FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS
Character in a time of Crisis Day 1
Today We start a new series of short devotional notes entitled ‘For such a time as this’.
These words were famously used by Mordecai in the book of Esther to describe Esther’s crucial calling during a terrible time of crisis for the Jewish people.
Today we are as a world, most certainly faced with an extraordinary time of upheaval. With this in mind, we’ll look in these daily notes at some of those in scripture who have shown character in times of crisis—beginning with the life and times of the prophets Elijah and Elisha. The two prophets have much to teach us, and much that applies to all our lives. It is my hope and prayer that these notes, part expositional part devotional will not only whet an appetite in us all to read these scriptures but also to follow and live for God as they did.
Day One 1 Kings 17: 1 ff ‘My God is the Lord’
Elijah, the prophet, is one of the most fascinating figures in the Bible, let alone the Old Testament. At a time of general disobedience and turning away from God, Elijah seems to appear out of nowhere, to proclaim the word of the Lord to a king and a nation. Elijah is held in awe by the people of Israel and rightly so. He is mentioned 29 times in the New Testament alone. John the Baptist is likened to Elijah ( John 1:21), Elijah with Moses is seen with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration ( Matt 17:3), the crowd thought that Elijah would come and save Jesus from the Cross ( Matt 27:47-49). The letter of James in the New Testament describes Elijah as a person with a nature just like ours ( James 5:17) , and thus subject to all that we are subject to too. But the first thing to notice about Elijah was his name. The name Elijah means ‘My God is the Lord’.
What does this tell us? Well, it tells us more about his parents than anything. It shows that in a day when a succession of evil kings had ruled and ruined Israel, and the worship of God is forgotten about and the name of God trampled underfoot, a brave couple had called their baby boy Eli – Jah ‘My God is the Lord’. In taking this step, they were bravely witnessing for God by not going with the flow of national apostasy. As in so many cases in the Bible as indeed in human history, a work of God begins with a little baby being born. Think of Isaac, of Joseph, of Samuel, John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Himself. Often a child being born heralds the beginning of a great work of God.
This little boy called Elijah was to grow into a mighty man of God whose name would strike fear into the enemies of Jehovah, and give the reminder to king and nation that there is a God in Israel.
The work of God sometimes has small and even imperceptible beginnings but isn’t it comforting to know that the God who became one of us, in Jesus, continues to use frail, sinful, inadequate people like us, in His sovereign will.