ODJ: a man like us

August 31, 2013 

READ: 1 Kings 17:1-6 

Elijah was as human as we are (James 5:17).

Ordinary people from tiny towns aren’t usually highly celebrated. Few are remembered long after they’re gone. The prophet Elijah, however, is an exception. The New Testament authors mentioned him more than any other Old Testament prophet.
Wait a minute—the prophet Elijah was an ordinary guy? Well, he did accomplish some extraordinary things—such as raising a boy from the dead and calling down fire from heaven. But James reminds us that “Elijah was as human as we are” (James 5:17). Just like us, he had passions, feelings and things that caused him to suffer. In fact he once became so discouraged that he longed for his own death (1 Kings 19:4).

The prophet first appears in the Old Testament with an unimpressive CV. “Elijah . . . was from Tishbe in Gilead” (1 Kings 17:1). We’re not even sure where his hometown was located. He did, however, receive a message from God. And his proclamation was against Baal, the pagan storm god that supposedly made rain. This is important, for—in keeping with the Old Testament law (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)—Elijah first needed to demonstrate that Yahweh was the one true God and that he was His prophet, prior to calling the people to repentance.

God then commanded Elijah to hide by Kerith Brook. Why? Sufficient time needed to pass for the Israelites to see that He had brought a drought to their land. And God also used this quiet time in Elijah’s life to teach him to trust and obey. The prophet witnessed His ability to provide for his every need, both his daily provisions and his protection.

From this account of an ordinary man, we see that whomever God calls, He will also equip for what needs to be done. Elijah wasn’t superhuman, but he definitely served an extraordinary God. —Poh Fang Chia

› John 12:37-50

Read 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 to better understand God’s view of ordinary people. 
In what do we place our confidence as we serve God—our ability or His? Why is it vital that He receives the worship and praise for extraordinary things that He does through us?