We look at people in the bible as superheroes. While they appear superhero like in our minds; in reality they were just like us. They had struggles, they weren't incredibly extraordinary right off from birth, yet there was something wildly different about them.
Our series is focused on one such person. A man that came from a small town that no one knew about. An ordinary man that God chose to use for extraordinary purposes. His name was Elijah.
In 1 Kings 16: 29-34 (NIV) we see what is current in Elijah's time. The New King of Israel is Ahab. This guy was not a cool dude and a horrible ruler of Israel. Ahab had done incredible evil in the eyes of God. He married Jezebel, a woman who brought with her the shift of spiritual worship in Israel. Her "god" was Baal, the god of fertility and the Lord of Rain and Dew. Two key moisture needs for fertile soil in the land. Ahab had created an altar for Baal, and it did not please the true God.
Elijah being a faithful servant of God, went to Ahab and Jezebel to give them news from God. It wasn't what they wanted to hear at all. instead of tidings and good vibes, we see that Elijah expresses the challenge by God. The gauntlet had been thrown, and God was aiming to prove a point to Ahab. We read in i Kings 17 (NIV):
"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 int he next few years except at my word."
So what can we glean from Elijah's testimony? Firstly, that just because he was an ordinary man, his faith is what made him do great things. His faith compelled him to listen to God's call and challenge Ahab and Jezebel. Faith plays a vital impact in our lives.
1. Faith in God is our Identity.
Even though Elijah cam from a small place, he was still used for a greater purpose. Why? Because Elijah's faith was strong for the Lord. His identity was his faith to God, not to who he was or where he came from. For us we tend to tie our identity to things that defined us in the past and where we came from. However, ours should be untied loosely from those things and tied tightly to God. Elijah wasn't an influential person in his past, and God still chose him. Like us, we are not all influential or extraordinary from the get go, but that doesn't mean we are not meant to be Extraordinary in God's mission.
2. Proclaim your Faith.
Elijah did when he went to Ahab and Jezebel to proclaim God's proclamation. Faith isn't something we bottle up and keep to ourselves. It doesn't bear greater fruit if we harbor it inside. Faith is meant to be shared among others. Currently in this age, we have the platform to share it. We have generated audiences on our social media presence. It's often built on perfect curated photos and cute little messages. What if we were to create our platform on God and share him? We have power behind our words. Power to speak life and death, negative and positive. A simple opportunity to communicate can build and tear someone down. It comes down to what voice you chose to represent.
3. Faith determines the Steps.
When Elijah was connected to his faith it determined his actions. He trusted God with the messaged he shared. He trusted God after the words had lifted from his mouth. He trusted God after the fall out. There was active steps in proclaiming his faith, even if it meant his life. We are great at talking a big game with no follow through. We talk about our faith but don't walk it our in our daily lives. Sure we have that Sunday best attitude and persona at church, but faith shouldn't be reserved for those days only. It should be an integral authentic part of our lives every minute of everyday.
2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV) is the perfect example: "We walk by faith, not by sight."
We respond in faith, we do in faith, we love by faith. We don't use our faith just to impress upon others that we have God in our lives while secretly making a mess of who we are. No, Paul was talking about without the eyes watching you must be persistent in your faith with God.
Some key notes to consider:
Our faith should be progressive.
It's easy to live life because we have so many blessings in where we live. This can tend to cloud our hearts and not hold tightly to our faith and invest in it. That is why it is important to be alone with God everyday. It's like sitting at the table to eat. It's vital for the soul. Elijah's faith didn't just happen upon chance. It took persistence and investment to make him follow through.
Faith provokes action.
There is an example about the rudder on planes and boats. It's a small piece of equipment on these large vessels that is instrumental to the process of these machines. Without it being properly used it could have unwanted outcomes. Faith is much like a rudder in our life. We have to be conscious with how and when we use it. Are we using faith to guide us? Or, are we using faith in ourselves to navigate it instead?
With every series we like to leave each week with perspective. With a moment to ponder and get quiet within ourselves.
Examine your faith. Is your faith built on the emotions, your own strengths, in what you know and what you control? Or is your faith left in God's hands?
Listen to how you speak. Does your faith show in how you communicate? Does it reflect a foundation in God or yourself?
Tune into next week for our next part of the series of Elijah