Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Any Elijahs Around?
Hi: Last Sunday, I preached about the prophet Elijah's classic confrontation with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. Today, I received Dan Puckett's article about that show-down through Life Action revival link. Where are the Elijahs today?
If Elijah Were Here, What Would It Look Like?
Elijah was a prophet. He was a man of God. He had one mission: to speak for God.
Elijah was a plumb line of heaven’s counsel dropped into the affairs of men. Elijah was not concerned with political correctness; matter of fact, he did not care about politics at all.
In Elijah’s day Ahab was king and Jezebel was queen. They were wicked people who had no heart for God. Ahab was aware of the Living God of Heaven, but Jezebel had her imported religious system of Baal worship and overwhelmed Ahab.
Baal was the fire god. The worship system was intricate and complicated, requiring hundreds of priests. There was a Baal temple and sacrifices, roughly paralleling the worship instituted by Jehovah God.
The people were fickle. They counted bigness of organization, ceremony of worship, and size of following as overall effectiveness, and neglected the one true God to follow the idol of Baal. Another thing false religion always seems to offer is a little more latitude in lifestyle, for those stuffy “Ten Commandments” can be restrictive.
King Ahab pursued the false religion of Baal to the point that God commented in 1 Kings 16:33, “Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.”
Elijah came on the scene with a simple message to Ahab, “As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1).
Elijah’s message held no immediate threat. It was a declaration that there was a living God, and He was taking action. It was weeks or maybe months before the effects pronounced by Elijah became critical. In the meantime, after Elijah delivered the message from God, he went into hiding at the command of God. Elijah was in exile.
The drought continued—crops failed, livestock suffered, and the people were scrambling to survive. Ahab and his people were hunting for Elijah, seeing him as their enemy and the cause of their difficulty. They never once looked to or for God in order to repent and beg for mercy. Matter of fact, as the situation worsened, their hatred for God increased.
Today the man Elijah is not here, but the message is. In our day, we have the Word of the Living God, the Holy Bible, at our disposal. The message is clear; God has not changed. God withdrew Elijah from the view of God’s enemies for a time. In our day, the enemies of God have pushed and are pushing the Word of God out of public view. We people do not seem to mind. God seems a little restrictive: He demands fealty and control. Nothing has changed.
We are in a spiritual drought. The withering of our family and social structure is a direct result of the lack of the Word of God being implanted and nurtured in the hearts of people. God could have intervened earlier in Elijah’s day, but He waited until the “famine was severe” (1 Kings 18:2).
God moved in Elijah’s day with a direct confrontation between Elijah and the false prophets (1 Kings 18:38-39) on their turf. God won!
Today those who recognize the severe famine we are in must persevere in faithfulness. Obadiah was a servant of God working for Ahab during those days. Obadiah remained loyal to God (1 Kings 18:4). We must as well.
Elijah’s story gives us great hope. Things were bad in the land, very bad, but God broke through. We may not all be Elijahs, but we can be like Obadiah, “Start where we are, use what we have, do what we can.” Our only hope is God. Our means are the Word of God and prayer. Pray always. Speak the Word of God at every opportunity. God is alive; He will win!
About the author: Dan Puckett is a member of Life Action’s speaker team, which consists of 15-20 individuals who are passionate about the message of personal renewal and corporate revival.