While in seminary, Howard Hendricks, asked our class this question: “Have you ever wondered why there is so much in the Scriptures that is biographical? It is obvious to even a causal reader of this Book [He held up his Bible.] that its pages are penetrated with personality — men and women who are not fugitives from a wax museum but who are made of the same tissue of life as each of us. The Holy Spirit loves to reach truth in terms of life.”
Spiritual biographies leave us with motivation, they show us how to walk with God. They provide instruction, they show us how “you do it.” They also strip us of rationalization, excuses for not serving God become null and void. And lastly, they provide us with inspiration, if these men and women who are no different than us, can have an impact, they so can we! But first we must conclude there are no safe zones on this planet!
My new sermon series, THE ELIJAH CHRONICLES: STANDING WITH GOD IN AN AGE OF COMPROMISE, hopefully does all four. You can find his story in 1 Kings 17:1-19:18.
J. Sidlow Baxter calls him “one of the most remarkable figures in what whole story of Israel. His eminence is seen both in religious reformation which he wrought, and in the fact that the New Testament speaks of him more often than of any other Old Testament prophet. Moreover, it was he who was chosen to appear with Moses at our Lord’s transfiguration…. One of Israel’s most startling and romantic characters, he suddenly appears on the scene as the crises-prophet, with thunder on his brow and tempest in his voice. He disappears just as suddenly, swept skywards in a chariot of fire. Between his first appearing and his final disappearing lies a succession of amazing miracles.”
What makes him truly unique are the times in which he ministered. It was during one of the darkest hours of Israel’s history. Things were bad when Ahab began his reign, but they went to uber worse quickly. “Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord more than all before him,” 1 Kings 16:30. Ahab wanted to wipe out the worship of Yahweh and replace it with the worship of the Cannanite God Baal. This was Israel’s (the Northern Kingdom) darkest hour.
I believe we live in similar times. Our nation is horribly divided, pursuing personal peace and affluence, tragically addicted to pleasure over piety, threatened from within and without, like a ship without a ruder in a stormed tossed sea, we hurtle toward even an uncertain future. The nation of Israel was also was also was also adrift spiritually. But one man sold out to God and empowered with His Spirit and guided by His Word, saved the nation. Yes, I know we are not Israel, but I know God “is not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance,” 2 Peter 3:9.
Are we drift further into post-Christian waters, what shall the righteous do, (Psalm 11:3). More specifically what will you do? Could you be the next Elijah?
Come and see!