19th June 2017

Human Just Like Us!

“Elijah was a human being, even as we are. 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.”
James 5:17-18 (NIV)

There was no one quite like Elijah! Yes, there were other prophets, but Elijah’s “spirit and power” were the standard by which all others were measured. His fame was so great that God could find no greater accolade for the forerunner of the Messiah than to compare him with the prophet Elijah; “I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes” (Malachi 4:5).

About 400 years later, the angel Gabriel stood in the Temple and told the priest Zacharias that his son John would be the forerunner of the Messiah and go before him “in the spirit and power of Elijah!” Surprisingly, when John’s ministry of baptism was sweeping Judea and many were being immersed by him, they sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him who he was, and one of the questions was “Are you Elijah?” (John 1). Then Jesus, one greater than John appeared and the people wrongly concluded that, “He is Elijah!” (John 6: 14-15).

As you can see, Elijah’s fame had reached down throughout the ages because he was one of God’s giants, yet he was human just as we are! He lived at the most evil time in Israel’s history, Ahab was king and had married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians (1 Kings 16: 31), and began to worship and serve Baal. Jezebel was an ardent follower of this pagan god, she planted groves, built temples and shrines to him leading Israel to follow this false god. The temples of the God of Israel were torn down, his altars defiled and she began a systematic slaughter of the prophets of God (1 Kings 18:4). And so Baalism became the state religion of Israel!

But God is never at a loss, he provides for every eventuality. When things look dark and dangerous, when evil men and women have done their worst, then God begins. And he usually begins in a very small way by preparing a very obscure person—Elijah was that person—and he was going to be used by God as the solution to all this evil that Ahab and Jezebel had unleashed upon Israel, and yet he was a man just like us!

This great prophet of God is also mentioned many times in the New Testament; perhaps you might make a point of reading those, some of which were spoken by Jesus himself? Of course you will need to look up “Elias” which is his name in the Greek language. Happy hunting!

Prayer
Thank you, great God, for men like Elijah, who though frail and human was yielded to your power as you used him mightily in your service.
Amen

Study by Cliff Neill

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About the Author:
Cliff Neill is an Elder in Grace Communion Church Luton.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Farley Hill
LUTON LU1 5JE

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Harry Sullivan
Phone: 01908-582222
Email: harry_sullivan@wcg.org.uk

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Comments

One Response to “19th June 2017”

  1. John Armstrong on June 19th, 2017 11:03 am

    Hello Cliff,
    In today’s Day by Day article”Human Just Like Us”, you state

    ” Then Jesus, one greater than John appeared and the people wrongly concluded that, “He is Elijah!” (John 6: 14-15).”

    Surely it is more accurate to say that although Elijah was predicted to be sent by God as per Malachi 4v5 and John 1v21 (first part) ,
    THAT PROPHET (emphasis mine)t is a direct reference to Deuteronomy 18 vv 15-19. A prediction/prophecy of the greatest, ultimate prophet– Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
    John 6 vv14 show that the people or at least some of them, could see this.

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