Summary: This is a message that speaks of how God uses obscurity to create His greatest men.
1 Kings 17:1 KJV And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.
I. INTRODUCTION -- SCHOOL ADMISSIONS
-It is May and school is almost over. Some who are graduating this year have already filled out scholarship requests and admission requests to go to various schools around the area.
-I recently read about a young man in our community who received a scholarship from the Houston County Medical Society. The value of that scholarship was over $100,000 and it will almost entirely finance his way through medical school for him to become a physician.
-People who know about colleges say that gaining the entrance to certain schools around the country is very important. One may apply to the Ivy League schools to get into Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and so on. While those schools do not assure immediate success, having gone to one of those schools will certainly increase one’s chances of landing a profitable job with a highly honored company in the United States and perhaps even on the global level.
-Much value has been placed on education in the last several years. In addition to the Ivy Leagues, there are business schools around the nation that have garnered great reputations for turning out competent graduates. There are medical schools that also have excelled with the demands that they have placed upon students.
-In our area, a couple of engineering schools have shown great promise in the last several years. One is Georgia Tech and the other is an in-state school, Auburn.
-These schools attract the sharpest minds and the entry levels of many of them prove to be very exacting.
-If I were to suggest that someone drive down into the edge of Florida to a little crossroads called Two-Egg and go to Two-Egg Tech, that suggestion would be met with much disdain and sarcasm. It doesn’t really matter if they offered a great medical program or an excellent engineering program few would want to attend because of the location and name of the school.
-We have a tendency to be a little serious about our schools.
-What I would like to tell you is that God is very serious about His schools! It is in His schools that we are shaped for life (if we will humble ourselves and learn).
-His university uses two methods: Obscurity and Isolation. Furthermore, some of His greatest results have been gained from these methods.
• Abraham -- Trapped in the obscurity of Ur and then wandering about in a wilderness of isolation.
• Joseph -- Confined in the obscurity of a servant and locked up in isolation of a prison.
• David -- Confined in the obscurity of the youngest child and locked up in the isolation of a pasture (where he learned to fight, pray, and worship).
• Paul -- Sent to the desert of Isolation north of Damascus.
• Amos -- Linked to the obscurity of fig-gathering and the isolation of his prophetic call.
-This is the case with Elijah. . .
II. THE PROPHET ELIJAH
-Elijah shows up at a very dark time in Israel’s history. Ahab provoked God more than any other king.
1 Kings 16:33 KJV And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.
-He was not so much a wicked man as he was a very weak man. He became the pawn of a very crafty, unscrupulous, cruel woman.
-He fell under the wicked sway of Jezebel’s spirit. After Ahab married this woman of Phoenecian descent, she immediately set about to work to destroy Israel.
• She built a temple to Astarte in Jezreel.
• She built a commune that supported 450 priests of Baal.
• She built a temple in Samaria.
• She tore down the altars of Jehovah at Carmel and replaced them with shrines and groves.
• She begin to persecute the priests and prophets of Jehovah throughout the land with a fury possessed by hell.
Here comes Elijah!
-It is doubtful that Elijah would have chosen the path of obscurity that God planned for him. In fact, it is probable that very few men would have chosen this path of obscurity. Most are very unwilling to admit it, but we are quite proud as human beings and that is why that God has to use schools like obscurity and isolation to pull us into a useable condition for Him.
A. A Resilient Life
A few years ago (2004), Gordon MacDonald, who is one of my favorite authors wrote a little book entitled A Resilient Life. In this book he tells the story of a coach and teacher named Marvin Goldberg who changed his life in a great way. MacDonald said that he tried out for football but was so small and skinny that the football coach did not want him and called the track coach to get rid of him.