1 Kings 17.8-9
“Then the word of the Lord came to him, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.”
When he first confronted Ahab, Elijah was a faithful spokesman, but he was not yet truly a man of God. He courageously delivered God’s message to the corrupt king of Israel, but Elijah lacked the depth of faith and skill required for extended battle with Ahab, Jezebel, and the priests of Baal.
Elijah had no idea those battles were in his immediate future, nor did he realize how challenging and intimidating the conflicts would be.
Immediately following Elijah’s pronouncement to Ahab, the rain stopped and the drought began. Ahab and Jezebel, no doubt, were furious with Elijah and sought to kill him. So the Lord tells Elijah to go east of the Jordan and hide by the brook Cherith, drink from it, and trust God to send ravens to feed him. Elijah obeyed, and God indeed sent ravens with food.
That’s pretty much all that scripture says about that particular event; it doesn’t give much detail. It does not say if Elijah struggled to believe that the Lord would in fact deliver food in such a strange way, though I strongly suspect that Elijah had more than a few questions and doubts.
Elijah, my friends, is you and me. He represents every Christian. Like Elijah, we are thrust into a great spiritual battle that requires faith, courage, and spiritual skill. And like Elijah, we need to be trained lest we find ourselves ill-equipped to face the spiritual challenges of our time.
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6.11-12)
Read Ephesians 6 where scripture tells us that in order to stand firm against the enemy, we need the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the boots of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. We also need to pray at all times in the Spirit.
Without these spiritual weapons — without these essential elements of the armor of God — we will not be able to withstand the attacks and schemes of the devil.
So let me be more specific in my questions: How prepared are you for spiritual warfare in 21st century America? Are you trained to respond to the challenges of our generation? Are you equipped to “fight the good fight” in the times in which we live?
The effectiveness of the Christian community depends on how we answer those questions.
“But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith.” (1 Timothy 6.11-12)