Burning the Plow
1 Kings 19:19-21
March 8, 2006
Listen to this Sermon
“It does not matter whether or not people understand us or think we are even sane as long as we are true to God. Obedience to him is the important thing.” Theodore Epp
Elijah was not the most balanced man in the Bible. If you made a list of adjectives that described him, balanced would probably not make the top fifty. It’s hard to call a rough-hewn mountain man balanced. What do you say about a man who …
Faced down a wicked king
Lived by a brook where he was fed by ravens
Lived with a widow
Raised a dead boy to life
Challenged the king again
Called for a public confrontation
Ridiculed other religions
Mocked the prophets of Baal
Called down fire from heaven
Slaughtered the prophets of Baal
Outran the king’s chariot
Ran from the queen
Prayed that he might die
Hiked 40 days across the desert
Hid in a cave
Heard God’s voice
Claimed to be the only righteous man left
What do you say about a man like that? Say what you want, but don’t call him balanced. When Dr. Ryrie wrote Balancing the Christian Life, he wasn’t thinking of Elijah.
Balance is in vogue today. We all want to be balanced so that all the areas of life are in harmony. When we choose leaders, we look for people with balanced temperaments, who can balance the demands of home and work, who react to a crisis with a balanced approach, who know how to balance competing demands and find a workable compromise.
Balance is good. Balance is cool. Balance is boring.
There aren’t a lot of “balanced” men in the Bible. Not Moses. He was a hothead who killed an Egyptian and then tried to cover it up. David? Not by a long shot. Jacob? Are you kidding? Daniel? Not after that episode with the handwriting on the wall. Paul wasn’t such an easy man to work with. Just ask Barnabas. And Peter? Yeah, right. He’s the man with the foot-shaped mouth. He was brave until a teenaged girl challenged him. Then the bold apostle crumbled.
Elijah was not balanced. He was headstrong, determined, impetuous, prone to emotional excess, and he was a deeply devoted follower of God.
He was God’s man. God’s prophet. God’s spokesman to an evil and unbelieving generation. Balance is good, but sometimes you need a man who seems about “a half bubble off-center.” Regular types need not apply. Elijah fit the bill perfectly.
Now God is about to give Elijah a prot