Stay Faithful!

By Jim Schneider, Executive Director, VCY America

There is great intensity in the spiritual battle surrounding us. This intensity is picking up day
after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year. It’s easy to grow battle weary in
these times. There is a growing temptation to throw in the towel, to quit and give up. Our adversary,
the devil, would have no greater delight than to render believers in Christ useless and defeated. But in
times like these it is more important than ever to stay faithful!

The prophet Elijah was in such a battle himself. The wickedness of his society was great as they
followed after the false god, Baal. Baal worship featured a defiling of their own bodies through
immorality and sexual perversion (not too distant by what is happening in our society today.) The
worship of Baal also included child sacrifice. We use a less hostile word today, “abortion” or “a
woman’s right to choose.” The killing of these little lives was brutal and in defiance against the Author
of life. Further, there was great persecution directed at those who followed after Jehovah God. The
times were evil and the leadership was evil. Scripture tells us that “Ahab did more to provoke the LORD
God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.”
(I Kings 16:33) The apple did
not fall far from the tree as Ahab’s father, Omri “did worse than all that were before him.” (I Kings
16:25) Further “he made Israel to sin, to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.”
(I Kings 16:26)

The times were intensely evil. After bearing witness of the great wickedness of the political
leaders, King Ahab & Queen Jezebel, Elijah delivered the message that due to their evil actions there
would be no rain until he spoke again. God had previously warned of such consequences if His people
forsook Him.

God directed Elijah to the brook Cherith where he miraculously fed Elijah through the service of
ravens who God summoned to deliver meat to Elijah and provided drinking water from the brook. After
the brook dried, God again provided for his needs through a widow at Zarephath who was in the process
of gathering sticks to make a fire to bake her last bit of food intending to feed herself and her son. After
providing for Elijah’s needs, the Lord miraculously provided for the widow and her son by not allowing
her food supply to diminish again.

As God directed Elijah to go back to Ahab, Obadiah, a servant of the Lord who had faithfully hid
the prophets of God in a cave and provided for them, reluctantly delivered a message to Ahab that Elijah
was there. In meeting Elijah, Ahab accused Elijah as being the cause of all the troubles brought on by
the drought. Elijah quickly reminded Ahab it was not he, but rather it was the king himself that was the
cause of the trouble. He told Elijah to meet him on Mount Carmel with the prophets of Baal and the
prophets of the grove, some 850 prophets in all. It was on Mount Carmel that the false prophets
received no answer to their meaningless prayers. Their god was dead. However, Jehovah answered
Elijah’s prayer and sent fire down from heaven to consume the sacrifice. The people responded by
saying, “The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.” (Kings 18:39) The false prophets were
killed and rain came once again. What a tremendous victory!

After receiving a threat from the vile Queen Jezebel who pledged to take Elijah’s life, Elijah
became discouraged and took off into the wilderness asking God to take his life. Despite the
tremendous victory he had just experienced, Elijah was distraught, fearful and felt isolated and defeated. Lest we point the blame at Elijah, many of us also have felt like “we’re done,” feeling depressed and
discouraged, and that we are all alone and just want to give up.

God in His grace refreshed Elijah and encouraged him letting him know he was not alone, but
that there were 7,000 that had still not bowed the knee to Baal. God had yet another assignment for
Elijah to carry out.

Believers in Christ today are fighting similar spiritual battles against the god of this world who is
out to deceive, leading the world toward the same destructive behavior as during the time of Elijah. While we are made to feel alone and isolated, take heart in knowing there are many who have not bowed
the knee to Baal!

The bright news is that the God of Elijah is the same God we worship. God has not surrendered
His throne or His power to another. He is not wringing His hands at the actions of mankind. What he
has before ordained will come to pass! Yes, the sins of sexual perversion and child sacrifice continue
today along with those who point their fingers at believers declaring them to be the enemy and the
reason for the disfunction in society. But stay faithful!

May you be encouraged and challenged through these verses:

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
(Galatians 6:9)

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of
the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
(I Corinthians 15:58)

“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” (I Thessalonians 5:24)

When tempted to be discouraged, defeated or in despair, STAY FAITHFUL!

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