Heroes of the FaithMarch 14-18
Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” – 1 Kings 17:1 (ESV)
One night in the 1960s, at 11:30 p.m., an older African-American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a windy rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960’s. The man took her into town and helped her get a taxicab so that she could get to her destination. The lady seemed to be in a big hurry, but before she left his car to board the cab, she wrote down his address and thanked him.
Seven days went by, and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read: “Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then God sent you to help me. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away…God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.” Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.
In 1 Kings 17, Israel was about at its lowest because King Ahab had fallen into Baal worship and married Jezebel. Elijah, who appears out of nowhere, warns the king that there is a coming drought and this drought will create a severe famine. The prophet Elijah would be exactly what Israel needed for good and for bad.
Elijah reminds us that God raises up certain people at certain times to accomplish His will. How do you believe God may want to use you during this season where you live?
Praise God for always keeping His Word and sending what we need when we need it. Ask God to help you remain sensitive to His calling and His timing in your life.
For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’” And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah. – 1 Kings 17:14-16 (ESV)
When the Lord had instructed Elijah to go to Zarephath, he saw “a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel that I may drink.” And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand” (1st Kings 17:10-11), but the widow said “I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die’” (1st Kings 17:12). Elijah tells her “The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth” (1st Kings 17:14).
A guy observed a couple of men working along the roadside. One man would dig a hole two or three feet deep and then move on. The other man came along behind him and filled in the hole. While one was digging a new hole, the other was 25 feet behind filling in the hole. The men worked right past the guy observing and went on down the road. The observer couldn’t stand it any longer and asked, “Can you tell me what’s going on here with all this digging and refilling?” One of the men, leaning on his shovel and wiping his brow, said, “Normally, there are three of us: me, Elmer and Leroy. I dig the hole, Elmer sticks in the tree and Leroy, here, puts the dirt back. “Now, just because Elmer’s sick, that don’t mean that Leroy and me can’t work.”
God sent Elijah to the house of a widow during the famine He had decreed over Israel. During this encounter Elijah learned that she was running out of resources to provide for her and her son. Elijah gives her specific instructions and by faith this woman obeys. As a result, God continued to refill her flower jar and her oil jug until the famine was over.
Even in times that seem to be bleak, God continues to provide for His children. When have you had to trust God even when the money was low? How did God provide?
Praise God for the times when God has supernaturally provided for you.
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” – 1 Kings 19:4 (ESV)
The World woke up to the shocking News on August 13th 2014. The King of Comedy-Robin Williams- who lit so many smiles in many a countenance of his “global audience” had apparently committed suicide due to severe depression. For some time now his apparently happy face had masked a heavy heart weighed down with despair. Well, this was not the first time a rich comedian had contemplated suicide.
The Prophet Elijah was one of God’s greatest heroes in the Bible but he struggled with suicidal thoughts and depression. Elijah was used powerfully by God and had experienced miracle after miracle. He is probably the last person we would expect to fall into depression, but he did. This goes to show that depression can sneak up on anyone at any age. The contrast between 1 Kings 18 and 1 Kings 19 is remarkable. In chapter 18, Elijah is courageous and confident above all odds. In chapter 19, he is crying to God, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life.” God doesn’t abandon Elijah but instead gets him rest and food. And then God spoke to him in a gentle whisper.
Maybe you identify with Elijah. Perhaps you too are struggling with feelings of worthlessness, guilt, anxiety, and failure. It’s not uncommon for you to be on the mountain top one moment and then the valley of depression the next. God knows and God cares. We learn from Isaiah that God wants to nurture your mind, your body and your soul. God has a Word for you too and still wants to use you.
Praise God for seeing your struggles and loving you all the same. Ask God how He wants to nurture your mind, heart, body and soul.
Caught Up in the Sky
And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. – 2 Kings 2:11 (ESV)
Herbert Washington, whom co-workers at Significant Plastics Inc. say was unduly concerned with the rapture and the second coming of Christ, suffered a serious heart attack when co-workers pretended they’d been caught away without him. “We didn’t mean to scare him to death,” said one woman. “He’s just always talking about it, so today we decided to turn the tables on him.” Washington underwent bypass surgery and is recovering well and “digging into the Bible like never before,” says his wife.
The Prophet Elijah was raptured into heaven and never tasted death. In 2 Kings 2, Elijah was about to go into glory, but first he needed to pass on the mantle of the prophet leadership through Elisha, so Kings 2:9 states that “When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me” (2nd Kings 2:9).
If Jesus doesn’t come back first, we will all die one day. And as a Christian, we will die with the hope of heaven. Between now and then, we have an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy and pass on something great to the next generation. Who are you pouring into?
Praise God for the hope of being with Him in heaven and our heavenly reunion with loved ones. Ask God who He wants you to leave a legacy with.
The Guy Next Door
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. – James 5:16-17 (ESV)
Several years ago a news report told about a preacher who promised to sell blessings on the installment plan. Incredible as it sounds, he offered 12 monthly blessings for $84. Anyone who wanted his prayers could fill out a coupon and send $7 a month for one year. Hinting that his prayers have brought people financial rewards, he promised to send a “blessing certificate” when he received the first payment, and an “anointed billfold” with the second. Of course, there was no money-back guarantee. (Our Daily Bread)
Elijah was one of God’s great prophets with an amazing prayer life but the Bible teaches he was just like us. Here’s the perspective of James, the half brother of Jesus: “Elijah was a man just like us….” James was writing about prayer and wrote that “the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” Elijah is the champion of the common man. He tells me that God will hear my heart cry and will honor the desire of my heart to seek and to serve my heavenly Father with all my faults and failures. Thank God for Elijah, friend, and take heart. The God of Elijah is not dead, nor does He sleep. The God of Elijah is the Everlasting Father who will meet you today. Don’t forget it, not even for a moment.
No one believer has greater access to the ear of God than another. Have you ever felt inadequate in your prayer life? Would you pray more if you really believed God heard you just like He heard the prophet Elijah?
Thank God for hearing every prayer you pray. Ask God for something big that you believe is in line with His will.