Serve with courage
1 Kings 16:29–33; 17:1–6
One of my favorite prophets is Elijah. As a youth, I longed to grow into a man of faith and courage like him. Admittedly, I have not reached this aspiration; not even close.
Nevertheless, each of us can be inspired by his life. In reality, it is God, not Elijah, who is so great. Elijah recognized this. Even his name, which means, “My God is Yah[weh],” points to the supremacy of the Lord. This week, as Elijah bursts on the biblical scene unannounced, we are reminded to serve the Lord with courage.
Recognize when others oppose God and His authority. (29-33)
Ahab’s authority was God-given; no authority exists that is not from God (Rom. 12:1). This truth doesn’t mean rulers have carte blanche to live and rule any way they wish. As believers, we are to examine the policies and lives of our leaders.
A prime example is Ahab, who was held accountable for his wickedness. He allowed Jeroboam’s cult to continue, married Jezebel, a Baal worshiper, erected a temple of Baal and Asherah poles, and even sacrificed his child. Ahab trivialized sin and led Israel into immorality and idolatry. His wickedness was in direct opposition to God.
Stand against the lies and false beliefs of culture. (17:1)
I love Elijah’s boldness and faith. Risking his own life, he confronts Ahab and pronounces that drought will come upon the land. Baal worship, which Ahab promotes, includes the myth that Baal dies each year and returns to life to bring rain. In other words, they believed Baal was the “god” who gives rain. Elijah refuses to stand on the sidelines while God is mocked.
Quite dramatically, Elijah claims there will be no rain until he says so, proving Yahweh is the only one who controls the rain.
In our contemporary culture, religious pluralism is promoted. As in the days of Elijah, people are frowned upon who embrace the one true God. Nevertheless, we must not remain silent as our culture and world mock our living Lord. God does not wink at sin, and neither should we. In love, take a stand against lies and false beliefs. Our ultimate goal is to proclaim to the world that the LORD is God! Be bold. Just do it.
God sustains us as we obediently exercise courage. (2-6)
In taking a stand for God, Elijah appears to be putting himself at risk. Will the king kill him? Will Elijah die of thirst and starvation because of the drought? Absolutely not! Ahab can’t touch Elijah apart from God’s permission.
Furthermore, the God who controls the rain can also provide for His servant. Even ravens are subject to God as He commands them to bring food to Elijah.
An interesting thing to note, the ravens brought meat twice a day. During this period, meat once a week was a luxury. God provided meat twice a day! Not only did God provide for Elijah, but His provision was abundantly beyond what would be expected.
Whether you are “big” or “small” in the world’s eyes, you can also say, “My God is Yah[weh].” Step out in courage. Stand up for truth. Do not fear the difficulties of this world; the same Lord who took care of Elijah will take care of you! And don’t be surprised when God does exceedingly, abundantly beyond what you ask or even imagine!
By Rob Jackson, Ph.D.
Jackson has served in a variety of ministry roles, including pastor and state missionary