I want to talk for a bit about one man/person making a difference in the world.
While there are several of these mentioned in the Bible, only one is the focus of this blog and that man is Elijah.
Elijah was a man just like us, human, living in a world surrounded by unrest, corruption, questionable morality and ethics, dictated to by an ungodly ruler and his very wicked wife.
No, this is not a political rant, not at all. More it is a study into how one man remained integral in spite of the circumstances surrounding him.
On my bike ride tonight I was pondering how the world had gotten so awful around Elijah and it made me wonder about our current world now and where I stand in it.
The beginning of Elijah’s people was full of miraculous encounters with God. They had story after story of the miracles that God did for them. God was woven right into the very fabric of their culture, their government, their country. Gradually they moved from one place to the next, becoming mixed in the cultures that surrounded them. People from other countries moved into their area and they welcomed them openly. Governmentally they had God at the beginning but then they begged for a human king. God granted their request and kings came and went – ruling either with Godly principals or not. The country changed, albeit slowly, much like a frog in boiling water, he never jumped out because the water warmed up gradually until it was too late.
I feel we are much like that frog now in the times we live in. The history of Israel could be said to be a parallel picture of North America. North America was founded on Biblical principals. Our world is not unlike the world that Elijah lived in, not at all. Little by little it changed, just like the boiling water, until the principals that our founding fathers thought were the right ones to live by, count for very little to most.
Elijah – his name means: Jehovah is my God. The book of James says: “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours and he prayed fervently that it would not rain, and for three years and six months, it did not rain.” James 5:17-18
I have always been fascinated by the stories of Elijah. They are found in the old Testament and unfortunately many believers think that the Old Testament died out when Jesus came. They are sadly mistaken for without the Old Testament, we would never understand the New Testament. When you ask how many believers have actually read the Old Testament – you will find most have read some but few have read it all, believing that the New Testament is much more important.
Consider this, Jesus only quoted from the Old Testament, He studied it, learned it as a boy and young man, the New Testament was not even written yet. If Jesus thought it important enough to study, we should give some attention to it.
One of the courses I had to take before I went to Israel was on Elijah, because after all the church I was going to was sitting on the top of Mount Carmel, where Elijah performed one of the biggest miracles of all times. (but that is a later story)
The first call of God to Elijah was to go and prophecy to the King. Prophecy, which means a prediction, a forecast, was not popular, if you spoke the thoughts of God, people took offense. The same could be said of today, many people truly do not want to hear the Word of God.
Elijah was called to go to King Ahab. The King was about as far from God as he could be. He had other gods to worship and set up monuments for them all across the country of Israel. God had had enough, He told Elijah to go present himself before Ahab with a message from God Himself.
These are Elijah’s words: “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be no dew or rain these years, except by my word.” 1 Kings 17:1
Remember the words from above: “for three years and six months, it did not rain.”
Who was Elijah that the God of the Universe would listen to this man’s prayer?
Well, he was a man, just like us, the Bible tells us so in James. He would have been known as a man from the mountains, not a cultured man, a backwoods man, a redneck perhaps; Elijah would have stood out in the crowded courts of the King as being different.
While the country of Israel had slowly changed their values, changed their gods and followed the leadings of their leaders, friends and cultures around them, Elijah had remained steadfast to His God. The God of the Old Testament. Elijah in fact thought he was the only one left who believed in the God of his fathers. This man in spite of opposition, persecution went on to go against the flow of humanity in his day – this man, stood alone in his faith. He jumped out of the pot.
“As the Lord God of Israel Lives” – Elijah proclaims that the God of Israel is alive. He is not dead as the people believe, the people cannot hear or see Him because they have their eyes focused on something else. Where are our eyes focused?
“Before whom I stand” – Elijah proclaims that he has an intimate relationship with this God. At first it seems like a pride filled statement, but Elijah is not proud, he is simply stating the truth. He and God are close, they spend time together. Do we?
“There shall be no dew or rain these years” – expect things to dry up. God had told His people over and over that if you follow my commands then I will bless you, if you turn away from me then I will curse you and your land. God is a God of action. If God says it, He will do it. God continues today, to tell us – Follow Me. Will we?
Today, we have chosen to walk away in many, many areas from God. We have taken God out of our culture- “happy holidays” instead of Christmas, no more reciting the Lords Prayer in schools, no more Christmas pageants, lack of morality in tv shows, books, movies, music, all point to a turning away from Gods best plan for us. We have put welcome mats for the new religions brought to our country and yet persecute the one that our country was founded upon. Our constitution, monuments, and walls in our country’s capitals – still declare the power of God over our country, yet the people are silent.
When God told Elijah to go present himself before King Ahab and announce God’s judgement on the land – Elijah obeyed and went. He was ready. Are we?
Will we jump out of the pot and take a stand for what this country was founded upon or will we like sheep being led to the slaughter, simply fall in line with the others and wait for the water to boil?