on the payroll of the palace.
Ahab and Jezebel used their influence to inflict great harm to the nation and its people At one point Jezebel had all of the prophets of God rounded up and killed them all. Ahab was literally placing himself as spiritual head of the nation; he was taking God’s rightful place with the people.
At this point we know next to nothing about Elijah. There was no mention of his work: nothing about occupation or trade. There was no mention of his family: nothing is said about his parents or family at all. There is nothing of personal nature: nothing about his age or personal history
There are a few key facts that we need to understand about Elijah. The first was the fact that he was called to be a prophet. He was God’s chosen spokesman to Ahab. His name says it all: Elijah literally means that the LORD is my God.
"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." 1 Kings 17:1
Notice what Elijah does when he stands before Ahab. Elijah proclaims the fact that God is indeed God. This may sound rather simple but this is exactly what needed to be said. Elijah stares evil in the face and defies their paganism. Then Elijah proclaims that there will be no rain except by his personal word. Why would Elijah choose rain? Baal was the god of the harvest and to cause a great famine would completely discredit the followers of Baal.
Follow God wherever He leads
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. 7 Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.
Immediately after Elijah faces down Ahab God does something rather strange. He sends Elijah away to Kerith. Elijah had just come on the scene and this announcement was his first real task as a prophet. No doubt, Elijah wanted to stay and put more pressure on Ahab but God had another plan. He calls Elijah to leave the area