Summary: Part 1 of series on Elijah. God uses difficult times to prepare us for His use.
Broken For Use
Elijah, Part 1
If you have your bible
open up to the book of I Kings, chapter 17, page ____
Today we are starting a four-week study
on one of the greatest people of God
in all of scripture.
Let me give you the context of the time period
that we are studying.
After the reign of king Solomon,
Israel divided in two. [picture]
The northern half kept the name Israel,
the southern half called itself Judah.
Judah had some good, godly kings along the way,
but Israel never had one good king,
they were all evil,
some worse than others.
Elijah was a prophet in the northern kingdom, Israel,
and by the time Elijah came along,
the Northern Kingdom had experienced
19 consecutive evil kings,
spanning about a 200 year time period.
Now, lets think about that for a minute.
Imagine that here in the US,
we had not just 19 ineffective presidents,
but imagine 19 consecutive evil dictators,
lasting 200 years.
So imagine that
starting with President James Madison in 1813,
he became an evil dictator,
and ever since then the U.S. had evil dictators,
19 in a row, since 1813.
That’s what it was like when Elijah lived.
The evil king during Elijah’s time is named Ahab,
And who was Ahab married to? [Jezebel]
Some say Jezebel was most wicked woman who ever lived.
The name Jezebel has almost become synonymous
for an evil woman…
And under their reign,
the Bible says that
Ahab did more evil in the eyes of God than any of those before him.
He was setting new records for evil,
he somehow managed to beat the previous 18 at evil.
And Ahab was not just personally evil,
he led the whole nation into evil,
into worship of false gods,
like Baal, and Asherah, and Molech,
People would worship Asherah
by going to temples and having sex with temple prostitutes.
People would worship Molech
by sacrificing their children to him,
and burning them to death.
This was a horrible time.
There was corruption in all the courts,
there was no justice unless you were rich,
and could pay somebody off.
It was an evil time, and getting worse,
so finally God said, “Enough is enough!”
But when he says enough is enough,
its interesting what God does.
He didn’t raise up an army
to take a stand against the evil king,
and overthrow him and put a good king in his place.
Instead, God does what God often does,
and that is,
He raised up one person to take a stand,
God does the same thing today.
In fact, God may want to do something very similar
right where you live.
God may raise up one teenage girl
to take a stand in her class against all others
for sexual purity.
God may raise up a business leader
to take a stand for integrity
in a business that’s lacking integrity.
God may raise up one person
at your school,
or at your workplace,
or in your neighborhood,
to take a stand for that which is true,
so set a godly example
and in God’s power,
to change the whole place.
God often raises up one person
to make a big difference.
So God raised up Elijah.
The first time we see Elijah in all of scripture,
is in I Kings17:1.
The only thing we know about him at this point,
is where he’s from,
because verse 1 tells us that…
Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead,
Gilead is a territory northeast of the dead sea,
in what is now the country of Jordan,
but back then was part of Israel.
(the red lines on the map are current day Israel)
[Elijah] 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."
Now at this point,
Elijah hasn’t done any miracles,
he’s done nothing significant that we know of,
he hasn’t made a name for himself,
he’s a nobody.
but God gives him this word,
and says, go tell King Ahab this,
that it’s not gonna rain in Israel for years,
because God is punishing you.
Now, if this was a movie,
the music would just go, “bommmb,”
because what Elijah said
was about the most devastating news possible
for that whole nation.
Israel was an agricultural society,
everyone was farmers,
and when there’s no rain,
people go broke,
and people starve to death.
The equivalent today would be for someone to announce,
there is gonna be a great depression so bad,
that it makes the last great depression look tiny.
There’s gonna be 80% unemployment,
no gas at the gas station even if you could afford it,