Just Like Us…..

PAX Present: Swan, Mr. Rogers, Spam, Big Worm, Yogi, Belding, T-Byrd, Ginger, Sega, Squatter, Dip Stick, and Speedwalker.

Prayer Needs: 1. Mrs. Mary behind the counter lost her sister this week. 2. T-Byrd’s mom continues to have heart issues. 3. Speedwalker’s co-worker, Vallerie.  He shared the Gospel with her yesterday.

Announcements: 1. Tomorrow morning is Rumble Convergence at Royal Elementary, Special Guest Q.  2. Monday morning starts AO at Royal as well as Scrooge.

Tha Thang:

Background:

-Prophets are people God uses to communicate His Truth to His people.  In Biblical times they played a very important role because there was no written copy of the Word of God regularly available to God’s people like we have today.  Prophets basically fell into three camps: 1. Word Prophets-Those who primarily communicated the Lord’s messages through verbal or written oracles.  (Think Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel)  2. Power Prophets-Those who primarily communicated the Lord’s messages through miraculous signs and wonders.  (Think Elijah, Elisha)  3 Prophets Who Did Both-Think Moses.

Elijah was viewed by God’s people as the most powerful of the Power Prophets.  In Jesus’ time He was considered one of the big three prophets along with Moses and Isaiah.  If you remember, when people weren’t sure who Jesus was many thought He was Elijah because of all the miracles He had been doing. It’s understandable why people thought that.  If you have time, read through Elijah’s life and ministry in 1 Kings 17 through 2 Kings 2.  You’ll be astounded at the stories that are told about him.  He parts the Jordan with his cloak, he calls down fire on a group of men, he calls down fire on an altar covered with bulls soaked in water, he provides for a widow in need and even outruns a chariot.  God uses Elijah in incredibly powerful ways!

I want to focus in on just one of those.  1 Kings 17:1-6 says:

“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.”
Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.”
So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.”

God does one miracle through Elijah and one miracle for Elijah.  Through him, God shuts up the skies so that there was no rain or even dew on the ground for 3 years!  Amazing!  And in order to preserve his life during that famine, God does a miracle for Elijah by feeding him with ravens.  Now lets look at 1 Kings 18:41-46:

“And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.
“Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.
“There is nothing there,” he said.
Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”
The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”
So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’ ”
Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the Lord came upon Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.”

To end the drought, Elijah goes up to the top of Mt. Carmel and prays that the rain might be restored then he sends his servant to go check things out.  When he hears that there is no sign of rain yet he prays six more times before a huge rainstorm arrives.

The lesson here seems to be perseverance in prayer.  When we know that the Lord has told us to pray for something, we cannot give up until we see it come to fulfillment.  We must keep praying faithfully and earnestly until something changes or until we change.  This is what God calls us to.

Now, let’s go to James 5:17-18:

“Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”

The phrase that jumps off the page to me is, “…just like us.”  What!?!  What do you mean Elijah was a man just like us!?!?  Did you read all those miracles he did!  How can you possibly say that we are just like him?   Because it’s true.  The key to what Elijah did was not who he was but how he prayed.  Back up to James 5:13-16 for the context:

“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

As James talks about the need to pray, he ends his discussion by saying, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”  Then he cites the life of Elijah and specifically the incident with the rain as an example of a righteous man, praying effectively for God’s will to be done.

The key to Elijah’s success was two-fold:

  1. He was a righteous man.  He was a man who sought to remain in a right relationship with the Lord.  That allowed him to know the Lord, understand His will and walk in His plan.  That’s how God was able to do so many powerful miracles through him and that is how Elijah knew what to pray for.
  2. He prayed effectively.  Elijah persevered in prayer.  When rain didn’t come after the 1st prayer session he added another 6 until the drops started to fall.  He kept at it until what God wanted was fulfilled.

I want us to understand that God can use us just as powerfully as He did Elijah if we will be righteous men who persevere in prayer.

In fact, I want to reiterate this with another mind blowing idea.

We have something Elijah didn’t….the Holy Spirit of God living inside us! He had the Holy Spirit working through him but we have the Holy Spirit living in us!  That means that we can have the Holy Spirit working through us as well!  Don’t believe me? Look at what Jesus said about it:

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)

You think Elijah was powerful?  He was nothing compared to Jesus!  And Jesus said that those of us who have faith in Him will do even greater things that He did because He was going to the Father.  In other words, when He left, the Holy Spirit would come and indwell us.  And that power source would enable us to do even greater things than Elijah and Jesus!

Do we pray like that?  Do we actually believe these verses to be true?  If not, we need to reorient our faith and our practice to come in line with the Word of God.  This is what it means to be powerful men of God.

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