When God’s Word Becomes Man’s Word
Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘"As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word."
I Kings 17:1
Israel had been in the throes of sin and idolatry for years. God's chosen people had neglected their covenant with God and turned to the worship of worthless idols created by the hands of man. Some of their kings had elevated idolatry to national prominence and God's moral compass had been tossed into the gutter. "There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites." (I Kings 14:24)
The pain God experienced from being rejected is summarized by what He said to King Jeroboam: "You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have aroused my anger and turned your back on me." (1 Kings 14:9). These are the heartbreaking words of a faithful lover whose love had been trampled upon and taken for granted. I am always amazed at the candor with which God shows us His deepest wounds when we neglect Him.
As if things were not bad enough, Ahab became king of Israel and elevated idolatry to an unprecedented level. He married Jezebel whose father was a king-priest and imported the worship of their god Baal into Israel. He even erected a temple for Baal. It was in the midst of that nauseating idolatry that the prophet Elijah pronounced judgment on Ahab and Israel by calling forth a drought on the land. Elijah said to Ahab, "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain . . . except at my word."
But were these the words of man or the word of God? How could a mere mortal have the audacity to pronounce years of drought on an entire nation? And is that possible today? Can you and I exercise the same spiritual boldness and pronounce judgment on an entire nation in the name of God? When does the word of God become the word of man?
Well, the Bible says this in connection with that question: " . . . The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years." (James 5:16-17). In essence: if Elijah, hewn from the same human stock as we are, could pray earnestly for a drought to engulf the land, then you and I could do the same!
But then we must remember:
First, Elijah spoke a word of judgment that had already been put in place by God in Deuteronomy 28. Drought was one of the consequences Israel would suffer if they neglected God.
Second, Elijah's words were pronounced at the command of God in his capacity as a servant of God. He did not speak his own mind and words. He spoke the living word of the Living God.
So, when does the word of God become the word of man so that what we speak as humans can become a reality? When we are serving God righteously and are desirous of seeing God honored in the land, we can stand upon what God has spoken and expect it to become a reality.
When God's word becomes the word of man because God is honored and not man, God will watch over His word to perform it. Man's word can only become the word of God if God is the source of those words as given in Scripture! May God's word be our word at all times.
Prayer: Father, Elijah spoke and it came to pass. May your word be my word so that you will be glorified when I speak. May I never seek to speak my word, but Yours alone. May your word be my word. May Scripture be the basis of every pronouncement I make! Amen.