‘Now Elijah the Tishbite, 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
Elijah was a nobody from nowhere. We know very little about him. He was a Tishbite of Tishbe which could be read several ways. Tishbe could refer to a place, a people group, or a way of life. The repetition here seems to hint at the fact that he was from the place and also lived like a Tishbite. Tishbite means wanderer or sojourner. He was likely a sort of nomad. All of the sudden this nobody from no particular place finds himself standing before the king. Not only that, but he carried a message from the king of kings. Further, he spoke words that affected the kingdom.
After Elijah dramatically arrives on the pages of history, it’s as if he wiggles his way into all of time. From his dynamic ministry to his mysterious deathless departure from earth to his cameo’s through time, God chose to make this prophet a part of his plan for world history. Other prophets tell of his return someday; in the New Testament the people thought John the Baptist was Elijah. Later they thought Jesus was Elijah. Then on a mountain with a few of his closest friends Elijah shows up shining white. Many scholars believe that Elijah will be one of the two witnesses mentioned in the book of Revelation.
God has this funny habit of using nobodies. He doesn’t often choose the powerful or famous to accomplish his good in the world. In this case he chooses a Tishbite. All through the scriptures God chooses the obscure people to do great things. It’s the second born child instead of the first born, it’s the barren mother that gives birth, God chooses the nowhere town of Bethlehem to be born, the fisherman rather than the preacher, the women rather than the men, and the humble rather then the proud. What doubts do you have about being used by God? Is it your upbringing, that thing someone said to you that made you feel worthless, or your sin? God chose a Christian killer to write much of the New Testament. Ask God now to use you for his kingdom. You can use a portion of the Lord’s prayer if it helps. Pray something like, “Let your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…and use me to make that happen, Father.”
By Aaron Bjorklund