Summary: A look at Elijah and how his obedience wasn’t determined by his feelings.
What type of person does God choose to confront politicians with His word? If you were to picture in your mind that type of person who would it be? Billy Graham? Perhaps he’s held audiences with every American President for forty years. Tony Campola? Maybe, he’s one of the three pastors who supposedly advised Bill Clinton concerning his numerous ethical problems. Jesse Jackson, now that would be interesting.
Whoever you picked I’m pretty sure that along with being a strong man or woman of God it would be someone who would make a good impression. Maybe someone with Billy Graham’s integrity and hair, Tony Campola’s humor and Jesse Jackson’s taste in clothing. They would be sharp, after all they would have to be taken serious in what they do if they were going to have an impact. Right?
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 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 live like Jeroboam, he married Jezebel, the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and he began to worship Baal. First he built a temple and an altar for Baal in Samaria. Then he set up an Asherah pole. He did more to arouse 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 the 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 of neat going back into the meaning that Hebrew names had, Elijah meant “God is my strength”. 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.” We also know from the scriptures that he was a survivor, so maybe he looked something like this. (Picture of Rupert from Survivor) 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 them, 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. say, Denn 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 on Elijah, now for a little background on the book his story is found in. Like 1 and 2 Samuel 1 and 2 Kings were originally one book, however they were divided to make transportation and storage of the scrolls easier. Instead of one humongous scroll holding the book of Kings you had 1 Kings and of course 2 Kings in two scrolls.
Jewish tradition has long held that the prophet Jeremiah was the author and even though we have no evidence to confirm that we have no evidence to contradict it either. The book was written around 550 BC and covers approximately 400 years of the history of the nation of Israel.
It begins with the explanation of why Solomon who was neither the crown prince nor David’s oldest living son became King of Israel. It chronicles Solomon’s obedience and disobedience and how that disobedience resulted in personal cost to Solomon as well as a corporate cost to the people of Israel. Because that was all part of the covenant that God made with these people; obey me and you will be blessed, disobey me and you will be cursed. After the death of Solomon the book chronicles each of the Kings of Israel and evaluates them based on whether or not they followed and obeyed God’s directions for them. So why was it written? To show us that we need to obey God’s commands and believe God’s promises.