Summary: Elijah was a major prophet, but he was also just a man. God was able to do some amazing things through him.
We are starting a brand new series today called The fabulous life of Elijah. If you have your bibles, you can open them to the book of Hebrews chapter 11 which is on p. 865 if you grabbed a bible in the lobby. Elijah is a prophet, was a prophet. I guess you could say is because he never died. Anyway, we’ll get to that later. To be a prophet, you were the mouthpiece for God to the nation of Israel, but to be a prophet, when you predicted something it had to come true. There are a lot of “prophets” on TV predicting all kinds of things like the end of the world, who will win the presidential election, that the Steelers will win the next super bowl, and everything in between. It could happen, if I say the Cardinals won’t win am I a prophet or smart? So to be a prophet, when you speak, you are speaking for God, but everything, down to the letter has to come true.
One of the interesting things about Elijah was that he was a normal guy. Someone without any schooling, he was not from the “right” family, or even the “right” country, but God was able to use him and do some pretty incredible things through him.
We don’t know who wrote the book of Hebrews, but we know he or she was writing to Christians who were being persecuted and killed for their faith and the writer of Hebrews wrote this letter to encourage them to not go underground and to not quit.
Hebrews chapter 11, verse 1: 1Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
So the writer starts talking about faith, what faith looks like everyday. That faith is believing in things you don’t see and don’t understand. The writer goes on to talk about all of the people in the Old Testament who lived a life of faith. Often we read through or hear a story from the Old Testament and think, of course everyone knows that person or of course they followed God. But it wasn’t always as easy as we make it sound.
Skip down to verse 32, so after listing countless people the writer says: 32And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets-- 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35Women received back their dead by resurrection.
Turn back to the book of Leviticus, chapter 26, which is on p. 90. The nation of Israel has just escaped from 400 years of slavery in Egypt and the book of Leviticus is God laying out for them how they are to operate as a nation. For 400 years they had taken orders from Egypt and they did not remember what it meant to follow their God so God spends Leviticus telling them the rhythms of following him. Everything from government, how to worship, how to plant their crops and when to plant, when to harvest their crops.