Summary: Elijah is running away from the very people he confronted
Elijah’s on the run I Kings 18: 41-19:4
The way some people talk you would almost think the true Christian life is one where we experience one miracle after another. The fact is, even in the Bible miracles are rare. That’s what makes them miracles. If miracles were common occurrences then what would be so miraculous about them. I think miracles are like diamonds and it’s their rarity gives them value. If you had to get up every morning and sweep diamonds off your floor or out of your driveway then only the very crazy would have them on their rings. Get this into your head, miracles are rare.
I read a definition of a miracle in a theological book. It said ‘miracles are the supernatural works of God which cannot be explained by the usual pattern of nature.’ The first couple of years I was saved I was very interested in the miraculous and I went to see various charismatic healers. I remember seeing guys like Benny Hinn when he first started. He always appeared sharp in expensive suits and very in control. I was there one night when a man came forward with his wife who he said was just diagnosed with cancer. Benny put his hand on her head and she fell over. He walked away and said she was healed. I have no doubt that she died not too long after. During that time I used to go down to the Evangel Temple because they always brought in the American preachers who really knew how to put on a show. I was there with a friend one night who didn’t know what he thought about the whole healing thing but he said he was sure this preacher was a phoney. I think the give away was the prayer time he had at the beginning of the service when the preacher prayed for his poodle who was sick at the Royal York hotel. That was the indication for me that this guy was way off base. My friend had a stomach problem and he always ate Tums to deal with the acid in his system. The altar call came for people to go forward and be healed and I was surprised to see my friend was the first one to go down the aisle. When he came back I was half laughing and I asked him what happened. He said, “I don’t care if he was phoney I got healed anyway.” Later on I wondered, “If he was healed then who healed him? Was it the phoney preacher? Was God somehow empowering and therefore using the phoney preacher? Or did the devil do it?” I think the answer came later on when my friend popped some Tums. The fact is, no one healed him. There are three purposes of miracles in the Bible. The first purpose is always to glorify God. Throughout scripture we see those who perform miracles and those who receive them always praise God. They recognize that God alone is the source of the miracles. There are several non-believers who see miracles happen in both the Old and New Testament but they don’t give God any credit. For instance, Ahab was one, pharaoh was another and then we have the pharisees throughout the New Testament and there were several hundred people in the Garden of Gethseme when Jesus healed Malcus after Peter stabbed him with the sword. All these people witnessed Jesus healing him but they still participated in the crucifixion. The second purpose for miracles is that they give credibility to the word of God. Luke 5:24 Jesus says to the man He healed in the hearing of the scribes and pharisees, “That you might know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins. He said to the man who was paralyzed, I say to you arise take up your bed and go to your house.” And third, we see instances where miracles happened to meet human need. And of course Elijah’s physical needs would fit in here but we could also look at Jesus, where it is often said that “He was moved with compassion for those who were needy and suffering.” The fact is He never did anything just to put on a show. As a matter of fact, God never uses miracles as a money raising gimmick or to entertain the masses.
There are three periods of miracles in history interspersed with individual acts of God. Let me take a few minutes to review some of the Old Testament miracles. As I said there are a few individual acts and by this I mean; things like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah which was God’s act of judgement and then we have Joseph’s dreams which God used to open doors for him.