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Goodness (15) Elijah’s Goodness (1)

Manmin News   No. 739
1274
March 19, 2023


“As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.” (2 Kings 2:11)


Elijah was a prophet who proclaimed the will of God with boldness in the Northern Kingdom of Israel at the time of King Ahab when idolatry was so prevalent in the 9th century BC. When he confronted 850 prophets of foreign gods, the fire was brought down from heaven through his prayer. And through his fervent prayer, heavy showers came upon Israel which had been suffering from severe drought for three and a half years.
Elijah went to a widow in Zarephath and he was given a piece of bread by her. He prayed to God that He might bless her with unstopping food until the drought came to an end. He also restored life to a young boy by the power of God. He parted the Jordan River and prophesied about things that would happen in the future. Finally, he was caught up by a whirlwind into Heaven without seeing death.
What kind of goodness did he have that brought down the blessing of receiving God’s power and being taken up into Heaven?


1. Elijah was very humble in heart and had peace with all men

Elijah was of weak temperament. He was not confident in everything and he thought he had nothing that made him stand out among others. Whenever somebody’s opinion did not agree with his, he never tried to insist on his own way, but always gave into others. Since he was that humble and did not quarrel with anybody, there was always peace wherever he was. He seemed indecisive on the outside, but with the personality he possessed, he had a special quality by which he could become a great prophet if he managed to reach the level of spirit.
God deemed Elijah’s heart as very good, and refined him so that God could use him as a great prophet. Before they were changed, Moses and the Apostle Paul had been courageous people in a fleshly sense, but until they were used by God, they needed to deny themselves through refinement.
However, Elijah’s heart did not become humble through trials, but his nature was originally delicate and he had no self-esteem and he was never conceited. When God called him for service, he was afraid thinking, ‘How can I accomplish God’s work, I, who have so many deficiencies? I am afraid that I would fail in the work of God.’ So, he had to change his feeble nature into spirit to be used as a great prophet of God. So, God allowed him to receive trials.
Elijah prophesied in the Northern Kingdom of Israel at the time of King Ahab who was the most evil king in Israel’s history. Ahab’s father, the king Omri made Ahab marry Jezebel, the daughter of the king of the Sindonians because the marriage was to build a military and commercial alliance with them. But, because of the idols of Baal Jezebel brought with her, idolatry prevailed throughout the kingdom of Israel.
Due to this, God’s wrath was great and His judgment came upon the Northern Israel that no rain would fall for years. Elijah had to deliver God’s Word to Ahab. This was the first task that was entrusted with Elijah. Far from repenting after hearing Elijah’s word, Ahab tried to capture and kill Elijah.
After the three-and-a-half years of drought, God told Elijah to go to Ahab and tell him that He would send rain on the earth. At that time King Ahab blamed Elijah for the long drought that came upon Israel, so if he had been caught by the king he would have lost his life. How difficult it must have been for Elijah, who was fragile in nature, to obey the command of God!
However, Elijah went to the king according to the command of God and spoke God’s will to the king exactly. Moreover, he suggested to the king that he should send the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah to Mount Carmel and that they and Elijah would wage spiritual warfare to reveal who the real God is (1 Kings 18:19).


2. Elijah never stopped communicating with God and obeyed only in faith

The reason that Elijah overcame his weakness and acted so courageously was because he never stopped communicating with God. Because he thought of himself as lacking in so many ways, he tried his best to communicate with God and to clearly understand God’s will. He knew he could do nothing on his own. So he had no choice but to rely on God and try to receive God’s power by which everything is possible.
That’s why he could overcome his weakness and triumph to the end with the faith, courage and the power God had given to him. Through these experiences, he came to long for the power of God all the more and became certain that anything that is impossible with human thoughts is possible when God commands it. He did not rid himself of the weak and fragile nature all at once. While receiving the trials God allowed, he never stopped relying on and communicating with God and he was strengthened and empowered by the power of God.
Since he went through the trials he was confident that he could do anything in the faith coming from God and greatly glorified God. The reason that he manifested great power was because he always obeyed the will of God and had firm faith that anything he could not do within his human ability was possible through God. He obeyed everything in faith, and through him God accomplished what is impossible in this physical world but is possible in the spiritual realm (1 Kings 18:46).
Our Father God is omnipotent and omniscient. With God there is no need for Him to search for competent people for His glory. The only person that God needs is the one who is willing to abandon all his will and proclaim only the will of God so that he can receive and show the power of God. If a man’s heart vessel is full of his own self, the power of God cannot fill it. Even if God pours down His power into his heart vessel, the power of God cannot be fully revealed because it would be mixed with the self that has filled his heart.
The vessel God searches for is, above all else, pure one that it has shaken off its ‘self’ and is humble. Even if a vessel is empty and clear, it can contain more with a greater depth than with one that is shallower. In the same way the humbler one’s heart the more he receives the power of God.
Elijah met these two conditions. He always confessed from his inner heart he was nothing and could do nothing, and he never ceased to communicate with God. Although the Holy Spirit had not yet to come upon people’s hearts, Elijah could make peace with anybody by not insisting on his opinion.
Today, some of Christians who have received the Holy Spirit and grace are in discord with others and have hard-feelings. When sinners repent and turn from their ways, however, God forgives them of their sins and transgressions through the blood of Jesus Christ and He pours down grace upon them. Therefore, in the grace of God we must not only discern sin and righteousness with the truth but also we must cover everyone with love just the way the Father has done.
And we have to serve people who appear unrighteous?just as our Lord Jesus served sinners. It is real righteousness in the sight of God. When you empty and humble yourself, it is deemed to be good in the sight of God.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, 2 Corinthians 4:7 reads, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.” I pray in the name of the Lord that all of us will give thanks to God for choosing us like earthen vessels and making us a vessel that can contain the treasure and will become a precious instrument used by God by humbling ourselves.


 

 

 
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