JUST LIKE US 2
Today is my dad’s birthday. He would have been 80 years old. He’s been in heaven since 2014 and I miss him so much. But what I find amazing is how much I see him in my children. A certain look or mannerism. The woodworking skills that were passed on to my son. The BBQ. If you knew my dad, you would know that my dad was in his element at the BBQ. Or sayings – “Rice and beans, John. Rice and beans.”
Or, “You got that right.” Which my brother just said as we siblings were texting one another about dad. I can even hear my dad’s voice in my memory. The last time I saw my brother was a couple of weeks ago. And because of the pandemic, I had not seen him for a year. When I wrapped around the corner and saw TJ, I was taken aback. What is my dad doing here? My brother looks and sounds just like my dad!
And funny thing – TJ had just told my daughter that she looks just like my sister, and he wondered what my sister was doing here at the farm. Crazy.
Dad, I miss you and cannot wait to see you.
Elijah was a man just like us. James 5:17 NIV
I am completing my study on the life of Elijah. This interesting man of God. He was known for his hairy coat (or the fact that he himself was hairy). He was a prophet with God’s power. And God displayed that power massively through Elijah. Elijah was a man of obedience. When God said go, he did. Elijah told King Ahab that a drought, and subsequent famine was coming, with drought being judgment for a nation trapped in idolatry. With this pronouncement, God had Elijah escape to a desert where he is fed by ravens.
Fast forward to Mt. Carmel. Talk about a showdown. Elijah’s obedience before this massive event at Mt Carmel enabled him to be used mightily for God. Elijah was bold. He was courageous. He was on FIRE. Well, the Baal altar was, as well as God’s altar. But, God used this man, this hairy man, this man like us to display His power that consumed not only these altars, but in doing so, demonstrated His consuming love for His people. All of these accounts and more can be found in 1 Kings 17-19.
James pick up this thread when he says that Elijah was a man just like us. Since I have been studying him, I have had to ask myself, am I really like him? Do I obey when I am told to go to a desert? Or to stand before a king and announce judgment? Do I boldly proclaim God’s power to those around me? Have I witnessed God’s power? Again and again and again?
What makes Elijah even more like us was his time at Mt Sinai. He had fled there out of fear. Jezebel wanted his hide. He got scared and bolted. He ended up in a cave and God found him there. I can never escape from Your Spirit! I can never get away from Your presence (Psalm 139:7 NLT). God did not punish him, instead He shows him His power through wind, that rocked the mountain. Earthquake that shook the mountain. Fire. But God was not in the wind, earthquake and fire. He was in the still small voice.
Why we see no record of Elijah’s hair standing on end I have no idea. But, can you imagine being in a cave with all of that earth rocking going on? And, Elijah did not respond UNTIL the still small voice. We do not know what was said, all we know is that Elijah responded. And obeyed (1 Kings 19:9-18)
Is God moving a mountain in your life? Are things being shaken up around you? Have you run in fear? Are you in a cave? Well, you are in good company. What is most important to note in Elijah’s life is this: God did not reprimand Elijah. He just got his attention and got him moving back the way he came. Period. And oh, He showed His mighty power too.
The LORD of heaven's armies is here among us (Psalm 46:7). God is HERE. Not with a pointing finger, but with a heart of compassion. He sees us hiding in a cave. He sees us standing up before a king. He sees us at our Mt Carmel's declaring that God is the One True God. He whispers to us His love. He leads us. He showers us with His power.
Elijah was a man who stood before God – he prayed. And, yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! (James 5:17) Earnestly.
Because he stood before God he could stand before wicked King Ahab. He could stand before all of idolatrous Israel, as well as all of the Baal and Asherah prophets and proclaim that God is the One true God. His prayers stopped the rains. His prayers started the rain back up.
Because Elijah was a man just like us, it stands to reason that we can do the same thing. So what’s stopping us?
Lord, thank You that You always know where I am. Thank You that I can stand before You. Lord, I'm in a cave. I'm running. Forgive me. As I step into obedience of following You, give me courage. I am not alone for You are here. In the name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.