Summary: Grace can find us even in our moments of despair. Elijah's story shows us how God met the prophet in the valley.
There's a new Prime Minister in Canada and when you woke up Tuesday morning you were either ecstatic or disappointed, but however you feel about the new Prime Minister the Bible tells us that we have an obligation as Christians to pray for Prime Minister Trudeau and may I suggest for Mrs. Trudeau and their children as well.
And if you could deliver a message to the Prime Minister what would it be? I have already contacted our member of parliament and asked him to relay my message to his boss. And maybe some day I will have the opportunity to let him know in person.
This is week three of our Moments of Grace series. In week one we introduced the entire concept of Grace and how Paul developed a theology of Grace based on the evidence of Grace in the Bible and his own experience of Grace. In week two we saw how grace took Rahab from the brothel to a place in the genealogy of the Messiah. That would be Jesus. But not only does Grace appear in the most unlikely places it also appears at the most unlikely times.
3000 years ago God decided to confront the King of Israel over some problems that he had with him. The king’s name was Ahab and this is what the Bible had to say about him
1 Kings 16:30-33 But Ahab son of Omri did what was evil in the LORD’s sight, even more than any of the kings before him. And as though it were not enough to follow the example of Jeroboam, he married Jezebel, the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and he began to bow down in worship of Baal. First Ahab built a temple and an altar for Baal in Samaria. Then he set up an Asherah pole. He did more to provoke the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel, than any of the other kings of Israel before him.
Now that’s saying something because there had been some pretty awful kings before Ahab.
So whom did God use? The prophet with the biggest following in Israel? Some sharp, well spoken, well dressed, high profile guy who was known and respected in all the right circles? Of course not, that’s what we’d do.
Instead God reaches down to a little town Tishbe in Gilead and pulls out a prophet named Elijah. Kind
And in reading through the Bible we discover that Elijah was just a human as we are. Nothing special he was just regular people.
The only real description we have of him comes in 2 Kings 1:8 They replied, “He was a hairy man, and he wore a leather belt around his waist.”
Now I don’t know about you but when I was growing up anyone who had all kinds of hair and wore leather belts was called a hippie.
Elijah is seen by some as an Old Testament John the Baptist, but I suppose to put it into proper perspective, John the Baptist was a New Testament Elijah. The last mention we have of Elijah in the Old Testament is in 2 Kings 2:11 As they were walking along and talking, suddenly a chariot of fire appeared, drawn by horses of fire. It drove between the two men, separating them, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven.
That’s kind of neat. The next time Elijah is seen is in the New Testament when Jesus went up to a mountain top with Peter, James and John in Matthew 17:3 Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus.
And maybe you are thinking “Denn that was like 900 years later, that’s impossible.” For us, yes, for God, well you know what the Angel Gabriel told Mary in Luke 1:37 For nothing is impossible with God.”
That’s a little back ground, the entire story is found in 1 Kings and happened during the time that Israel was ruled by the wicked king Ahab and his equally wicked queen, Jezebel. It was Jezebel who introduced Baal worship throughout the kingdom and immorality ran rampant. It was during those dark days that Elijah stood out as a beacon of righteousness in a sea of degradation. His speech was characterized by boldness and his ministry was marked with miraculous deeds. It was Elijah who challenged the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and then prayed down fire and then rain.
And if the story stopped there none of us would be able to relate to Elijah and yet we are reminded by the brother of Jesus in James 5:17 Elijah was as human as we are. And so we have to conclude that the type of experiences that we have that he would share and that we would share his experiences as well.