Summary: Elijah encounters Obadiah and confronts him about his allegiance to a pagan king
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Elijah in the conflict I Kings 18:1-19
So far we’ve seen that Elijah had been sent by God to give Ahab who was a wicked king a message or maybe a weather report would be a better description. Ahab was told that there would be no more rain until the Elijah said so. And then we saw how God directed and provided for the prophet as he sent him to Cherith where he was fed by birds and provided water from the brook. From there he was sent to Zaraphath where God provided enough meal to make food for the widow, her son and the prophet. And during his stay in her home we saw how her son got sick and died and then the prophet miraculously raised the boy from the dead.
You will also remember how last week I spoke of the pain we experience and the process of grieving as we go through with the death of a loved one. And I spoke about how we can minister to others during these difficult times. It was said that a man came to Buddha and told him, “The love of my life has died and I don’t feel like I can live any longer.” Buddha said, “Go to every home in town and ask if they ever experienced loss through death. If the answer is no, then ask them for a kernel of corn and come back when your bowl is full.” It wasn’t much of an answer to his question but it does demonstrate how everyone faces the same thing in life. At one time or another we will all experience the process of grieving the loss of our loved ones. And then you will remember how I reminded you at the close, how each of us has an appointment with death using what I hope is becoming a very memorable verse from Hebrews 9:27, “It is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgement.”
Well, we all see all this and say, “Where is God’s power today?” The scripture says that Elijah was just an ordinary man but very few of us have had birds bring our food or the material for biscuits to appear supernaturally. And as I said, “God can and does provide today but maybe we should be grateful that we don’t have to have such needs. These were provided for people who had absolutely nothing else.”
I believe God still demonstrates His power today but the question is, do we really want to see it? Acts 1:8 says, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses unto Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” In the greek the word for power is dynamis. From this we get the word dynamite. It’s an explosive power that can change lives. As we die to self and become His witnesses we will experience this power and enjoy the ultimate miracle which is seeing people redeemed from sin and then living for all of eternity.
Before we look into the passage that I read let me take a few minutes and focus on the role of the prophet. I want to point out four marks of a true prophet. This list isn’t exhaustive but it serves to demonstrate for us just who Elijah is.
1 As I said before he is an ordinary man. I don’t think I can emphasize this enough. Like all the rest of the prophets he was a person just like us. He was one whom God had decided to use for His specific purposes. I’ve tried to establish this at the beginning of every message by referring to the verse in James that describes Elijah as, “a man of like passions.” This verse tells us that he’s just like you and I and God uses him anyway. Listen, if God used someone extra-ordinary person who could wow the crowds with his good looks and magnetic personality then who would get the glory. Obviously, it would go to the man and not to God. So we have to see Elijah as an ordinary man and not be guilty of painting him as some wild eyed prophet with long gray hair blowing in the breeze or we will miss the miraculous. And that is that God uses ordinary, everyday people. People just like you and I.
2 He was an obedient man. One thing we notice about Elijah. He went where he was sent. First to the palace, then to Cherith, then on to Zaraphath and then back to confront Ahab. One thing this teaches us is that, God doesn’t use rebels. He never uses those who have no respect for Biblical authority. In I Samuel 15:23 it says, “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.” Now, let me ask you a simple question. Would God use a witch to preach His word? Of course, He wouldn’t. Well then according to this verse He wouldn’t use a rebel either because rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.