May 19, 2020
How would you describe yourself? Answering this question is very important. We go to extremes: some think too little of themselves and some too much. Finding God’s path for your life entails coming to understand who you are and why you were created. What a tragedy to live your whole life and never discover why you were here.
Like John the Baptist who was to follow, Elijah the prophet was a voice for God. It was his role and, I believe, it is every man and woman's role. What could possibly be more important?
In 1 Kings 18 we read the incredible story of his encounter with the wicked King Ahab. Ahab accused Elijah of troubling Israel. Elijah simply spoke for God, knowing that it might cost him his life.
He said, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, because you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD and you have followed the Baals” (1 Kings 18:18)
Elijah knew his role and he courageously spoke the truth to the king. This is always the message that brings reality to man’s condition and the difficulties and confusion in the world. The problem is that men have forgotten God and followed false gods.
Following God’s directive, Elijah called for a contest between the god of Baal and the Lord God Jehovah. 450 prophets tried to rouse their god to answer by fire. They worked hard at it all day long with no results.
When midday was past, they raved until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention (vs. 29)
Of course there was no response, for a god of human making is no god at all. Such gods are powerless to help because they only live in the vain imaginations of men. And, the result was that “no one paid attention.” In other words, the whole nation of Israel was unimpressed because they finally saw the impotence of a false god.
Then Elijah arranged the wood and prepared the sacrifice for Jehovah. He moved in faith, knowing what His God would do. The final moment was a moment of prayer. It was a prayer that sprang from one selfless motivation: that God would be seen and known.
When James, the brother of Jesus, wanted us to understand the effectiveness of prayer, he used Elijah as the example (James 5:16-18). Jack Taylor once said, “If prayer is anything then prayer is everything.” God has given over 650 examples and admonitions to prayer in the Bible, with 450 recorded answers. Scripture-fed, believing prayer is the foundational way that we are to function with God. There is simply no substitute for prayer in our walk with God. It is the only conduit through which we connect with Him. And how can we fulfill our purpose if we are not connected to our Creator?
Elijah prayed, the one true God answered, and look at what it produced in the lives of the people.
When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and they said, “The LORD, He is God; the LORD He is God” (vs. 39).
If we want to fulfill our purpose so that the world will have a right opinion of God and return to Him, then we must be willing to be a courageous voice. We must speak what He desires to have said, even if not politically correct. We must trust God that He will make Himself known for the sake of returning people to Himself, which is their greatest salvation.
And with a right motive and full of faith—we must pray.
Lord, make me a man of courage today. Help me to witness boldly and unashamedly for you. And then, Lord, come! Help me to be a man of unceasing prayer that asks great things from You so that You can be seen as the God-Who-Answers-by-Fire! I ask this so the world may fall down and worship the only One who deserves glory.
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