Summary: Today we will be introduced to the prophet Elijah, who is one of the most colorful and dynamic characters in the O.T. (1 Kings - pt 3)
"ELIJAH, THE EARLY YEARS"
TEXT: I KINGS 17:1-24
Today as we continue our study in first Kings we will be introduced to the prophet Elijah, who is one of the most colorful and dynamic characters in the O.T. One writer calls him God’s lightening in the dark days of Ahab’s rule, because Elijah suddenly appears and almost as mysteriously he disappeared into the sky. But sandwhiched in between his entrance and his exit, Elijah left an indelible mark etched upon his time. Elijah is mentioned more times in the NT then any other OT character, at least 30 times.
It was Elijah who was chosen to appear with Moses and talk with Jesus who was transfigured into His glory before the eyes of Peter, James and John, He and Moses talked with Jesus about what Jesus was about to endure in Jerusalem, on the Mount of Transfiguration.
But despite all of this, all he did, all the miracles he performed, James says in James 5:17, "ELIJAH WAS A MAN JUST LIKE US..." You know sometimes we have a tendency to put Bible characters on a different plane, on a high pedestal to where we can no longer identify with them. And this is really tragic, because in reality they were frail, imperfect human beings just like we are. They were subject to the same temptations, the same depressions, the same struggles, they had their ups and downs just like you and I, and God still used them.
And God used Elijah a man from Tisbite, an ordinary town located in the rough and rocky region of Gilead..... because God often uses ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things.....
So today and the 2 sundays after Easter also, we want to talk about this ordinary man, this greta prophet of God...and glean from his life some valuable lessons.
Elijah arrived on the scene about 900 years before Christ. At this time Israel was politically and economically prospering under the rule of King Ahab. Peace had been established with Judah in the south. And also a mutually advantageous alliance had been formed with the Phoenicians on the coast, who were the undisputed leaders in international trade on the seas.
Peace and prosperity.... not bad things in and of themselves, but before we start a re-elect Ahab campaign -- let’s read on about him. You see there is more to a great leader than simply making us happy, bringing about peace and filling our pocketbooks. Because the ultimate criteria for any leader is what does "THE LEADER" -- WHAT DOES GOD ALMIGHTY THINK ABOUT HIM... After all God is the one who Daniel says brings up and brings down Kings and Kingdoms.
I Kings tells us that Ahab ruled for 22 years and verse 30 says, "HE DID MORE EVIL IN THE EYES OF THE LORD THAN ANY OTHER KING BEFORE HIM." And the Bible goes on to say, "NOT ONLY DID HE CONSIDER IT TRIVIAL TO COMMIT THE SINS OF JEROBOAM (HEY THEIR NO BIG DEAL) BUT HE ALSO MARRIED JEZEBEL A PHOENICIAN PRINCESS, AND HE BEGAN TO SERVE BAAL AND WORSHIP HIM... AND HE SET UP ALTARS FOR BAAL IN THE TEMPLE HE BUILT IN SAMARIA FOR BAAL.."
Ahab’s selection of a mate was not very good.... Jezebel was a terrible women. She was so bad that her name has come down to us as a symbol of evil. Ahab married a women from the nations that God had said you are not to marry.... Tragedy frequently results, if some one marries or has a relationship with, some one who is outside of Christ. Since they do not have the same value and respect for God and his word, they will usually bring us down. God says Bad company destroys good character....
You see Bad company sucks us into a deep and deadly pit... and when, or if, we come to our senses we realize that we are living with and in the filth of pigs; doing things we would have thought when had never done.... Someone has said, "IF YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD AND YOU HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH A CHILD OF THE DEVIL -- IT WON’T BE LONG BEFORE YOU START HAVE SERIOUS PROBLEMS WITH YOUR FATHER IN LAW..." God has told his people not to marry outside of themselves .. but Ahab thought he was above the law --
I guess he didn’t learn the lesson from Jeroboam about it being unwise to mess with God -- (And Ahab like Jeroboam would unfortunately not learn this lesson until he was in the grave).
But hey he was King, Right? He was in charge or so he thought, here could do whatever he wanted. And it was profitable from a political standpoint to him to marry the daughter of a man of influence... I mean hey If this relationship gave him something that he needed fulfilled some desire -- who cares what God thinks about it. And even though Ahab was no choir boy before, Jezebel and his relationship to her, dragged him deeper and deeper into the slim of the world and further away from God...