Summary: Last week we looked at Samson. Samson was physically strong but in some ways he was spiritually weak. We, too can be strong in some areas but weak in others. Today, we'll look at Elijah. He was bold and courageous...well, most of the time.
JUST LIKE US (part four)
Last week we looked at the example of Samson. When Samson was born he was given a special Nazirite vow. He couldn't drink alcohol or even grape juice. And he couldn't cut his hair. These conditions were to indicate that he would be noticeably set apart for a special purpose.
God also gave Samson unique physical strength. Unfortunately, however, Samson in some ways did not possess a high level of spiritual strength. He was vulnerable to the persuasions of the opposite sex. This ultimately led to his downfall when he revealed the secret to his strength to Delilah.
But throughout Samson's disobedience God was still with him-even at the very end. Today, we'll look at another super hero-Elijah. He may not have possessed great physical strength but he was bold and courageous...well, most of the time.
1) Bold and courageous.
Elijah was one of the prophets of God. We first see his name in 1st Kings 17:1 where we see him pronouncing a drought prophecy to King Ahab. Elijah would have his share of run ins with King Ahab and more definitively his wife, Jezebel. More on that shortly.
Elijah is mentioned over 100 times in the bible. He performed miracles, even raised a widow's son from the dead. Another interesting thing about Elijah is that he was one of only two people (Enoch being the other) who ascended to heaven without dying. It was a pretty dramatic scene with a chariot of fire and horses taking him up to heaven in a whirlwind. That's pretty amazing to have on your resume.
He was a prominent OT figure. In fact, when Jesus took Peter, James and John up on a mountain and transfigured into his glorified state, two OT figures appeared with him-Moses and Elijah. Moses was the leader of God's people in their exodus from Egypt to their eventual entrance into Canaan. And he delivered God's law to the people.
Elijah represented the prophets and he was the one who would come to restore all things, as Jesus said in Matt. 17:11.
And as Moses' successor was Joshua, Elijah's successor was Elisha which is another form of Joshua. And we have Jesus, whose Hebrew name was Joshua.
When the angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah to tell him he would have a son, John, he said in Luke 1:17 that he would go on before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah. John the Baptist preached boldly and courageously as he prepared the way for Jesus. John confronted King Herod about the unlawful relationship he was carrying on with his brother's wife Herodias.
Elijah was bold and courageous too. He confronted King Ahab and his wife Jezebel on a few occasions. And, as King Herod's wife Herodias' rage ended up delivering John the Baptist's head on a platter, so King Ahab's wife Jezebel had a mind to end Elijah's life too.
And Jezebel was no empty threat. 1st Kings 18:13 mentions that she was going around killing the prophets of the Lord. She had it out for God's workers and Elijah was no doubt at the top of her list. After Elijah pronounced the coming drought to King Ahab, God told him to leave the region.
In the third year of the drought God told Elijah it was time to go back. So, did Elijah sneak back in and hide from Ahab? No, when he saw another prophet, Obadiah, he told him to go tell Ahab that he was in town and that he wanted to meet with him.
What we see take place then is probably Elijah's finest moment. 1st Kings 18:16-40, "So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the LORD'S commands and have followed the Baals. Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing.
Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the LORD'S prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. Get two bulls for us. Let them choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire—he is God.” Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”