I am studying in 1 Kings 17 -19 presently, and I am just flat out giddy about it. This is one of my absolute favorite sections of Scripture. I love teaching the Word of God because I truly believe every single word of it as written and I want everyone else to as well. This past week as I studied in 1 Kings 17 the Holy Spirit brought to my recognition something in the first two verses that I don’t believe I had ever noticed before. 1 Kings 17:1-2 says,
“Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.’ Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah:”
Now what is so significant in these two verses? What is buried in these words that I had missed the other 500 plus times that I have dug into these verses and sifted through these chapters? What can we discover about Elijah that made him different? So different that he is a prophet that is prophesied about by other prophets in the Bible. “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.” (Malachi 4:5) So different that he is the prophet that stood with Moses and Jesus Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration to represent all the prophets of God (Matthew 17:3-4). Read 1 Kings 17:1-2 again and pay close attention to that small word “then“. Do you see it?
This, my friend, is what I saw this morning in these verses that I had completely missed before. Usually when a prophet is recorded speaking in the Scriptures we see that the Word of the LORD came to the prophet and then the prophet goes out in obedience to share what the LORD told him. However, right here in 1 Kings 17:1-2 what we see is Elijah the Tishbite step up before a King and speak BEFORE the Word of the LORD comes to him.
Elijah was just a man who loved the Lord and feared Him. He was a man who knew the word of the Lord that was given to ALL His people Israel through Moses before they set foot in this promised land. He knew what God declared in Deuteronomy 11:11-19,
“But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.
So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul— then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.
Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut up the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you. Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Elijah’s father and his father before him had been faithful to teach these words to their children just as the Lord had commanded. When Ahab brought the Baal and Asherah worship into the kingdom and married Jezebel a priestess for Baal, Elijah simply had enough. Elijah knew what the word of the Lord said and he stepped out in faith before a King and declared it to be done. Even to the point of declaring that it would not rain until he himself said it would.
Elijah set himself up to represent the Lord without having to be asked to or commanded to by the Lord. There was no extra promise or assurance of protection by God that gave him the encouraging push to obey. Elijah stepped into what had already been written, what had already been commanded, what had already been promised and believed God would have his back.
Why is this so significant for us? Why would he be the prophet that is set up as the representative of all the prophets? Look at where we are today beloved. The cannon of Scripture has been closed. All that need be written has been written. There is no new word to come.
“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.” (Revelation 22:18-21)
Will we choose to be Elijah’s in our day? Will we choose to live by what was written and declare the truth of God and live in obedience to God even if we have not heard a word from Him? After all, it has already been written…
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)
Do you have the faith to walk by what is written? Even if it means calling out a King? I hope you do beloved. I pray that I do. I strive to be an Elijah, because it’s the Elijah’s that come in spirit and power, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1:17). Elijah was just a man (James 5:17), just a regular human being like you and me, and God held off the rain for three years simply because he stepped out in faith. Then God sent the rain because he prayed and asked Him to open the heavens.
Elijah walked the talk so God was able to look down from heaven when he bowed up on King Ahab and say “Hey, well would you look at that! Atta boy, Elijah! Don’t worry son, I’ve got you. My eyes range over all the earth searching to and for looking to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Me (2 Chronicles 16:9). I’ve been waiting and searching for someone like you! Now let’s get to work.”
How do we become Elijahs in our day? We start by knowing the Word of God. Then the next step is to walk in obedience to what you know. The third is to start opening our mouths and moving our feet sharing the word of the Lord with others. We need more people who are willing to gird up their loins and live righteously (not self-righteously) and truly get serious about speaking out against the evil in our present day and point the world to the One who came to save while the day is still the day of salvation.