Elijah: A Man Such as We

Lesson two

1 Kings 17: 1  "Elijah the Tishbite, a temporary residents of Gilead, said to Ahab, ĎAs the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years but according to my word." 

Elijah said, "As the Lord of Israel lives" that was to remind Ahab of three things.

1. That Jehovah was the true King of Israel.

2. That He lives. Seven kings had mocked and defied Jehovah. So they had come to believe that Jehovah did not exist. But they were dead and He yet lives.

3. That the idols that they now served were lifeless.

Then He said, "before whom I stand." A phrase that is also translated as whose servant I am and in whose name I approach you.

Finally he said," there shall be no dew and no rain" reference books say that Palestine experienced several months of dry season, but heavy dews descended at night and refreshed the vegetation. To say no dew and no rain for a period of years, was heavy judgment.

The job that God gave Elijah required great courage. He was to go to unfriendly, unfamiliar places and pronounce judgment. Not exactly the way to win friends and influence people.

Most of us have trouble even saying hello to people we donít know, and every one knows not to try walking into a palace. How was it that Elijah happened to have such great courage?

Some of the rabbis of times past, said it was because he was an angel. But that canít be because James tells us he was a man subject to like passions such as we are. He seemed to be a man who had full assurance that what he said would come to pass, how did he get to be that way? I came up with three things.

1. The word tells us that he prayed and it indicates that he did so before he met Ahab. So prayer in private was the source of power in public. Elijah could stand before Ahab because he had knelt before God.

2. Because he had a knowledge of God and God was a living reality to him, he was not swayed by public opinion.

3. He was aware of Godís divine presence with him. He said I stand before God.

James 5:17 AMP  "Elijah was a human being with a nature such as we have ( feelings, affections and a constitution like ours) and he prayed earnestly for it not to rain and no rain fell on the earth for three years and six months." 

I looked up the words earnest and fervent, they mean heartfelt, ardent, hot/glowing impassioned and inflamed. I think thatís how Elijah prayed.

What can we learn from Elijah?

He was a man, not some super natural being, but somebody just like us. A person with feelings and affection and a constitution just like we have. But he had supernatural courage. An ordinary man with supernatural courage.

The world is full of examples of ordinary people with extra ordinary courage.

Moses before Pharaoh

David before the mighty Goliath.

Paul before King Agrippa.

Martin Luther before the council at Trent.

Where did this courage and boldness come from? It didnít come from a Bible training school or text books, which are necessary.  It came from time spent in the presence of God. 

The word says: Isaiah 40:29  "He giveth power to the faint and to them that have no might he giveth power, they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength."

Only God can say, "fear not I am with thee. I will up hold thee, " Is. 41:10

If we want to be used of God, and we should, then we need to spend time with God. Time in the Word, time in prayer. Then we will know Him and the power of His presence with us. Only then will we experience boldness and calm in and through every circumstance.

What is learned from this lesson in the life of Elijah?

#1 That God sometimes chooses the unlikely to perform His will. I personally would not have chosen:

A rough mountain man to go into a fancy palace.

Or a man raised in an Egyptian palace to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt.

Or a shepherd boy to slay a giant with a sling slot.

Or, Paul, a highly educated Jew to teach millions of Gentiles.

# 2 We learn that God does not look at things the way we do, we look at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.

#3 We learn that power and boldness and calm in the face of every circumstance comes from time spent with the source of real power Ė GOD.

#4 We learn that nothing is impossible with God.

When I was first learning about prayer, I thought that I could not ask for big things. After all who was I? But then I read about Elijah who stated outright that there would be no rain or dew on the earth for 3 years and 6 months and that he was a person just like us. And I thought, WOW!!! nothing I could ask for could possibly be bigger than that. That thought expanded my prayer life.

Later in his life Elijah had a student, named Elisha, who followed him every where. Elisha was there when Elijah was caught up to heaven, caught up Elijahís cloak and smote the water with it, as he did, he said," where is the Lord God of Elijah?" and we have been quoting him ever since. But the real question is not where is God?. He is where He has always been. The real question is where are the Elijah's of God ?

This small piece of the life of Elijah should say to us, think the word, speak the word and do the word. If we do this, there will be people saying of us, that we walk in the spirit and power of Elijah, making ready the people for the coming of the Lord.

Remember this, God is not a respecter of persons, and all things are possible with him.

Next: Lesson Three