Dear STL Supporter
A Model for Meeting Challenges
At the end of 1 Kings 16 the Bible records Ahab becoming king of Israel - In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab the son of Omri became king over Israel; and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years. 30 Now Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him. 31 And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. (vs 29 to 31).
The moral decent of the nation of Israel, accompanied by violent political intrigue, was at rock bottom. Would the spirituality of the nation of Israel sink much lower? The answer was 'yes' because king Ahab went and married Jezebel, the Baal worshipping priestess daughter of the king of the Sidonians and they built another temple to Baal in Samaria. The physical building was in defiance of God as were its sensuous and sexually perverted worship rites. Imagine trying to hold on to your faith as one who revered the Great Creator God of heaven and earth!
Into this context comes the prophet Elijah. How would you like to be a prophet? Quite often prophets are assigned by God to give the bad news, the warning and reproofs as His messenger. This was Elijah's calling.
Assignment number one for Elijah was to tell Ahab that God was causing a drought in Israel for an unspecified time. God knew that Elijah had developed the qualities of loyalty and character that enabled him to front up to an aggressive apostate king.
What were the qualities of character and commitment that had developed Elijah to the point where he could take on apparently suicidal missions for God? The next couple of chapters in 1 Kings show us what these qualities were. We would do well to develop the same qualities, as well.
Like it or not we live in an increasingly paganised world with the rising of subtle and overt worship of self and sensuality all around us. Gratuitous violence abounds. The last census in Australia tells us that fewer people acknowledge the Christian God, let alone have a relationship with Him or read the Bible for spiritual and moral guidance. The gay lobby - representing a whole expanding range of divergent sexual behaviours - is making wrong seem right and right seemly wrong and discriminative. Our children are told that their biology does not determine their sexual orientation, that their parents are not their moral compasses and that no one, not even their parents, have the right to advise them on their gender. Our young people from a pre-teenage age are told that they should experiment for themselves and then determine their sexual orientation. God created humankind in His image and Satan is doing his best to obscenely deface human beings that should reflect God.
Prophet Elijah is a person who won great victories for God in a hostile context. In the record of what follows his announcing of the prolonged drought to king Ahab, we can see the qualities enabling him to be an effective representative for God. They carried him through tough times.
They gave him what it took to go and live in the wilderness by the brook called Cherith and just wait there living in the wild, totally dependant on God for food delivered by the ravens and water in a little stream that was dwindling to the point of drying up. How would you and I have lasted? Would we have said The ravens will die in the drought and then what for me? Would we have said, I'll go and find a better supply of water for myself somewhere, as the brook
dried up? Or would we have had faith and courage and waited for God to tell us what to do next?
Prophet Elijah had faith to follow God's instruction and go and ask a Phoenician woman (Not and Israelite) for the last of her food. He did it. She was blessed and so was he. Then he had to cope with her son dying. This did cause him to question God's justice and mercy, but he was honest in this, as he could not work out the reason why the boy had died when the woman had been so good to him. He persisted in prayer and a great miracle happened as the boy came back to life.
Then there was the show down between evil and God on Mount Carmel. Elijah's qualities of relationship, obedience, persistence and faith were seen in the way he carried out the assignment of building the altar and calling on God to accept the sacrifice. Then it didn't rain and he persistently and in great faith kept praying.! How are we with faithful persistent praying when things are tough for us? Hopefully like Elijah.
Can I encourage you to re-read 1 Kings Ch 16 to 19 to complete this part of the life the story of Elijah. Its inspiring! Ultimately Elijah was one of the few translated to be with God without seeing death.
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With Christian greetings
Cherryl and the STL team
Brian Way/Programs Coordinator
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