Transition Note: Elijah: A Man of Heroism and Humility is our new study, again using Chuck Swindoll's devotional book, Great Days with the Great Lives as my devotional guide. I pray we all can grow closer to God and become more like our Lord in this study.
2009 – Day 145.May 26 – Alone in the Gap
Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 16: 29 – 17: 1 … 29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab son of Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned in Samaria over Israel twenty-two years. 30 Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him. 31 He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. 32 He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than did all the kings of Israel before him. … 34 In Ahab's time, Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho. He laid its foundations at the cost of his firstborn son Abiram, and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, in accordance with the word of the LORD spoken by Joshua son of Nun.
1 Kings 17 : 1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word."
My Journal for Today: Here was the scene. It was a day when the gap between God being Lord of all in Israel had widened to its greatest extent. Ahab and Jezebel ruled the Northern tribes of Israel; and Baal was their little-g “god.” The one true God, Jehovah, had faded in the minds and hearts of God’s “chosen” people, and somewhat quietly, but significantly, we are introduced, in Verse 17: 1 of our study passage today, to “Elijah,” who came from a small town, called Tishbe, likely located about 20 miles south of the Sea of Galilee, which was in the area controlled by Ahab.
Then Chuck Swindoll introduces his devotional readers and yours truly to the significance of Elijah’s name, which, in Hebrew, is a composite of the word “El,” which is a short of “Elohim” or the Hebrew word for “God” and “jah,” which is a short for “Jehovah,” or “The Lord” in Hebrew. These two words are separated by the Hebrew letter “I,” which refers to “my” or “mine.” So, when we put this all together we see that Elijah’s name declares, “my God is Jehovah,” or “The Lord is my God,” which would have been a very brash declaration in a country where worship of the god Baal was required.
It’s not difficult to see some parallels between the times in which Elijah stepped on the scene in Israel and today’s world. Today we live in a world permeated by false “gods;” and the concepts of “God” or “Christ” are becoming more and more hostile to the culture as time goes by. And so, anyone who stands in the gap declaring that “The Lord is my God” stands out as being in opposition to the running tide of our world. Elijah was just such a man in his day.
Swindoll points out that it doesn’t take too much interpretation to see that our Lord, God, … the same God as the one, true God who had chosen those people in Israel in Elijah’s day, desires to have men and women of God who’re willing to stand alone – if need be – to declare “The Lord and Savior, Jesus, is my God!” Elijah, just by his very name, was just such a man in his day, and Swindoll goes immediately to illustrate this by a few modern day “Elijahs,” who stood in the gap for God at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, a few years ago. Here were a few students who, where challenged as to their faith, were gunned down because they were willing to say, “Yes, I’m a Christian.” And their courage became loud witnesses in our times for someone who was willing to stand in the gap for God.
Elijah was such a man; and so I look forward to a concentrated study into the life of one who would stand up for God in a world which was hostile to our Lord.
My Prayer for Today: Oh, Lord, raise up the Elijah in me … that I may be willing and able to stand for You, … no matter what! Amen