Summary: Elijah the Man- The Model - The Method. What an example and challenge for us. In a time when our nation seems to be so far away from God, here is a call to return to Biblcal standards.
Elijah The Man
16b. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. 17. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. [NIV]
Elijah simply burst onto the scene at a time of national crisis. We do not appear to have any account of him prior to this; we do not have a record of his ancestors, and don¡¦t know much about where he came from, but it is apparent from the record given in James¡¦ Epistle that he was special.
In the first mention of this man in I Kings 17:1 he is spoken of as ¡¥Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead¡¦ [NIV]. It is agreed by a number of commentators that ¡¥Tishbe¡¦ was on the east side of Jordan, belonging to either the tribe of Gad or Manasseh. The country around that part was notably wild, rugged and hilly, and the people who lived there were of like description! Can you visualise the scene? Here is an unknown man, with a very rough appearance, speaking to the king and the nation in the name of the Lord God! He said it would not rain, and it didn¡¦t! Then he apparently cannot be found. Later on he appears on the scene again and prays, and the result is rain in abundance!
I believe that in our scripture in James 5 we have some very important truths to learn. Here was a person who many declare to be the greatest prophet that ever was. He spoke in the name of the Lord, and acted in the name of the Lord, and there were results.
I want us to note first that Elijah was a man!
1. Elijah - The Man
17. Elijah was a man just like us.
I am reminded of the occasion when Peter was arriving at the house of Cornelius, in response to the direction of the Lord, (you will find the account in Acts chapter 10), and Cornelius bowed down to worship him. Peter reacts to this as we see in verse 26
But Peter made him get up. "Stand up," he said, "I am only a man myself."
Again we have Paul who visited Lystra on his missionary journey, and speaking to a man who had never walked, said ¡§Stand up straight on your feet!¡¨ The man was instantly healed, and the people wanted to worship Paul and his companions as gods, but Paul said in Acts 14 15:
¡§Men! Why are you doing these things? We are men also, with the same nature as you, and we are proclaiming good news to you¡¨.
I think the Amplified version of James 5:17 is very helpful,
Elijah was a human being with a nature such as we have with feelings, affections, and a constitution like ours [Amp]
Elijah was not a ¡¥Superman¡¦, nor and angel; but ¡¥a man with a nature like ours¡¦.
Matthew Poole expresses the thought this way;
Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are; both of body and mind, natural and moral; and so, though he were righteous, yet he was not perfect; though an eminent prophet, yet but a man.
The Greek Lexicon explains this word ¡¥man¡¦ like this
Man - anyrwpov ¡V anthropos - anth¡¦-ro-pos
1) a human being,
1b) to distinguish man from beings of a different order
1b1) of animals and plants
1b2) of from God and Christ
1b3) of the angels
1c) with the added notion of weakness, by which man is led into a mistake or prompted to sin
It is clear that Elijah was simply ¡¥a man¡¦. If that is so, then what was his secret? We shall see that in our next section, but let me say that one thing that empowered him was that he had heard from God! To hear from God, he must have been listening! In the middle of a life filled with human feelings, he could still hear God speaking. He was able to distinguish the Voice of God from his own desires and longings. This wasn¡¦t imagination. In later accounts, where we have a record of his life, we certainly see that he was human. Feeling all alone, he complains to the Lord, but he could not see what God saw! There were many still seeking to serve the Lord. He was afraid, and his fear caused him to run away. Yes, Elijah was a man just like us. If that is so, then it must mean that we also can be used by the Lord.
We have seen that we need to listen for His voice. Now let us look at