Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” – 1 Kings 17:1
No scholar seems able to tell us about Tishbe. Neither do we know much about Elijah’s parents except what is most important: in a day of rampant unbelief they confess their faith in the covenant Lord by naming their son Elijah, meaning, My God is the Lord. God’s chosen servant’s beginnings are clouded in obscurity yet Elijah’s character explodes in this introduction. Elijah is a man of courage, addressing the king of Israel, one who is no friend of God’s prophets. What emboldened him?
First, conviction that God lives, in contrast to Baal, who according to pagan mythology, annually died. Second, consciousness of God. God was not simply one before Whom he stood but before Whom he stands. To Elijah, the colossal figure of the King towers above the king. Third, confidence in God’s promise to punish idolatrous people (Deuteronomy 28:15, 23-24). Elijah is also a committed man. He is told to go and he goes (vv. 2, 5). It doesn’t seem that significant except that people like that were scarce in his day and also in ours. But it should be common among Christians. Whatever God calls me to do, I will do. Whatever He forbids, I will forgo.
This is the man Elijah. He was like Christ, the greater Prophet, who was chosen from obscurity, courageous before men, and committed to serving His God unstintingly. The Spirit upon Christ is the Spirit upon Elijah and is the Spirit upon us to shape us to be that kind of Christian.
Suggestions for prayer
Ask that God would pour out His Holy Spirit upon us to conform us to the image of Christ so that we might fearlessly serve Him in his Church and our nation. Pray that God would make your Minister a man of courage and commitment.
This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. John van Eyk is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta.