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FOLLOWING GOD WHEN OTHERS FAILED

         Elijah came unto the scene at a critical juncture in Israel history. Going back to little bit to present a review of the event that led up to the time of Elijah. After the death of King David, Solomon his son took total charge over land of Israel as a king. In his latter years, Solomon’s wives turned his heart away from God and he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not follow the LORD fully, as David his father had done – 1 Kings 11:6). As a result Israel split into two kingdoms. The northern ten tribes followed Jeroboam, Solomon’s slave master, and were led into false worship complete with idols, pagan altars, false priests, and even false feasts.
       The Northern Kingdom languished through a series of wicked kings from Jeroboam to his son, Nadab, who followed in his sinful footsteps (And he did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin.1  Kings 15;26) and then to Baasha who did likewise.
     Elijah was called of God to minister to the Northern ten tribes of Israel during the early years of the divided kingdom.
     Elijah bursts on the scene suddenly during the reign of Ahab, the wicked king Israel had ever known. His past it as mysterious as his future. We know nothing of him before his prophetic ministry began, except that he is called “the Tushbite.” Most scholars believe that Elijah was raised in the wild but beautiful mountain district of Glead, the highlands of Palestine on the eastern side of the Jordan River. Unlike many of the other prophets, we know nothing of his parentage. The Scripture record tells us that he did not taste death, but instead was caught up to heaven with a chariot of fire and a whirlwind as has pupil and successor, Elisha watched.

LESSON ONE:  Ministering Only On the Word of the LORD.

     The wickedness of Elijah’s day highlights the workings of God through Elijah and causes the full beauty of what God was doing to be seen. Today we see that the word of the Lord that came to Elijah was Jehovah’s gracious intervention to turn Israel away from their wickedness and back to following God.  And it is clear evidence of God’s grace that He is unwillingly to leave us when we stray from Him. He is always interested in calling us back to Himself. Since the Northern kingdom of ten tribes of Israel split from Judah, they had given themselves to idols. But God had not forgotten His people in the Northern kingdom; He faithfully sent truth to them through the prophet Elijah.
     King Ahab who became king over northern kingdom of Israel at the time King Asa was king of Judah- the southern two bribes of Israel, - did more evil before the Lord than all the kings before him. He took a pagan wife, and who led him into Baal worship. King Ahab allowed Jericho to be rebuilt despite the prohibition of God through Joshua.
     Elijah began by saying, “As the Lord, the God of Israel lives……”  Everything that was going to happen was to give evidence to prodigal Israel, that the God of their father still lives. Elijah prophesied that there would be “neither rain nor dew” n the land for three years and six months, except by his word.
      “Thus says the Lord” to widow of Zarephath by Elijah is also another evidence that he ministered only on the word of God
     As Elijah was obedient, he enjoyed God’s provision, first through the ravens and then through the widow’s oil and flour. Following God had placed Elijah in great need, but God was faithful to meet those needs. Even if he didn’t follow God, Elijah still would have had the same needs because of the drought, but if he had nor followed God, he would not have experienced God’s provision.
    

LESSON TWO:  A Received and Fulfilled Ministry
     Colossians 4:17   “ take………” A received ministry means that we are doing God’s work, the work He has called us to not just good works. True ministry is initiated by God, which means that it is received, not achieved. Apostle Paul recognized this fact, for he declares in Acts20:24. “But I hold not my life of any account as dear unto myself, so that I may accomplish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”   Paul recognized that his ministry was something he received from the Lord, not something he achieved on his own. This truth is clearly seen also in 1 Peter 4:10 “”  We had no say in the gifts God gave us. We did nothing to earn or achieve them. We received them from the Lord A God-initiated ministry comes only through following God in a relationship of dependence.  Every ministry must begins with Him and requires that we hear from Him and to do so we must walk in fellowship with Him.  That is what following God is all about.  We see this principle illustrated beautifully in Elijah’s challenge to the prophets of Baal.
     The obvious truth here is that going to meet with Ahab was not Elijah’s idea; it was God’s. Elijah was simply obeying the “word of the Lord”.
     Elijah challenged Ahab to assemble for a showdown between God and Baal. 850 prophets of Baal and 450 prophets of the Asherah assembled to challenge the Living God. The Baal and Asherah prophets called out to their god all day with no response, and then it was Elijah’s turn. He called the people near and repaired the altar of the Lord. He had water poured on the offering and then prayed a short prayer. Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the sacrifice. In the end the people fell on their faces and declared. “The Lord, He is God.”  “O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that Thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy Word.” 1 Kings 18:36

                                                                                             Continue tomorrow           

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