In this series of sermons on the life and times of Elijah we saw how a man known as Elijah the Tishbite appeared before the King of Israel, Ahab ben Omri, bringing a very simple message. He said, "It ain't gonna rain no more! Not until I say so!" And then the prophet disappeared for the next three and a half years.
For that entire period of time, God, himself, protected this man from the wrath of the powers that be. First, God took Elijah to a cave in the region known as Transjordan where God took care of his needs. Then, after a year of hiding, God sent him to live in the house of a widow in the region of Phoenicia.
God not only protected Elijah in these out-of-the-way places, he also miraculously fed him. While Elijah was hidden away in that cave in Transjordan, God sent him bread and meat in the beaks of wild ravens. And while he was hiding in Phoenicia, God provided him with cornbread baked from meal that came from a barrel that refused to remain empty, and oil from a cruse that refused to run dry.
So, in comparison to everybody else living in the Middle East at that time, Elijah enjoyed a relatively comfortable existence for forty-two long months. Then one day God spoke to Elijah again. He told the prophet to come out of hiding, to leave Phoenicia and to "go show himself” to Ahab.
Now, please understand this! Leaving his hiding place was a dangerous thing for Elijah to do and he knew it. But the ever obedient Elijah did as he was told, and what happens from here on in the story is utterly fascinating. Three types of characters emerge from the text for today and all of the people involved had different agendas and opposing goals. This morning, Pastor will introduce us to these people.
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