Remembering past victories to face present challenges
Elijah is a man of prayer who presents his request at the opportune moment, the time of offering. The prophets of Baal pray disorderly, disregarding the favorable time, and they invoke without being answered. Elijah addresses the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. Elijah mentions these three names, remembering the covenant God who walked with the patriarchs.
The Lord, the God of Abraham, answered Abraham and made a covenant with him. He lived a long time without children until old age, and the Lord miraculously granted him the child of promise.
Elijah remembers that at a hundred years old, Abraham had his son Isaac, which is humanly impossible. Abraham was already weakened by age, but he had the child God had promised him. The Word says:
“I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. He is our father in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.” (Romans 4:17)
Abraham had such conviction that God would fulfill His promise. He was called the father of multitudes when he didn’t even have a single child yet. Naming the God of Isaac and Israel was a strong argument before the people who had forsaken the God of their patriarchs.
This God had listened to Isaac’s prayer for his wife Rebecca, who was barren, and gave her the twins Esau and Jacob. Elijah, by mentioning the patriarch Isaac, remembered that one day Isaac prayed, and God answered him:
“Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.” (Genesis 25:21)
Elijah invoked the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. He did not mention the name of Jacob because the Lord had already changed Jacob’s name, and he became Israel. Jacob was a trickster, but Israel is the one who wrestles with God:
“He said, ‘Let me go, for the day has broken.’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ And he said to him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Jacob.’ Then he said, ‘Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.‘” (Genesis 32:26-28)
Elijah cites the name of Israel because the Lord is the God who makes victorious. Just as He had answered Israel’s prayer, the prophet was confident that He would also answer his. Elijah emphasizes:
“Let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant, and I have done all these things at your word” (Genesis 32:36).
The people of Israel, who had previously abandoned the Lord, needed to realize again that God is always real, for anyone who forsakes the Lord for idols is simply ignorant. Elijah recognizes the spiritual deviation of the people. He brings the people back to return to the Lord, the only one of Israel. He invites God to perform this miracle because what surpasses human capability can only be achieved by the divine, the celestial!
Alone with God, you are the majority!
In this moment of great trial where Elijah found himself alone against all, he immersed himself in the history of his homeland. He recalled what the Lord had done for his fathers in the past. How He gave a son to Abraham in his old age and made his name great? How He answered Isaac’s prayer by giving him twins? How He changed Jacob’s name and went before him in all his ways? Above all, he remembered that the Lord made them all victorious against their enemies. All these memories surely rejuvenated him and gave him this certainty: the God who acted yesterday is still capable of glorifying His name by performing even greater miracles.
In your moments of weakness, you must do the same. And to someone who is new in the faith and tells me that they don’t know what God did yesterday, I invite you to take your Bible and read about what God did in the lives of our patriarchs in faith. If you take a pause to analyze your life, you will absolutely notice a thousand and one reasons to praise this great God and to still hope for His help in difficult times.
This text is an excerpt from the book “TURN YOUR WEAKNESSES INTO VICTORIES” written by Jean-Bosco NZASHI.