“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”
This last Sunday at Grace Fellowship we started a new series on Elijah. The story of Elijah starts in 1 Kings 17, but he mentioned in many places in Scripture. His story seems especially relevant in the world in which we live. In his world Israel had gone down a very bad road. Israel had many kings who were evil, but the king Elijah would face was especially evil. 1 Kings says Ahab "...did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him." He married a woman named Jezebel who was not an Israelite and brought her foreign gods with her. Ahab turned his back on Yahweh and began to worship Baal. As is often the case, Israel followed the lead of their leader. It was desperate time for Israel as they seemed to declare, "Yahweh is dead."
It wasn't a sudden turn away from Yahweh, it was subtle at first, but as time went on they became more bold in their rejection of Yahweh. Solomon wasn't a saint, far from it, but he did worship Yahweh. As time went on king after king became more and more evil. It was time to do something drastic, and Yahweh did. What Yahweh did was not what you or I would expect. Yahweh seems to do the unexpected quite frequently.
I don't want to give too much away as we move forward in this series, but but in short, God takes the powerful and the arrogant (Ahab) and shakes their world with the powerless and the humble. Elijah was just a country hick, a small town, small time man with calusses on his hands and feet. He had courage, but he didn't have status. His bloodline wasn't anything to brag about. the most extraordinary thing about Elijah may have been his name and how his life reflected his name, "אֵלִיָּה." It is transliterated "Eliyahu" and it means "Yahweh is my God." Elijah's name was an affront to Ahab and Jezebel and all who had rejected Yahweh and worshiped Baal. Everything about Elijah was an affront to the powers that be.
Elijah had his own faults, but he worshiped Yahweh and God used him to speak truth to power. The powers in the world whether they be a politician (they often are), cultural norms, teachers, or bosses quite often do not honor God. Could it be that God is calling you to speak truth to power? Could it be that God has put you exactly where you are not because you have some unique talent or ability, but simply because He needs to do something great through you? Elijah was just a regular guy who worshiped God and God honored his pryaers (James 5:17-18). This Sunday we will be taking a closer look at Elijah's confrontation with Ahab, I hope to see you at Grace or listen online.
John Byrne is a pastor who has been spouting off his opinions his entire life (just ask his mom). This little blog is his venue for continuing in this tradition.