1 Kings 17:1-6
And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand…
I. THE GREAT PROPHET.
1. His name: Elijah, my God (is) Jehovah. It was a symbol of his spirit. It expressed his judgment of Israel's idolatry and the choice which with his soul's whole strength he had made of God. Light and fidelity are the only foundations of any true work for God or man.
2. His origin. The words ("of the inhabitants," etc.) seemed to indicate that he belonged to none of the tribes of Israel
(1) His mission was prophetic of that of the Gentiles. Israel, forsaking God, were to feel that God was also forsaking them (Genesis 10:19). The very meanness of the origin of God's faithful ones lends power to their testimony.
(2) It proved the infinitude of God's resources. Ahab and Jezebel might slay His prophets; they could not arrest the progress of His work. From the most unthought-of quarter there arises a mightier than all whose lives had been taken. The power of a devoted life to make the world feel the impossibility of its prevailing in its contest with God.
3. His attitude toward God. "Before whom I stand." He was the Lord's servant. He lived for Him. His eye rested on Him. The whole man stood girded for prompt, unquestioning obedience. This is the spirit of all true service. Is God as real to us? Do we thus stand before Him?
II. HIS MESSAGE.
1. The judger. It was that predicted from of old as the chastisement of Israel's idolatry (Deuteronomy 11:17). The land was to be consumed by drought. The blessings which God withholds from the soul that forsakes Him are imaged in those withheld from the land. There is "neither dew nor rain." The refreshment, the rich consolation, once imparted by the word or found in prayer, are no longer known. The stimulating of loving zeal meter what is nobler and purer has ceased.
2. Through whom it fell: "According to my word." Those who reject God will be judged by man. God will still confront them in their fellows. God is magnified in His servants. The kingly power and priesthood of believers in their relation to the world.
III. HIS RETIREMENT.
1. It served God. Ahab and Israel were left face to face with Him. Man disappeared that the eye might rest on God alone. There are times when He is best served by silence. Many words often undo the effect of the homethrust dealt by a few.
2. It was his safety. He was shielded from Ahab's anger. We may be hid by affliction from the power of our great foe. Temptation and danger may have been darkening the path that lay before us when God led us aside and made us rest awhile with Him.
3. It prepared him for after service. He was taught God's unfailing power and care. His wants were provided for though no man knew of his dwelling place; and that by the most unlikely instruments. He learned how fully he might trust God. He to whom God is thus revealed will not fear the face of man. - U.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.
WEB: Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the foreigners of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As Yahweh, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word."