The Tishbite Transformer …

Vol.5, No. 02 – February 2, 2020

Grooming the One God Uses

1 Kings 17:1

Now Elijah the Tisbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word” –1 Kings 17:1

Our experience shows that God is always grooming His representatives for the critical hour. God is never at a loss; He provides for every eventuality. When it seems that things are taking a dark and dangerous turn, when humanity displays their worst, God is not only aware, He is prepared in eternity past, present, and future. Odd, He seems to begin His work in a small place, most often by preparing an obscure person. In our passage, Elijah is that person.

This is dramatic. This “mountain man” is from an obscure town called Tishbe. How would you like to tell people you are from Tishbe? Tishbe is almost hidden in the mountain country of Gilead. It is on the other side of the Jordan River. Yet, when this person comes on the scene, it is like a crash of thunder in the history of Israel. We have severe thunderstorms where I live in Georgia. Thunder gets our attention. Elijah got the people’s attention.

Wherever Elijah appears it seems as though lightning flashes, thunder crashes, fire flames rise, and there is the sound of a mighty wind. He is effective. He is a mountain man par excellence.

However, he is a solitary character, probably graduated Magna cum Laude from Wilderness Mountain University, with a Master’s Degree in Solitude. My doctorate degree does not ring with that sound.

Elijah grew up in the solitude of Gilead; Gilead with its wild, lawless, and unkempt lifestyle. He looked like its persona. With his family, he lived in a rough shelter, and kept sheep. What a life!

One pastor, Dr. C. E. Macartney, called Elijah the loneliest and grandest man, of the Old Testament. Actually, we know nothing of a wife, family, friends, or associates. He could have easily said along with Isaiah:

I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel –Isaiah 63:3

Dr. Macartney considered him grand, actually most grand. Elijah stood for righteousness (especially as compared to an evil king and queen); he faced the organized religion of Baal (the Bull god). This Tishbite was a powerful demonstration of the influence of a single personality. One person.

Rugged mountain terrain, wild country, desolate and deep canyons—they often make for rugged individuals.

God often surrounds Himself with [seemingly] incompetents. The people God uses have rarely been great people, nor have great people been the people God uses. God looks at misfits, milquetoasts, shmucks, and schlemiels. God does not have to make do with a bunch of fools. He [literally] chooses them! –David Roper

Elijah, the “Tishbite Transformer” had three things going for him that we see:

  1. As the Lord God lives” – a pointed one-liner that spells out a difference from the dead gods of the culture (not much has changed!). The flagrant idolatry of the culture with its dead gods, pagan priests, and shrines is so much like today’s culture of self-worship and trinkets. Jehovah is a living God, Elijah says.
  2. There is a presence of whom you need to hear (O king!)Elijah willingly stands in the presence of the caring, charming, and rich King Ahab. However, Elijah was really in the presence of One greater than any earthly monarch; the One who is Almighty God.
  3. There is a NameElijah’s name has great meaning, for it represents his God. Elijah in Hebrew means, Jehovah is my strength. Names are important; when people think of our name they reflect upon what they know of us. Elijah’s name is key to his life and ministry.

Life Application

Our lives portray who we are. Are we people who hold to a living God? Are we people unafraid to stand for the truth of Almighty God? What do people know about us that is key to our life and ministry? How much of that is important? All of it!

Just a note . . .

57 years ago today, Donna and I said our marital vows (yes, on a holiday, Groundhogs Day!). We did not date long before marrying (but we have been dating ever since!) I believe that God in His grace and mercy placed Donna in my life. Placed us together. Neither of us were believers at the time of our marriage. In God’s graciousness, He never stopped chasing us. He brought us to Himself when we chose to listen to Him. Our love for each other has grown over the many years. We have had events in life that have caused great emotional distress; a son born with life threatening physical difficulty, the loss of parents, our own physical difficulties, and even financial difficulty. God has taught us that “He has got it.” He is absolutely dependable–always. He is never not aware of our needs in life. He defines those needs far greater than we could have ever imagined.

He has never removed us from His hand. Elijah had the same experience of God’s presence.

How do your life experiences fit with God’s presence? He is completely faithful.

God chooses … is it you?

Vol.5, No. 01 – January 26, 2020

Elijah . . . The One God Uses

1 Kings 19:19

So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him –1 Kings 19:19

In chapter twenty-four, Peter Drucker, begins (The Leader of the Future), with this dynamic paragraph:

Will the leader please stand up? Not the president or the person with the most distinguished title, but the role model. Not the highest paid person in the group, but the risk taker. Not the person with the largest car or the biggest home, but the servant. Not the person who promotes himself or herself, but the promoter of others. Not the administrator, but the initiator. Not the taker, but the giver. Not the talker, but the listener. –C. William Pollard

Humble yet?

Elijah needed to pick his successor—it was time. He walks through the farm fields of Galilee, watching the son of Shaphat plowing with a team of oxen. Shaphat’s father is rich, prosperous; Shaphat is hard working and faithful.

The prophet takes off his hairy sheepskin cloak; puts it on the shoulders of the farm lad, Elisha. Who would have known.

This cloak is a mantle. The act is the transfer of authority, the investment of leadership for the years to come. Elisha ups and leaves the field. He leaves his family. It is significant that what he was using; his oxen, the yoke, the wooden plowshares, and all the implements related to his past life become consumed. All in a final gathering and feast with his family and friends.

What an odd mix of metaphors—he burns all his bridges, and seemingly eats them! Then he leaves family and friends.

There are some lessons from this section of Scripture:

  1. The real leader for the people of God stands out as one who is going about their common daily work
  2. This one with the mantle now on the shoulder was not called during their “quiet time”
  3. This one with the mantle did not receive the call during a dedication service, or a service of calling in the local church
  4. This one with the mantle was not busy reading “On Becoming One of God’s Heroes
  5. This one was following the plough—doing the expected in the business one was in; then God calls!

There is more:

  1. There are distinct individuals that God calls to specific work
  2. Leaders are not all “cut from the same mold”
  3. Some leaders come from rough work backgrounds
  4. Some leaders come from lives of solitude and loneliness
  5. Some leaders get called by city folk (like Elisha)—God selects those through whom He issues the call
  6. Some carriers of the call might call down fire, or condemn sin; yet the receiver usually is gentle and a blessing to others
  7. Some carriers of the call might be as a wind, earthquake, and fire; yet the receiver usually has a still small voice
  8. Here is an absolute truth: Every believer is a leader of someone. Thus, we cannot dismiss the impact of Scripture regarding leadership, because “we do not see ourselves as leaders.” The issue is how God sees us and what God expects of us.

On the contrary, the parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. –1 Corinthians 12:22-26

Life Application

God has put the body of Christ (the church) together in such a way that extra honor and care are given, to those parts that might otherwise seem less important. It is a thought well-worth our consideration. How has God called you to serve? It requires hearing Him, rather than listening to what one wants.

Some are like Ruth or Esther. Some are like Elisha or Elijah. What are you like? God has a plan and a purpose for everyone He creates. Jeremiah 29:11-13

Do not neglect to critically read and critically think through the points of this blog and upcoming blogs that can make a difference in your life in Christ. Our New Year is a new opportunity to learn what God has in store for us.

Commitments – at least four

Vol.4, No.55 – January 19, 2020, Countdown to the end – 41

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen –Revelation 22:20-21

Thousands have attended the blastoff of a space shuttle on a clear Florida morning at Cape Canaveral. Telescopes and binoculars are the dress of the day as the rocket heads into its orbit; it is the grand finale of all that must take place.   

God’s very Word begins with, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The very Word of God concludes with God in full control of all the events. His plan is from eternity past; He is unchangeable; not able to be acted upon from outside of Himself (the immutability and impassivity of God).

We are at the conclusion of what God has spoken to us. When we read His Word, it is God Himself speaking to us. His Word is unique, there is none other like Him, and there is no other word like Him. This is the end of God’s Word for earth dwellers, and the end of man’s earthly journey.

The path has been rugged, and many questions remain unanswered, and many problems remain unsolved; however, as man enters eternity in fellowship again with God. All will be answered. –J. V. McGee. Of course, he refers to the position of believers; unbelievers do not have eternal life, they have eternal death, eternal separation from Almighty God..

After the first five verses of Revelation 22, a sightseeing tour of our eternal residence, the apostle John brings four commitments to bear upon us.

Remember that John began the revealing (the Book of Revelation) with a note of blessing pronounced upon those who read, hear, and keep these words.

In conclusion, the Lord Jesus Christ repeats the blessing upon those who keep these words. Reading such makes one contemplate what they think. For what one thinks of God affects how they live their life for God and affects what they think of God.

The Bible is not merely a book to satisfy the curiosity of natural man; God’s expectation is for every created human to live and act upon His Word.

What does John speak of regarding commitments?

  1. We must carefully guard the Word of God (20:6-11, 18-19). We must take the Scriptures, the Word of God, seriously. God means what He says, and says what He means. Humanity might scoff at the facts, deride them, and deny them, however God declares His Word to be faithful and true.
  2. We must be responsible to be faithful (22:12-14). There is an instant coming in which the Heavenly Father allows His Son, Jesus Christ, to effect His promise: I am coming! I will be there soon! I have a place for you! It is prepared specifically for you! Be ready!
  3. We must be His; freed from sin and holy unto God (22:16). Those on the outside are on the dark side. The side of the light is under the finished work of Christ, the Root, the Bright Morning Star. The finished work of Christ settles who we are, where we will be spending eternity, and whose we are.
  4. We must be excited about His return (22:17, 20-21). Come is the grandest, most gracious, and most comforting word in all the Scriptures. The Lord Jesus Christ is coming again. He will come quickly, when least expected.

Worthy are you, our Lord and God! Revelation 4:11

He, who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches! Revelation 2:7

Behold, Jesus is coming soon Revelation 22:6

Life Application

How can we ignore Christ’s Words: “I am coming soon.” How can we ignore John’s writing, “Even so come, Lord Jesus!” How can we ignore those who cross our paths—those who do not know the truths of the Gospel?

Final Thought before we Leave our recent Season

Jesus was born to this world because what He came to do was desperately needed, and could not be done any other way. The disease infected every one of us. This condition was fatal, and there was nothing any of us could do to escape it or defeat it. This universal, inescapable plague is sin –Paul Tripp, in Come Let us Adore Him

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