The Bible says,
"Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are" (James 5:17).
Yet he was mightily used of God. This reference is talking about the time Elijah became so despondent that he asked God to kill him (1 Kings 19:4).
Elijah wasn't perfect; yet he called fire down from heaven three times; he was the first person to raise someone from the dead; he caused the greatest revival in history up to that point; his word started and ended a three-year drought; he multiplied food miraculously; and he is one of only two men who never died - he was caught up alive into heaven. There is a lot we can learn from a man like this, both positive and negative.
The Bible gives little background on Elijah. It wasn't his pedigree or education that brought him into a position of influence and power. Elijah was nobody until he received a word from God. It was the revelation God gave him that put him into a position of leadership.
Likewise, anyone who is born again, or baptized in the Holy Spirit, or has a good relationship with the Lord, has a revelation from God too. Just as Elijah's revelation from God put him into a position of influence, anyone who has a revelation of God has the potential to influence others also. The only difference is that Elijah knew what he had and was bold enough to speak.
Many of us have been intimidated by the ungodly. We aren't boldly speaking the truth we have from the Lord. What if Elijah hadn't spoken that prophecy to King Ahab? The drought may have occurred anyway, but Elijah wouldn't have been able to use it to affect the nation. The people would have dismissed the drought as a natural occurrence.
Elijah was bold enough to speak before there was any proof that what he was saying would come to pass. That took faith and great courage.
When the drought came as promised, Elijah became the most sought after man in the nation:
"As the LORD thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not" (1 Kings 18:10).
If we would speak forth the truths God has shown us, just like Elijah, the truths we speak would ultimately prevail.
Elijah didn't have all the answers or know what would happen next when he spoke the prophecy to King Ahab (1 Kings 17:1). Ahab had forbidden worship of the true God, instituting Baal worship. He killed the prophets of the Lord, and Elijah was putting himself in harm's way by obeying the Lord.
It wasn't until after Elijah delivered the word of the Lord, that God spoke to him about how He would protect and sustain him.
First Kings 17:2-4 says,
"And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there."
One of the great lessons we can learn here is that God doesn't reveal His complete plan immediately. He reveals His will to us one step at a time. After we obey the first step, He shows us the next. Why should the Lord show us step two or ten if we haven't obeyed step one? That would just make us more accountable. So, don't try to figure out the next step until you have acted on what you know to do now. That's a powerful truth.
The Lord told Elijah to go to the Brook Cherith. He had already commanded the ravens to bring Elijah bread and meat "THERE" every morning and evening. This was miraculous! What a provision during a terrible time!
But notice this: The Lord didn't send Elijah's provision to where he was. A quarterback doesn't throw the football to where the receiver is, but where the receiver is going. Elijah's miracle wasn't where he was but where the Lord was sending him. That's awesome!
Each of us has a place called "THERE," where the blessings of the Lord are waiting. The Lord never fails to provide, but people often fail to receive because they aren't all "THERE." If Elijah had not gone to his place called "THERE," his disobedience would not have stopped God's faithfulness; however, he would not have received the provision; it was over "THERE," by the Brook Cherith.
This is exactly what is happening to many of us. The Lord has placed something on our hearts to say or do. But, if we haven't obeyed, we aren't in our place of "THERE." We aren't seeing God's provision, because we aren't in that place of obedience.
I've heard many people say the Lord told them to attend Charis Bible College. But they just can't see how it could happen. They want to see the Lord's provision before they go "THERE." That's not how it works.
Some of you are not seeing God's provision because you aren't doing what He has told you to do. This doesn't mean the Lord is punishing you. If Elijah hadn't gone "THERE," he would have lost his provision. The Lord has provision for you too, but it's "THERE."
This place called "THERE" changes. God changed the place and method of Elijah's provision:
"And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee" (1 Kings 17:8-9).
You can't just seek the Lord once, hear His voice, step out in faith, and then stop listening. The Lord brings us into His perfect will step by step. Elijah moved when the Lord told him to move.
This led Elijah to the city of Zarephath where he asked a widow to give him the last of her food. It looked like he was taking from this woman, but he was actually giving to her. Instead of this being her last meal before dying, the Lord multiplied this woman's supplies, which kept her, her son, and Elijah alive for about three years (1 Kings 17:15-16). What a great miracle!
That wasn't all the widow received. Her faithfulness in giving caused her son to be raised from the dead (1 Kings 17:17-23). She had been operating in faith every day. She would use the last bit of oil and meal for Elijah and then find that there was always enough to make a cake for herself and her son. This was a great faith builder, which I'm sure figured into the miracle of her son.
Elijah went on to call fire down from heaven and consume a sacrifice in the sight of all of the people of Israel (1 Kings 18:36-38). The people who saw it cried out, "The Lord, He is the God. The Lord, He is the God." They killed all the prophets of Baal, and the whole nation turned to the Lord.
That same day, Elijah prayed and ended the drought by a great rain storm (1 Kings 18:41-45). He was so pumped, he outran Ahab's chariot in a twenty-mile race after Ahab had a head start. Elijah was excited!
Here is a very important lesson: After great victories come great temptations. This is primarily because we lose our sense of humility and dependence upon God (1 Kings 19:4). Elijah had successfully defied the king, his armies, his prophets, and all the people in the nation. But the next day, a note from a woman caused him to run in terror (1 Kings 19:2-3).
The Lord appeared to Elijah and asked, "What are you doing HERE, Elijah?" (1 Kings 19:9). Elijah wasn't "THERE" anymore. His place called "THERE" was back in Samaria. People were now worshiping the true God, but Elijah had run away in fear, leaving the people without a leader.
This resulted in the Lord replacing Elijah with Elisha. Elijah's ministry fell short of what it could have been. The Lord actually spoke to Elijah in an audible voice. He told him to do three things, one of which was to anoint Elisha to replace him (1 Kings 19:15-16). Elijah anointed Elisha (1 Kings 19:19), but didn't do the other two things. That means Elijah failed in two-thirds of the things the Lord told him to do. That's amazing.
You might think this meant Elijah was washed up and was never used of God again. That's not the case. Elijah went on to prophesy (1 Kings 21:17-24), and he called the fire of God down two more times (2 Kings 1:9-12). And most impressive of all, Elijah never died; he was caught up into heaven by a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11).
This man, who failed miserably, still walked so closely with God that he never died. This speaks volumes to us. The Lord has never had anyone working for Him yet who was qualified. He uses us in spite of what we do, and not because of what we do. If we will hold on to our faith, we can still experience wonderful things from the Lord even after failing BIG TIME. What powerful truths.
I've just re-taught my three-part 1999 teaching on Elijah. It's now an expanded five-part teaching entitled Lessons from Elijah. I believe this teaching is powerful. I encourage you to order the CD, audio cassette, or DVD (DVD is recorded from television) album of this new teaching as soon as possible. To order, click the above link, or call our Helpline on +44 (0)1922 473300.
P.S. Jamie and I thank those of you who support us in our efforts to bring these life-giving truths to as many people as possible. It's working. We are reaching millions of people all over the world, and you are a big part. Great is your reward. Together, we are making a difference.
We love you,
Andrew & Jamie.