Summary: Elijah was forced to live by faith in a place of isolation, totally depending on the Lord. These places of isolation are often difficult, but very beneficial. We should cherish and guard those places where we have an opportunity to hear from the Lord.
Series: Walking by Faith # 3
The Confidence of Elijah
1 Kings 17: 1-7
Following several chapters dealing with the chronicles of the kings of Judah and Israel, we are abruptly introduced to a man named Elijah. There is no background information leading up to his ministry; he just steps on the scene and begins a work for the Lord.
As you read and study the life of Elijah, it quickly becomes apparent that he was a man who walked by faith. He performed many miracles and was forced to rely on God often for daily provision and protection. Such a life is without question lived by faith.
As we walk with the Lord, in an increasingly difficult day, we too realize the necessity for a life lived by faith. While our dependence on the Lord may not appear as desperate as Elijah’s, we are just as dependent on the Lord to meet our daily needs, and secure our eternity with Him. There is much we can glean from the initial record of the great prophet’s life. I want to discuss the stages of Elijah’s encounter as we consider: The Confidence of Elijah.
I. The Demeanor of Elijah (1) – 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. This reveals the demeanor and character of Elijah. Consider:
A. His Introduction (1) – We are introduced to this Tishbite, from the land of Gilead, named Elijah. Often in the Old Testament, names were very significant. This is no exception. Elijah's name means “Jehovah is God.” That doesn’t seem to be surprising since he was born into the nation of Israel, the chosen people of God. However, it is very significant at this moment in their history. Following the reign of Solomon, the kingdom was divided, and both Judah and Israel had strayed from the Lord. Israel seemed to be influenced more by the nations around them, seeking their gods and living according to the lusts of the flesh. God had raised up a man who would proclaim Him as the true and living God.
As we live in the midst of a culture that is increasingly intolerant of our faith and the Lord, there is a great need for those who are willing to identify with, and proclaim the Lord Jesus Christ. Like Elijah of old, this will require a walk of faith.
B. His Ministry (1) – The first mention we have of Elijah, he is found standing before Ahab, king of Israel. Ahab had married the daughter of a neighboring king and followed her example in worshiping Baal. As king of Israel, Ahab had influenced many of the Israelites to worship Baal also. He was leading the people away from the Lord, and God had sent Elijah to confront Ahab about his sin. Elijah needed great faith to confront the king of Israel regarding his sin.
You will have to agree that America has become an idolatrous nation. There isn’t a multitude of temples set up to worship false gods, but idol worship is prevalent in our day. Many are worshiping the gods of pleasure and self-indulgence. Such worship and desire is championed by the elite and influential. Public policy seems to be dictated from Hollywood. We need those with the courage to stand for truth and proclaim the Gospel of Christ in our day!
C. His Prophecy (1b) – 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. Elijah shared a simple message, yet is was pointed and profound. He declared that God would withhold rain from the land according to the prayers Elijah had prayed. He offered this word of warning and went on his way. Ahab likely dismissed it at that moment, but he would eventually recognize Elijah and hate him for the power he possessed through the Lord.
The world is uninterested in the Gospel message. Most will dismiss it outright, but we must be faithful to proclaim the good news and continue to live for the Lord, even if those around us refuse. We must bear witness of His grace before those who remain separated in sin.
II. The Directive for Elijah (3-4) – Following the confrontation with Ahab, Elijah received direction from the Lord. Consider:
A. The Instruction (3) – Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. Elijah is instructed to turn toward the east and hide by the brook Cherith. The Lord knew Elijah would soon become a wanted man, hated by Ahab, and He gave instruction that would protect and preserve Elijah in this time of great adversity. God gave specific instructions about a specific place. There is where He intended for Elijah to go; it was there He would provide and care for him.