Thursday, 27 October 2016

Who is Elijah?

Who is Elijah?
I Kings 19:1-18

                Elijah is considered one of the key persons of faith in
the Old Testament and is regarded as a man of faith and integrity. In the new Testament (Matthew 16:13 ) Jesus asks the question, “who do people say that I am?” to his disciples. The response from the disciples  is “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. Those who witnessed Jesus were not sure who he was but they likened him to Elijah. A regular guy who had a strong faith.
                Another New Testament story which involves Elijah is when Jesus takes, Peter, James and John up to the side of the mountain to pray. (Matthew 17) Jesus transfigures before them shining brightly and revealing his glory along with Moses and Elijah. So caught up in the moment, Peter wants to preserve it and to build shelters for all three. The purpose of this story is that Jesus is revealed to the disciples as God’s Son.  Elijah is recognized by the disciples for they would have known these stories of faith and testing and trial which he had endured. Elijah was a good faithful man who had served God well.  Even though we know that he had much despair in his life.
                God still had a plan for Elijah and even though Elijah wanted to die God brought him food and kept him alive so that he could travel and experience God in new ways. Elijah travelled to Horeb and when asked by God why he was there Elijah responded, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts, for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left and they seek to take my life.” This is not the same Elijah who spoke boldly with God. And then God passed by as a strong wind, earthquake or in the fire. God’s still small voice was heard by Elijah and Elijah hid his face. Elijah was reminded of God’s power, of God’s character and of God’s love, mercy and peace.
                And so God rebuilt Elijah’s life out of despair and enabled him to reach out to others again. What do we learn from this?
We too may become discouraged or in despair even though we are dedicated to Christ
We too need to invest our energies in others instead of in self-pity
Communion with God is the only way to maintain the spiritual strength necessary for the battles of life
                God chose an average man Elijah who prayed to God and he became God’s instrument to an entire generation. He struggled just as we do but from him we learn that it is ok because God needs us and uses us to tell others. It is never too late to come to Christ and follow him. Remember that Jesus came to die and rise again so that we might have eternal life.  Amen.   

Elijah was an ordinary may who believed in God and was able to do amazing things and have great experiences. There were times when he felt down, when he was alone and lonely, and when he was hurt. But then God spoke to him as he speaks to us today. Go and serve the Lord. Wherever you are know that you are never alone. You just need to pray.

God we thank you for Elijah and the life he lived following you. He questioned his relationship with you and experienced despair in his tasks. You lifted him up and renewed his strength just as you lift us up too. Enable us O God to remember Elijah and his love for you and how you spoke to him in that still small voice. We are listening God. And we thank you always Amen

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

Watch for a new series beginning next week!

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