One of my favorite things to do is share God’s word with others through Sunday School. This season I’m co teaching Elijah: Faith and Fire by Priscilla Shirer. This is one of the meatiest studies we’ve ever done, and we’re still working our way through it.
I’ve learned so much about Elijah and what God wants us to learn and use through his example. When we reached the dramatic showdown at Mt. Carmel, Elijah let the Baal worshipers go first. They outnumbered him by the hundreds. They called on gods all day long. Elijah patiently waited.
When it was his turn, he asked for water. During a drought. He rebuilt the altar, used twelve stones to represent the Israel tribes, and poured so much water over the wood that the area became trenches. Ever try to light a fire with wet wood?
But Elijah knew God was his source. God had been faithful when He asked Elijah to pronounce the drought to King Ahab. When God sent him to a brook called Cherith during the drought. God sent ravens, a greedy, unpredictable bird to feed Elijah 1000 meals. God took care of Elijah, the widow, and her son. It was a no-brainer that God would bring the fire.
Elijah, for his part, remained steady in prayer. When the widow’s son died, she didn’t argue when Elijah took the boy upstairs to Elijah’s room. That was his prayer place where the widow knew Elijah had spent hours and hours talking to God. Elijah had been obedient in all the things God asked of him. The only rule for Mt. Carmel was neither side was to light their own fire.
And so, as supernatural fire does, it reigned down. Man-made fire flames up, so imagine the scene when everyone saw the fire.
You’d think that would be the end of Elijah’s story. We are in 1 Kings 18 and about to enter 19 where God then asks Elijah to pronounce rain is coming. When there isn’t a cloud in the sky. It’s so nice out that Elijah’s best friend approaches him six times to let him know there’s nothing in the sky that remotely looks like a cloud.
But Elijah knows.
Priscilla shared a story about a ship that saw a light coming too close. The captain called out for the other light to move six inches north. The response was no, but you move six inches south. This went back and forth as the lights came dangerously close. Finally the captain proclaimed that as a Navy captain and commander of the ship, the other light must move six inches north. The other responded, “You move six inches south. I’m the lighthouse.”
I write all this because recently I saw a lighthouse in action. An opportunity came for this person to move the boundary line they had drawn for their life based on Biblical principles. To do so would not have been trouble or wrong, not right away at least, but they knew this was a conviction God gave and they decided to obey Him. It was not easy or fun, but they did it. This is a person who glows for Jesus. And that steady faith blesses many. Like Elijah, they are often set apart. It’s lonely being obedient, especially in the world today.
I believe I read that there were other Israelite believers at Mt. Carmel. But they didn’t speak up or join Elijah. He had to stand up and alone, and oh how God used him.
That’s something I’m taking seriously. Am I steady? Am I a lighthouse to this dark world. I sure hope so. How about you?