Today I’d like to start a new series of short devotional notes looking at the life and times of the prophets Elijah and Elisha. The two prophets have much to teach us and much that applies to all our lives. It is my hope and prayer that these short notes , part expositional, part devotional will not only whet an appetite in us all to read these scriptures, but also to follow and live for God as they did.
Day One 1 Kings 17 : 1 ff ‘My God is the Lord’
Elijah the prophet is one of the most fascinating figures in the Bible let alone the Old Testament. At a time of general disobedience and turning away from God Elijah seems to appear out of nowhere, to proclaim the word of the Lord to a king and a nation.
Of all the Old testament Prophets, Elijah seems to be the one most held in awe by the people of Israel and rightly so . He is mentioned 29 times in the New Testament alone. John the Baptist is likened to Elijah ( John 1:21) , Elijah with Moses is seen with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration ( Matt 17:3) , the crowd thought that Elijah would come and save Jesus from the Cross ( Matt 27:47-49) . James describes Elijah as a person with a nature just like ours ( James 5:17) , and thus subject to all that we are subject to too. But the first thing to notice about Elijah was his name. The name Elijah means ‘ My God is the Lord’ .
The name Elijah means ‘ My God is the Lord’ .
What does this tell us ? Well it tells us more about his parents than anything. It shows that in a day when a succession of evil kings had ruled and ruined Israel, and the worship of God was forgotten about and the name of God trampled underfoot, a brave couple had called their little baby boy Eli Jah ‘ My God is the Lord ‘ . In taking this step they were bravely witnessing for God, by not going with the flow of national apostasy . As in so many cases in the Bible as indeed in human history, a work of God begins with a little baby being born . Think of Isaac, of Joseph, of Samuel, John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Himself. Often a little child being born heralds the beginning of a great work.
This little boy called Elijah was to grow into a mighty man of God whose name would strike fear into the enemies of Jehovah , and give a reminder to king and nation that there is a God in Israel.
The work of God sometimes has small and imperceptible beginnings, but isn’t it comforting to know that the God who became one of us, in Jesus , continues to use frail, sinful , inadequate people in His sovereign will.