Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Who is Elijah? A man whom God Trained

Who is Elijah?
A man whom God Trained

                What are you preparing or training for? This is a question
for life and of faith. But are you willing to answer it?
                After Elijah spoke with Ahab about the trouble to come, Elijah renewed his willingness to obey God. Elijah is ordered to go out of the normal realm of life and into the wilderness. There he shall drink from the brook and the ravens will feed him. (I Kings 17:2-4)
                Gilead was east of the Jordan River so God was sending him back home to a brook that carries water only the winter rains. And Elijah had told the king that there would be a 3 year drought so why would God send him there. This area however is in the wilderness where life is hard and it is harder even to learn.
                Elijah is also told to get away and hide. Was he safe from King Ahab and                Queen Jezebel?
                Elijah soon left via a route given to him by God. How much pressure was he under not even knowing whether Ahab’s men might be hunting him down. He traveled 15-20 miles through barren land to get to where God had wanted him to go. Elijah had much to learn and in solitude he would have many moments for learning and reflection.
                Elijah obeyed God’s word, believed God’s promise and went to the Wadi Cherith (brook) God would therefore fulfil his promise to meet his physical needs. Elijah trusted and obeyed God.
                One can only imagine what Elijah was thinking? Would the birds show up with food? Where would he sit, sleep, and what would God teach him? He was alone in the desert yet God had assured him of care and provision.
                God did provide food- bread and meat in the morning and evening by the ravens.
                Ravens—would never relinquish their food naturally; yet they give Elijah food;
-are scavengers and considered unclean (Lev.11:13-19) they eat carrion and Elijah trusted God for the food
                Bread and meat twice a day—more than the manna and quail in the wilderness
Water from the brook where other streams had dried up; was also dependent upon rain to continue during the 3 year drought—yet Elijah trusted God to provide.

Elijah’s training—what did he do while he waited for food to come? He prayed, pined, remembered, tried to survive,-- yet in all of it he learned more and more each day trusting God.

What did Elijah think and feel when he saw that the brook had dried up? God then told him to go to Zarephath (Ikings 17:7-10)
·         would he have panicked—he knew where the Jordan River was- he could have left
·         did he want to give up and died
·         did he want to reverse God’s judgment as he was so personally affected

He needed to learn that:
God knew all along that the brook would dry up
God’s care was not hampered when the brook dried up
God was still in control even when the brook dried up
God would tell him his next steps—v. 9 to Zarephath
Zarephath—was 80-90 miles northwest of Cherith in Gentile land
-was in the heart of the land dominated by Baal worship
-homeland of Queen Jezebel, priestess of Baal, the god Elijah had challenged
-Queen Jezebel- wife of King Ahab

Yet God told him that:
A widow would care for him—a poor woman, vulnerable and unprotected, no food—was this an upgrade?  He was also going into hostile territory so he could find someone who would have no means for taking care of him.--- God is training Elijah to walk by faith, not sight

What lessons can we learn from Elijah’s experience at the brook?
What does suffering involve? Do all people suffer in some way? Even believers?
How ready are you for this kind of training? Would you fully trust God as Elijah did?
God is still teaching you as you continue to minister to others. Are you willing to go and do where he leads you?

God we thank you for Elijah’s story of faithful service. We thank you also that God truly loves us and will not lead us into situations and leave us alone. He was with Elijah and as he trained him for more work he was tested. We too are tested as we continue to discern what it is you would have us do. Help us o God to understand and to act in faith. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Resource: Bill Crowder, Trusting God in Hard Times Lessons from the Life of Elijah Discovery Series, 2016

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