Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”
–1 Kings 17:1
Elijah is a case study of somebody who glorified and enjoyed God. Remember, Elijah was not a spiritual superman; he was a spiritual everyman. James 5:17 says he was “a man with a nature like ours.” Elijah struggled with the same kinds of things that you and I struggle with; nevertheless, God used him in an extraordinary way.
Let’s look at Elijah’s beginning. In Elijah’s time, the nation of Israel was sliding further and further away from God into spiritual darkness. Yet against that dark backdrop of Israel’s existence Elijah burst on the scene with the light of God’s truth. We don’t know anything about Elijah’s past. He just appears in 1 Kings 17:1: “Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.’”
I want you to notice three things about Elijah. First of all, notice his name. Elijah means “the Lord is my God.” He grew up with a God-awareness. Isn’t it interesting how the characters in the Bible had significant names that mirrored their future? Elijah’s did that. He had an important name.
Second, notice his home. Elijah came from the town of Tishbe. Tishbe wasn’t a thriving metropolis; it was a fork in the road. Today, it would be like Mud Lick, Kentucky, or Boogertown, North Carolina. But what was significant was not the geographical location of Elijah’s home; it was the spiritual temperature in his home. We know Elijah’s parents taught him the Word of God. Parents, the most important thing you can do is to instill in your children a knowledge of God’s Word. We only have our kids for eighteen or so years. It is important to use those years to teach them the truth of God’s Word.
Third, notice his manner. Elijah was not a man to mince words. My seminary professor once described many pastors today as mild-mannered men preaching mild-mannered sermons teaching people how to be more mild-mannered. But there was nothing mild-mannered about Elijah. He burst on the scene and confronted the wicked Ahab and Jezebel, saying that it would no longer rain in the land until they got their act together. It took guts to stand before the king and queen and make that bold declaration. But Elijah knew his purpose in life. God had given him the general purpose that we all have of glorifying God, but Elijah’s specific assignment was to deliver this hard message to a wayward nation.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Secret #1: Discover Your Unique Purpose” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.