“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit” – James 5: 17-18
I tend to look at people in the Bible, and think that they’re so much different than myself. James tells us in the verses above that Elijah was a man with a nature like ours! He was human, just like you and me. He was a man. What made him stand out from the rest was that he was filled with the power of the Most Holy God. Elijah depended on the Lord for strength and guidance and this was evident in his life and in his interactions.
Elijah’s ministry was ordained by God. It is evident that God was with him every step of the way. From performing a miracle that sustained life for the widow and her son, to praying over the widow’s son so that he could live, to fearlessly confronting Ahab, and having victory on Mt. Carmel by killing 450 prophets of Baal, it was evident that the Power of the Lord was working through him. By God’s strength, Elijah did all this (and much more), and yet Scripture clearly tells us that he was simply a man, like you and me. I don’t know how this speaks to you, but it speaks volumes to me. This simple man lived passionately for the Lord, and in return we see how greatly the Lord used him and blessed him.
In chapter 19, after Elijah’s victory on Mount Carmel, he did not want to die at the hands of Jezebel, so he escaped and prayed that the Lord would take his life. Elijah felt alone. The people of Israel failed to see God’s glory and this deeply saddened him. What Elijah didn’t realize is that God was at work the whole entire time. It was through Elijah’s obedience and dedication that the Lord reserved thousands of people for His glory (v. 18). In the wilderness it seemed that Elijah needed to experience God in a different way:
“Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” – 1 Kings 19: 11-12
God could have been present in the strong wind, in the earthquake, or even in the fire, but He chose to make Himself known in a still small voice. Elijah wanted a revival among the people; he had called for lightening and he had called for fire, but what he did not realize, is that in the midst of all of that, God was working in the lives of thousands of people (v.18). In the stillness of the day, Elijah heard the voice of the Lord and responded.
How often do we turn away from the noise and business of our lives to seek out the still quiet voice of the Lord? How often do we expect these great signs and miracles from God, yet neglect to see the work that He is doing in the background? The Word of the Lord came to a simple man like Elijah, and it will come to you as well. Seek Him daily so that you can be filled with His power. We cannot live effective Christian lives if we are not empowered by God on a daily basis. We must continually commit ourselves to Him and trust that he can use our simple lives for His glory.