‘A New Thing’ Series Class 1 — Elijah

Theme Scripture: “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19 NRSV)

Elijah was a man of God with a hugely impressive spiritual CV. For example, he prays and changes the weather, he miraculously supplies the widow with food and raises her son back to life, he confronted hundreds of sword-wielding false prophets and sees fire rain down from heaven as an answered prayer. Why would he need to do anything ‘new’? He’s seen it and done it all.

Elijah is a case-study in how God prepares us for something new.

At the end of his false prophet slaughtering conference at Carmel he receives the equivalent of hate mail. “Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”” (1 Kings 19:2 NIV11)

His response? He ran for his life. Is this the end? The once-faithful prophet now turned tail? Not at all. God is not done with him yet.

  1. How did God open up Elijah for something new?
    1. He provided materially:
      1. Touch, safety (fire), refreshment (food, water, sleep), space
      2. God was kind, patient, generous, loving
    2. He provided experientially:
      1. A listening ear – asked questions
      2. Experiences of his power – earthquake, fire, wind
      3. Direction – quiet voice, mission, hope, trust
      4. Encouragement – v18, 7,000 co-workers
  2. What did Elijah do?
    1. He got his perspective (focus) back. Which renewed his courage.
    2. He got his priorities (openness to God’s agenda) right. Elisha was more important than Hazael and Jehu (Elisha was involved, though strangely, in Hazael’s becoming Aram’s king (2 Kings 8:7-14) and one of Elisha’s associates anointed Jehu (2 Kings 9:1-3).

Finding Elisha, anointing him, and engaging with him as an apprentice were all ‘new things’ for Elijah. Before he could do these ‘new things’ God had to restore his faith, and focus. Elijah responded by recovering his openness to God’s agenda.

  • Do you sense that God has been trying to get your attention (personally, or in your local group)?
  • What will help you to regain a healthy focus on God?
  • What will help you to refresh your openness to God doing something new?
  • Has he ‘spoken’ to you already? Do you know what the new thing is? What will help you act on that/those new things?

Next week we will look at the new thing God called Abraham into.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm