“Elijah the Tishbite (was) from the Gilead settlers...” (1 Kings 17:1). The man whose name meant “my God is Jehovah” was from Tishbe, a small village in Gilead, the region east of the Jordan River. That’s all we know.
But what do we know about the man God called before He destroyed the earth with a flood?
Noah’s daddy’s name was Lamech and his granddad’s name was Methuselah (Genesis 5:25). His biographical background is limited in detail. But we know this...“Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8, NKJV).
And what do we really know about Abraham, or Abram, when God called him? His daddy, Terah, lived in “Ur of the Chaldeans” (Genesis 11:26-32) where he was a worshipper of pagan gods (Joshua 24:2). Yet, God called a nobody from nowhere and invited him to go somewhere... “The Lord said to Abram: Go from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:1–3).
Who was David? Samuel announced to King Saul, “The Lord has found a man after his own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over his people, because you have not done what the Lord commanded” (1 Samuel 13:14). But who could be the new king? Oh, yes. A boy. A sheepherder. The eighth son of Jesse. A nobody, living in an unimportant village named Bethlehem.
Who were the grandmothers in the lineage of Jesus? Matthew names four. Tamar (Matthew 1:3) was the Canaanite widow of Judah’s eldest son. She became Jesus’ great, great ... great grandmother when Judah had an incestuous relationship with his daughter-in-law (Genesis 38:1-30). Rahab is listed in the genealogy of our Savior (Matthew 1:5). She was a prostitute living among the condemned in Jericho (Joshua 2:1). Ruth was a Moabite woman (Ruth 1:4, Matthew 1:5). And Bathsheba, “Uriah’s wife” (Matthew 1:6), secured a place in Jesus’ family tree because of King David’s rooftop stroll and his lustful passions.
How about Peter? Did his resume prove his worthiness to serve in Jesus’ inner-circle? Nope! He was a fisherman, one among many, who eked out a living on the Sea of Galilee. He wasn’t educated. He wasn’t polished and powerful. His hands were rough, his ways were course, and his clothing smelled like fish.
Am I making my point? God doesn’t call qualified people. Rather God qualifies those he graciously selects for His Divine purposes.
God called Elijah, a nobody from nowhere. He invited him to boldly stand before the powerful and wicked King Ahab and announce God’s wrathful judgement upon Israel and upon Baal, the god who was credited with sending spring rains.
Yes, Elijah was a nobody ... but he was somebody who trusted and obeyed God!