Summary: For a believer to have authority they need to be people of character. Elijah was an ordinary man like us fashioned into an extraordinary man by God. This sermon covers the basis of Elijah’s contrasting character in the days he lived an example to us.
THE ELIJAH CHURCH CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
1 Kings 17:1 And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.”
James 5:17-18 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
1 Kings 16:29-34 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab the son of Omri became king over Israel; and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years. Now Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD, more than all who were before him. And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a wooden image. Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him. In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation with Abiram his firstborn, and with his youngest son Segub he set up its gates, according to the word of the LORD, which He had spoken through Joshua the son of Nun.
Ahab was 7th in line from King David’s day; seven is the biblical number of completion - – however he ruled over a split nation - after Solomon’s death the Northern Kingdom Israel consisting of ten tribes and the Southern Kingdom Judah consisting of the tribe of Judah and Benjamin split. Ahab was a “false King”. His line was full of corruption:
First two Kings of Israel did not serve God and were alcoholics, the third was a murderer, and the fourth also a murderer, the fifth was accused of spiritual treason and the sixth was described as worse than those who had gone before. Ahab married Jezebel – a marriage of political convenience and spiritual consequences – he introduced Baal and Asherah worship he executed, persecuted and imprisoned the prophets of God.
Baal and Asherah were male and female false gods:
a. God’s that could be bribed – give the right offering and all will be well
b. God’s that invoked fertility and barrenness
c. God’s that required child sacrifices
In Ahab’s time Jericho was rebuilt – so we see a people that had been infiltrated with idolatry, immorality and irreverence. In other words wickedness had completed a cycle of absolute apostasy a sign of the days before Jesus second coming!
The modern world, the humanists, evolutionists, liberal theologians, cults, and New Agers as a whole, think Christianity, the Bible, marriage, and a morality with absolutes are all but dead. Certainly they think moral absolutes have no place having any impact on the political and moral decisions of our society. They say it’s old fashioned, out-dated, obsolete. People living in immorality are often heard saying, “we’re living in the 2000’s,” as though society has outgrown such foolish ideas. It is as though God has been proven to no longer be an issue in life and people can ignore God without serious ramifications to themselves and society. But individuals, as well as nations, cannot ignore God’s Holy Word without serious consequences, which, like water breaking through a dam, spill over into every aspect of society. Knowing and believing this was the secret of Elijah’s boldness, his presence before King, Ahab, and the reason for the drought that was to follow. It was a judgment from the living God.
Elijah had not been infected by the mood of his day or by God’s silence--what people so often mistake as His indifference or unreality. Rather, Elijah was convinced God was not only alive, but immanent--personally and actively involved in the affairs of both Israel and the nations. Being infused with this reality of God and His person, Elijah acted on God’s promises. He prayed and proclaimed his message to King Ahab. God was not only alive and well, but very much operative in human history. This fact transformed Elijah’s life. By the words, “as living is Yahweh, . . .” Elijah was not only declaring the reality of Israel’s God as the only true God, but declaring the fact God was superior over the false ideas of mankind and the pagan idols of the nations.