“What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” (1 Kings 19:9-10, ESV).
If you take a look at 1 Kings 18 & 19, you see a truly remarkable series of miraculous events taking place.
God sent Elijah to prophesy to King Ahab, there would be no rain and for three and a half years, and true to God’s word, no rain came. As the desperate Israelites cried out, the Lord again sent Elijah to the king to declare the famine is about to be over; to prepare for rain. God’s desire was to root out the idolatry in the land and the people now appeared ready to return to the Lord.
But first, Elijah instructed the king to assemble all Israel together on Mount Carmel, including the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, “Who eat at Jezebel’s table.” (1 Kings 18:19, ESV). And so, everyone gathered together for a duel, so-to-speak, to see which god really is God!
Elijah allows the false prophets to begin. They build an altar and prepare the sacrifice. They then begin calling on their god, working themselves up into a frenzy, even cutting themselves to invoke their god to appear and prove that he is God. All the while, Elijah taunts and mocks this “god” to show himself, but nothing happens.
Worn out and frustrated, the false prophets step aside and it is now Elijah’s turn. He builds an altar and a sacrifice, dousing the sacrifice with water and calls upon the Lord. The Lord answers by sending fire from heaven that burns up the sacrifice and licks up the water. The people, amazed, declare that the Lord is God. Elijah kills all of the false prophets with the sword, destroying any further influence they might have upon the people.
Elijah then tells the king to get into his chariot and hurry home because rain is coming. Even more impressive, “And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.” (1 Kings 18:46, ESV). Elijah outran King Ahab’s chariot! If you are a prophet, that is not a bad day’s work in the kingdom.
Nevertheless, in the very next chapter, after this stunning victory, Elijah, afraid of what the wicked Queen Jezebel will do to him, runs away to a cave to hide. The point is this: even after a series of important successes, we may still find ourselves afraid, feeling lost, alone and consequently, separating ourselves from the family of God. The devil’s plan for you is to discourage you and separate you so that he can more effectively destroy you.
Even though we may feel insecure, ineffective, or unwanted; we, like sheep, find protection in the herd. I encourage you to draw near to your church family. We are all human and we all have issues. If you don’t have a church family, ask the Lord to provide one for you.
More next week!
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Rob Granger and his wife, Becky, serve as Executive Pastors of Grace Church San Marcos under Senior Pastors Brian and Melissa Bauer. Located at 855 E. Barham Drive, San Marcos, Grace San Marcos meets at 10 a.m. Sundays and 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays with meetings for youth, children and other groups scheduled throughout the week. Visit www.gracesanmarcos.net for further information.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Times-Advocate.