Archive for June 1, 2016

Book Review XXXIII: Elijah–A Man of Heroism and Humility

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A book which The Ink Room brought in during Heroes of Faith campaign.
Didn’t immediately purchase this book until 2 years ago.
5 books at 50% off. Good deal, isn’t it?

Charles Swindoll presented this book as a Bible study on the life of Elijah.
Since it is going to be difficult to summarize the whole book, I will just highlight the points I find interesting.

Here we go ~~

Confrontation with Ahab (1 Kings 16:29-33; 17:1)

Ahab was wicked king, more evil than the previous kings of the northern kingdom of Israel.
He married Jezebel who introduced pagan/Baal worship to the kingdom.
At this darkest hour, Elijah the prophet came and announced God’s judgment: there would be no rain until Elijah said so.

Lesson(s) here:
– Elijah stood alone in proclaiming God’s judgment on the wicked monarch.
Similarly, even if we have to stand alone today, we must make a stand and proclaim what is right and what is wrong according the God’s word.

Solitude in Cherith (1 Kings 17:1-7)

Perhaps the best way to teach a stubborn king is by letting him experience God’s judgment himself instead of repeatedly warning him.
God sent Elijah to the brook of Cherith for 2 reasons: protection and training.
Elijah learned to depend on God daily ad the birds brought him food.
Through the solitude, he built his prayer life.
However, one day the book dried up. His lifeline disappeared due to his own prayer that there should be no rain.

Lesson(s) here:
– There are times we should pull back from the busyness of life and be alone with God in prayer.
– There are times we feel the stream of God’s blessing dries up even though we have carried out God’s commandment.
We need to remember that God has the right to give and withhold blessing. 
He knows what He is doing for our best interest. As He does that, He removes pride, fear, resentment and carnal habit.

Zarephath Part 1: Endless Supply of Oil and Flour (1 Kings 17:8-16)

After initial training time of isolation and meditation in Cherith, Elijah had an advanced training in Zarephath.
It was a dangerous journey from Cherith to Zarephath as he was a wanted man. Nevertheless, God protected him.
The widow made the last meal for her and her son before they would die.
Even then, Elijah requested that last meal with the promise the oil and flour would not run our.
Despite her bewilderment, widow complied with his request as his faith rubbed on her.
As a reward, the oil and the flour did not run out throughout the drought period.
The widow did not have all she wanted. Nevertheless, she had all she needed to survive.

Lesson(s) here:
– God’s training never stops.
When we think we are done with one training, He will bring us into another more intense training to remove more impurities in our lives.
Due to all the pain, we may think God has forgotten us. However, the truth is He never leaves us and He knows what He is doing.
– We need to trust God’s promise and obey His word. This is the key to unlock miracle in the midst of impossibility.
– We should always thank the Lord. We may not have all we want, but He definitely provides all we need.

Zarephath Part II: Resurrection after death (1 Kings 17:17-24)

One day, the widow’s son fell sick and eventually died.
She was in deep grief and blamed Elijah for the tragedy even though Elijah helped her much.
Elijah, on the other hand, was silent. He did not rebuke her.
He did exactly like the Lord commanded but He still received the brunt of the blame.
Elijah brought the dead body oh the son to God. He could not find any precedence of resurrection in the Scripture he read.
Nevertheless, since he had faced much impossibility and miracle before, he asked God to do the impossible: to resurrect the son.
After some time, God granted Elijah’s prayer and resurrected the boy.
Elijah presented the living boy to the widow. He did not claim credit to such miracle. As such, the widow saw the Lord in Elijah’s life.

Lesson(s) here:
– Bad things still happen even though we obey the Lord. In such time, we can come before God in private and ask God.
– We can always bring any dead circumstance to the Lord for Him to resurrect it.
– After experiencing miracle, we need to give glory to God to whom all glory is due.

Showdown in Carmel (1 Kings 18:1-2, 17-40)

One day Elijah went to meet Ahab. Right from the start, Ahab blamed Elijah for all the trouble of drought.
However, Elijah did not back down. He blamed Ahab as he worshiped idols.
Elijah had idea of showdown between prophets of Baal+Asherah and himself.
God who answered by lightning is the true God.
He first asked the audience, children of Israel whether they wanted to follow the LORD or Baal.
The people were undecided.
The prophets of Baal started first. They danced around, screamed and even mutilated themselves. Yet, no one paid attention.
Elijah came forward and prepared the altar of the Lord.
He prayed and the Lord sent lightning to burn the offering.
Elijah then killed the prophets of Baal.

Lessons(s) here:
– When we are in the will of God, we are invincible.
– Divided allegiance is as wrong as idolatry.
– Our most effective tool is the prayer of faith.

God Who Keeps His Promise (1 Kings 18:41-46)

Just as God had kept His word that there would be no rain, He kept His promise of sending rain to earth.
There are times when we need to wait for the fulfilment of His promise.
We even think He has forgotten it. In truth, He still remembers.
God does not clarify His timetable with us as we won’t agree with Him anyway.

God sent drought. He first did not tell Elijah when the drought would end.
Why did He delay? Because He wanted to show the Israelites that prophets of Baal had no credential at all.
Hence, Elijah could easily command the people to kill those prophets later on.
Even when God did not tell Elijah the timing of drought, he did not complain as he believed God would keep His promise.

We need to be careful in claiming God’s promise.
Some of His promises are only applicable on the specific context in the past.
Some are applicable to us today which we can claim.
Even for those promises we can claim, some are conditional and we need to keep our side of bargain before God moves.
Some are unconditional.

Elijah claimed the promise of rain from God when he prayed on top of mount of Carmel.
7 times he prayed for rain.
God sent a sign of small cloud. Eventually, the rain did come.

Lesson(s) here:
– Elijah was a man of prayer. We, too, should pray even after experiencing victory.
– Elijah prayed specifically for rain. We, too, should be specific in our prayer.
– Elijah prayed 7 times. We, too, should be persistent in our prayer.

When The Depression Hits (1 Kings 19:1-21)

God did not mind showing the lowest point of His people in the Bible.
Moses, Jonah, Paul and Elijah.
After a great victory, Elijah received a death threat from Jezebel.
Fearing for his life, Elijah left his servant.
Being alone, he went to wilderness and asked God to remove his life. He was emotionally and physically exhausted, being lost in self pity.
God then allowed Elijah a time of rest and refreshment. He communicated graciously with Elijah in still small voice.
He did not rebuke or shame Elijah.
Instead, He clarified some facts to Elijah to get him out of self pity. He also sent a personal friend to Elijah: Elisha.

Lesson(s) here:
– When depression or self pity strikes, we need to hear God’s voice.
– We need one another in our walk with God. God never intends us to walk alone.

Justice is Served (1 Kings 21:1-29)

While God is good and long suffering, there will come a point when His patience runs out.
He will then carry out His justice.

Ahab wanted Naboth’s vineyard. However, Naboth refused Ahab’s offer as it was against Jewish law to sell the land of inheritance.
Sullen, Ahab shared the incident to Jezebel.
Jezebel took matter into her own hands. She framed Naboth into his death.
After he died, Ahab took the vineyard for himself.
God sent Elijah to announce the doom of Ahab and Jezebel. They had provoked Him enough.

Lesson(s)  here:
– there is an end to God’s patience. No one knows it.
So, we should not play games with God.

Like Father Like Son (2 Kings 1:1-18)

Ahaziah, the son of Ahab, reigned in Israel after the death of Ahab. He was a wicked king.
One day, he fell and became ill.
He sent messengers to inquire Baal-Zeebub, the god of Ekron. Baal-Zeebub means lord of the flies.
Such contact with demonic world will open spiritual door for demons to enter into Israel.
God quickly dispatched Elijah to intercept the messengers. He told them to tell Ahaziah he would die from sickness.
Ahaziah then sent soldiers to summon Elijah.
Elijah refused to come with the first 2 groups of soldiers. In fact, lightning killed them.
Elijah eventually came with the third group of soldiers to the king to announce his death from his illness.
True enough. King Ahaziah never recovered.

Lesson(s) here:
– we must never open door to demonic world though it may seem harmless at first, e.g. Ouija board, palm reading, astrology.
God is displeased with any occult movement. Instead, God is delighted when we trust in Him completely.
– we must never be afraid to proclaim God’s truth even in the presence of wicked authority.

Farewell (2 Kings 2:1-14)

Elijah was heroic and yet humble. At this time, God was about to take him up to heaven, similar to Enoch.
Because Elijah knew he was going to be taken up, he became the model of us who live in the anticipation of Christ’s return.

Before he was taken up in Jordan, he went to Gilgal, Bethel and Jericho first to reflect upon his life.
Gilgal was a place of beginning for the children of Israel before they entered into the Promised Land.
Bethel was the place of prayer. Abraham built an altar to the LORD there.
As he walked through the streets of Bethel, he remembered his communion with God in Cherith and Zarephath.
Jerico was a place of battle. Elijah remembered the victory on the mount of Carmel.
And finally, Jordan, a place of death. He died to self-life. He obeyed and trusted God.
Throughout all this journey, Elisha followed Elijah fully.
He requested that he would inherit double portion of Elijah’s spirit.
Elijah was a bit taken aback. Nevertheless, Elisha did inherit double of the power.
When one man/woman of God leaves this world, nothing of God stops.
Exit Elijah. Enter Elisha.

Lesson(s) here:

– Individually, we had our respective Gilgal, Bethel, Jericho and Jordan. We first started our walk by giving our heart to Him.
We then learned to spend time with God. We had to conquer battles against sinful nature and temptation.
Finally, we learned to die to self.
– Never hesitate to ask big things from God.

You can purchase this book here:
http://www.theinkroom.com.sg/great-lives-series-elijah-paperback-english.html