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Mark Miller
January 20, 2021
This entry is part [part not set] of 5 in the series Elijah and Elisha: Living for God's Testimony
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We continue our chapter-by-chapter summary of the book Elijah and Elisha: Living for God’s Testimony by Titus Chu.

Chapter 2: Elijah’s Growth and Development

What do we know about Elijah’s background? His name was a constant reminder–Jehovah is God; he was a captive of the Lord (a Tishbite); and his life was a witness of the Lord to others (from Gilead). With such a base, he entered into serving for God. The first thing he did was quite successful, withholding physical and spiritual blessing from a nation that was no longer working with God. Instead of congratulating him, God led Elijah to grow more–humbling him/cutting him (Cherith), drying him up spiritually, feeding him from unclean things, and sending him to a place of refinement. It was a process of humbling and refining. The result was Elijah was able to lead others to God’s daily supply and give resurrection life to another person.

Chapter 3: Elijah and Obadiah

Such absolute consecration gave him the courage to rely on God

This chapter highlights what made Elijah so usable for God. The contrast is not Ahab, the obviously corrupt king, but good men who feared the Lord–Obadiah and the 100 prophets he saved. You have to appreciate Obadiah’s effort to do something for God. But in his position, where were his words, admonition, even challenges to Ahab’s Baal-worship? Where was his stand for God’s testimony? When he finally meets Elijah, his words betray his timidness and fear for his life. So too, the 100 prophets stayed in their cave for Elijah’s challenge on Mt. Carmel. What meaning did their prophethood have? What meaning did their lives have? 

Elijah was the only usable prophet to God. Why? He was a captive of God (a Tishbite), and he was bold, willing to put his life on the line for the sake of God and His testimony. Such absolute consecration gave him the courage to rely on God and to do anything to root out idolatry from the hearts, declaring that Jehovah was indeed God.

Chapter 4: Victory an Judgment at Carmel

Elijah’s victory on Mt. Carmel was totally related to and for God’s testimony. It began with a repair of the altar (Israel’s consecration had fallen apart after years of Baal-worship). He used twelve stones for twelve tribes, meaning the consecration was for all of God’s people, whether a good or bad tribe. He dug a trench to separate the altar from all the idol-saturated land, and the trench was large enough to hold two measures of seed (instruments of begetting life). On top of all of this, Elijah waited for God’s appointed time (the evening sacrifice) and prayed for the people’s hearts to return to Him.

All of this shows that if God, who went through so much to gain Elijah, can gain even one man for His testimony, the hearts of all the people can be affected and changed. God will always wait to gain a man before He moves for something on His heart (p. 48 has a key passage on this point!). This chapter ends with Elijah’s fear and humiliation–bringing him into a new stage of growth with God.

Chapter 5: The Perfecting of Elijah (1)

Our dramatic victories are not enough to substantiate our growth with God. In fact, after all of our spiritual victories, we need deeper experiences to substantiate them. Same with Elijah. After his victory on Mt. Carmel, Jezebel’s threat and his running away exposed Elijah as a coward who still really just cared for his own life. Even after his exposing, he just hid in a cave (like the other prophets!), blamed God, and justified himself.

God showed His power (He was really in control) and came to Elijah so sweetly, though Elijah remained stubborn and immature. To perfect him and mature him, God gave him new commitment, each item harder than the last: (1) anointing a Gentile king, (2) anointing an Israelite king, and (3) anointing a replacement. This last commitment was the hardest; who can take being replaced? Elijah, however, showed his growth by receiving this new commitment.

Chapter 6: The Perfecting of Elijah (2)

Elijah’s words to God on the mountain showed that, like religious people today, he felt he was the unique instrument God could use. God’s response showed him, first, that He had more than enough (a complete number) to worship Him. Second, God used and worked through many other prophets at this time, named and unnamed. What a blow to Elijah’s pride! We too must learn how inclusive God is; to fulfill His desire, He can use so many others.

Elijah’s acceptance of this in his acceptance of anointing his successor shows he had matured through this experience. Actually, of the three things God committed Elijah with, Elisha was the one to fulfill two of them! Sometimes, even our commitments must be fulfilled by others. This chapter ends by beginning a transition to Elisha. His example in serving Elijah is a good pattern for us to serve older saints today.

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