“As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand…” (I Kings 18:15).
Is God dead? According to the above passage He certainly was not dead to Elijah, who knew Him intimately as the living God. The prophet had used similar phraseology on a previous occasion when he had declared to the wicked King Ahab:
“As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word” (1 Kings 17:1).
Elijah’s prediction had come horribly true. For three years and six months there had been no rain nor even dew in Israel. Rivers and brooks were drying up. The land lay parched and cracked in the sun. There were no crops, nor any grazing land for the cattle and they had been dying like flies.
The king himself had been brought down from his throne to search for a bit of green grass along the remaining streams “to save the horses and mules alive,” lest they “lose all the beasts.” The king’s humiliation had in turn enraged the haughty Queen Jezebel, so that she hated Elijah with a deep and bitter hatred.
Indeed, so intensely was the prophet hated by Ahab himself that the king had sent far and wide to find Elijah and had not given up until he had taken oaths from the heads of the surrounding nations that he was not to be found. It was under these circumstances that “the word of the Lord came to Elijah…saying, Go, show thyself unto Ahab…” (1 Kings 18:1). God was about to use the prophet to publicly expose the sham and impotence of Jezebel’s god Baal.
As the prophet went to look for Ahab he met Obadiah, the governor of the king’s house, and said: “Go tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here” (1 Kings 18:8). Obadiah shuddered at these words and begged Elijah not to make him go. He knew the bitter hatred which the king harbored toward Elijah and he feared that while he went to convey the news the Spirit of God might take Elijah away to some other place.
It was now, when it meant far more than it had meant three and a half years before, that Elijah replied: “As the Lord God of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself unto him today” (1 Kings 18:15). As we know, he kept his word.
Is all this now changed? Some say yes, that God died in Christ at Calvary and is now dead! They also deny, of course, that Christ rose from the dead. But if this be true, then the story of Elijah is but a stirring memory and the Christian today is actually an ambassador, a representative of no one!
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.