What Elijah Teaches Us about Serving God
Elijah the Tishbite is a dramatic figure. The Bible doesn’t say a word about him until 1 Kings 17:1, when he bursts on the scene with a dramatic pronouncement to evil king Ahab:
“As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”
First impressions are always significant, and Elijah’s first impressions highlights many of his distinctives. He is bold. He confronts kings. He knows that God hears him. And he stands before God.
The Lord, the God of Israel…before whom I stand. That is how Elijah describes himself. He says that he stands before God.
Elijah was like a servant in a court. The king has a crowd of attendants. He gives a command, and an obedient servant immediately complies. Another command arrives, and another servant obeys. Elijah is like one of these servants. He is standing in God’s court, ready at a moment to obey God. Whatever God says – those are his marching orders!
This is the character of a true servant. A true servant is ready to obey his Master, no matter what the task. Elijah, like a retainer in the court of heaven, is ready to obey his Master immediately. As the story of Elijah reveals, his life was devoted to the service of God.
I’m reminded of Genesis 6:4 – “There were giants in the earth in those days” (KJV). Yes, the time of Elijah may have been a remote and distant time from our own, but there were spiritual giants in those days. Elijah was a spiritual giant, not because he had immense theological training, or because he pastored a major church. He was a giant because he was devoted to serving God.
Not only did Elijah serve God, he also called others to serve God. “If the LORD is God,” he challenged the Israelites, “follow him.” Elijah was absolutely devoted to God, and he called others to absolute devotion. His whole life was lived as a servant, calling others to serve the God of heaven.
This is the sort of person that God calls us to imitate. When we view ourselves as the servants of heaven – ready at a moment to obey our Master – who knows how God might use us?