Since our series on Redemption was interrupted by a number of events, I thought is good to go ahead and look as some areas that are needful. One of those areas was "Worship".

In our brief and incomplete study of worship, we saw that true worship always brings change to the life of the one worshiping, to be more like the One being worshiped. There are many areas of our lives in which true worship brings change. We’ve look at four of those areas:

True Worship will produce:

True Biblical worship and true Biblical service go hand in hand, and both are vital parts of the redemptive program of God for mankind. In continuing our examination of Biblical service, we want to look briefly at the life of two of those included in the "Hall of Faith", listed in Hebrews 11.

Hebrews 11:32-34 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

Neither of these two great men of faith are mention by name in Hebrews 11, but are included in the package of great people called the prophets. We want to examine these two Biblical personalities by looking at their attitudes and actions, as they participated in Spiritual service.

Please look again at a partial list of "services" preformed by those mentioned in the above verses. Reading this list and comparing it to our service, is very revealing, as to the true nature of Biblical service.

Working Righteousness and obtaining promises are aspects of Biblical service that must be true of all who serve God. The other aspects of service mention, are specialty areas, engaged by only a few.

Worked is "active". However, obtained is "passive"

Worked = (Greek) To toil as an occupation
Obtained = (Greek) To attain because one chanced upon it

Looking at the first part of Hebrew 11 will show how the Holy Spirit sets the stage for what is to follow. As always, the Holy Spirit did not stick in a bunch of extra words to fill up space, so there would be 66 books in the Bible. What is presented in this introduction to chapter 11, is very revealing as to how and why these "greats" gave themselves in service.

Hebrews 11:1-7 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was translated so that he did not see death, "and was not found because God had translated him"; for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. 7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

To do justice to these first seven verses, we should have at least a month of lessons, and then the blessed truths, presented here, would not be exhausted. For this lesson, we will concentrate on two factors presented in verse 6.

We must truly believe that God is.

That God is, is a given for most Believers. However, there is much more involved in this statement than just that God exists. We must believe that God is all that He says He is. In this series, we will not spend a great deal of time examining what God said He is, because that is the subject of our study of the Essence of God.

The next phrase is where we would like to direct our focus, today.

God is a rewarder

Rewarder = (Greek) A remunerator; One who pays for services; One who pays for work preformed

Without taking a lot of time, it is needful to see that position or status is not the most important factor in the process of rewards from God. The important factor, in this rewards process, is not the type of action performed, but the quality and condition of the heart attitude when the action takes place.

Level Field

If you take nothing else away from this lesson but this fact, the lesson will be worthwhile. For this part of our study, the main thing I want us to see is, that the "playing field", in Biblical service and rewards, is level for all participants.

Matthew 10:41-42 "He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. 42 "And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward."

Just because a person has a "higher" position (whatever that is) does not mean they will have greater rewards. As a matter of fact, having a "higher" position can have a detrimental effect when it come to rewards and punishment.

James 3:1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers (headmaster or instructor), knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
James 5:17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.


The Scriptures only reveal a brief segment of Elijah’s life. We will see the pinnacle of his service, and the deep valley of his service, referred to by some as his failure. However, we will not get to either of these in this lesson.

The Holy Spirit evidently thought the valley experience was important. At least, the Holy Spirit dedicated more space, in Holy Writ, to the valley than He did to the pinnacle.

1 Kings 17:1 And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word."

A store manager overheard his clerk tell a customer, "No, ma’am, we haven’t had any for a while, and it doesn’t look as if we’ll be getting any soon." Horrified, the manager came running over to the customer and said, "Of course we’ll have some soon! We placed an order last week." Then the manager drew the clerk aside. "Never," he snarled, "Never, never, never say we’re out of anything - say we’ve got it on order and it’s coming. Now, what was it she wanted?" The clerk replied, "She wanted some rain!"

King Ahab may not have been a store manager, but he would've liked to killed Elijah when Elijah said "It doesn’t look as if we’ll be getting any soon." Elijah pops up on the Biblical scene without fanfare and without a plan of escape.


God said go… and Elijah went.
The results were up to God.
Obedience was up to Elijah.  

That was a bit like the young man who accepted Christ as his Savior, one night at a church service. This young man was not quite as bright as some thought they were, as a result he dropped out of school in the eight grade. The young man worked hard as a common laborer, and at this time was assisting a mason, who was putting up a tall brick wall around an estate of a very wealthy business man. The young man was excited about his new found faith in Jesus Christ. So, the next morning, he told his boss, the mason, about this wonderful new life. His boss made fun of him unmercifully, and said, "You say that you want to do what God says. Right?""That’s right, sir," the young man responded, "I want to do anything and everything God says!" His boss, poking a little ridicule at him, said, "What if God said to run into this wall, we’ve just built?"

Without hesitation, the young man replied, "If God said to run into that wall, I would run as fast as I could, with all my might and it’s God’s business to make the hole before I get there. If there ain’t no hole, then God’s goin’ take me home to glory, to be with Him, in my very own mansion!"

I’d say he was quite a "bright" young man! Wouldn’t you agree?

This was a very similar attitude to that of Elijah. God said to take a message to Ahab, and a short message, at that. Why, there wasn’t even a song sung before this message, and of all things, there was no offering taken. Elijah never expressed fear of Ahab’s wrath or sword. Elijah figured that God would make the "hole", and if God didn’t, God would take him home to glory.

That is called commitment. Commitment is a foreign word to many Believers and they have no idea what it means, when it comes to Spiritual service. If we believe that God is, like the young man of our story and Elijah, then we can trust His message, and we can also trust His "after plan", even if we don’t know what it is. Of course, most of us want the "after plan" to bring fame, riches and great comfort – with no personal cost. However, if we believe the Bible, most of the "after plans" of God do not bring fame, riches and great comfort, at least not in this life.

Elijah knew that Ahab had a nasty habit of killing anyone who was a prophet of God, and especially anyone who would dare bring a message of guilt and punishment. It is very possible and even probable that Elijah obeyed God by bringing the message and was willing and fully expected to give his life for his effort. That type of dedication to God is in short supply today. Would you be willing to bring a one line message from God, knowing that just as soon as you put the "period" at the end of sentence, you would lose your head? Many are willing to serve, If it is convenient and doesn’t cost too much. Such an attitude is not service for God! It is, instead, a religious service for one’s own benefit. Oh, yes! Many are willing to serve, if it is done their way and/or it benefits their kids and themselves. Wouldn’t it be nice to find people who are willing to serve even if the service was not to their exact liking, and there was no profit to their immediate family? That kind of service is almost unheard of, and is of greater value than a big bag of gold.

Elijah didn’t have an after plan, because God hadn’t given him a handbook, outlining the next 3+ years of the plan. But God is all He says He is, and He knows the end from the beginning, and, yes, God did have an after plan, but it would be revealed to Elijah one step at a time. That’s a hard "row to hoe", especially for those who want everything in its proper box before they take their first step.

1 Kings 17:2-6 Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 3 "Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. 4 "And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there." 5 So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.

"Then the Word of the Lord came.." God said, "Thanks Elijah! Now here is the next stage." The word of the Lord came, so Elijah went and did. That’s the proper attitude. When we Believers hear the Word of the Lord, then we too need to get to doing. To many Christians just keep on hearing the word and hearing the word and hearing… and just keep on doing nothing. When the word of the Lord comes, it always demands action of some kind.

Many times, what the word of God says to do is, without a doubt, the most unrealistic things you’ve ever heard. Too often, we Christians use the Ford Motor Company’s old motto and tell God "We have a better idea". We infer by such an attitude, that God is old and His dementia is showing. We say to God, "Your way is just not ‘with’ it, let’s do something different."

God told Elijah to go down to the Brook Cherith and there he would be cared for, because God said, "I’ve told the ravens to feed you". "You told the raven, what? Yea, right!" This would be the response of most of us, and maybe that’s why our names are not in the Hall of the Faithful Ones.

I would like to swim in Elijah’s story for a month or so, because there is so much here. For one thing, we see the sovereignty of God at work. I mean the real sovereignty of God, not the make believe sovereignty that is being promoted by some. God told the ravens to feed Elijah, and they did. The ravens had no volition. However, in a few verses, we will see that God said that He told someone else to feed Elijah, also. This someone else, however, did have a volition and it is interesting to see God sovereignty in action, as He works with and through the volition of a human. You see sovereignty is not a total robotic control over every being, but is instead the ultimate right and power to administer to a predicted outcome. We will study sovereignty later in our study of the Essence of God.

Notice, that God told Elijah to hide. If God is so great, why does Elijah have to hide from a sinful ol’ king? God could have just make Elijah invisible, or He could have just zapped the king and got it all over with in a hurry. Yes, God is almighty and sovereign and He could do all those things and many more. However, God, because He is sovereign has chosen not to operate in that manner. When it comes to service, God want us to do the possible, and God will do the impossible.

1 Kings 17:7-9 And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 9 "Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you."

Evidently, while Elijah was at the brook, God never communicated with him, until He told Elijah to take another hike. I don’t know exactly how long Elijah was at the brook, but it was a while, and the only thing Elijah had to do all day was to have his quiet-time. What a mountain-top experience that would have been down there at the brook. Yet, God never spoke to him. God sure missed an opportunity to get next to Elijah and give him a Spiritual experience that he could talk/brag about.

Just Ordinary Obedience

Please allow me to share with you something that doesn’t have a great deal to do with this lesson. On the other hand, it really has a lot to do with all of our Christian experience, and I guess that’s what all Bible lessons are about. Listen my Christian friend, just because you get off by yourself and nature, does not mean that God is going to give you a fuzzy spiritual experience or even a new revelation. The point is, we are to live by the word of God, and we are to live so even if we are on the mountain top or down in the valley. That may bring a fuzzy Spiritual feeling or a brand new truth from the Word, you’ve never seen before.

However, if you are living by the word of God, more than likely it will only bring the common ol’ feeling of obedience. Obedience to the word of God doesn’t always give you zip in your zapper, or put air under your feet or give you some brand new insight that you can share with you friends and impress them. Obedience is obedience. Obedience should just feel natural. The most natural thing for a Christian should be obedience. Obedience shouldn’t feel strange. Obedience shouldn’t feel extraordinary. Obedience to God should feel.. well.. sort of mundane. It should be the most natural thing in the Christian life. Obedience should be the most common aspect of living the life of Christ. When a bunch of Christians have their share-time and they are all excited because they finally obeyed once, it’s kind of scary.

Obedience should not be exciting. If you are getting a strange charge or tingle because you obeyed God once, there is something wrong! Really wrong! You haven’t been obeying much or it would feel quite natural. You should get a very strange feeling when you are not obeying!

Here was Elijah. He had no Bible, no concordance, no computer, no praise hymn book, he didn’t even have a CD player. My word! What did he do with his time? Maybe he threw rocks in the brook? Drew in the sand? Went for walks? I don’t know. He may have been bored, but he was living in obedience to God. He was sustained by the word of God. Something that many Christians have little concept of today. He didn’t have much of the word of God, either. However, the Word of God he did have sustained him. It wasn’t a fuzzy feeling that kept him going. No, it wasn’t too exciting, but it was obedience.

When a person really believes that the word of God is the word of God, and that God is who He says He is and that He is a rewarder, Then that’s all you need. That may not increase your heart rate, it may not increase your borders, but it is true Christian living and service. Stop looking for the feeling, for the new experience, the new insight. Some of those things may come your way in the process of service, But if you never get a strange feeling or out-of-body experience or a new insight or get rich, you can still have joy inexpressible and full of glory, if you simply obey God’s word.

I believe that’s really what we are looking for, rather than some strange phony fuzzy feeling, that goes away when the lights go out and the music fades. We need some real Christian living, some obedience, instead of all this TV showmanship type of religious acting.

1 Peter 1:6-8 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

Please note, that this joy inexpressible and full of glory did not come about because of some mountain-top experience or new insights, etc. This real fulfillment of the Christian life came about while in the depths of great trial and suffering, so that faith could be matured. When we are in obedience to the word of God, we may not see Jesus Christ in person(vs 8), yet we can have something that no other activity can produce.


Elijah lived in a time when the government was totally debauched, immoral, corrupt and any other bad thing you can think of. The schools had gone to pot, and simply being a believer in God meant death or some sort of exile.

I’m all for improving government, society, schools, etc. However, I fear that the Christian herd has become more driven by having a safe society, a perfect government, holy public schools and personal comfort, rather than seeing the glory of God and serving Him.

Once we have seen God’s glory and are serving Him in obedience, then we should show and teach godliness and service for God, to our children. That’s what makes strong, mature, godly children, not the other things. Get the other things, if you can (but don’t count on it). While you are trying to get the other things, don't slight the really important things like obedience, service, godliness, etc. Our focus needs to be on God, not on bad government, corrupt schools, unsafe society, the too small two car garage, because we have three cars, a boat and hog, and no place to park them, etc.

We can’t see God when our vision is filled with the bad or even the good things of life. We must first see God, through His word, then all these things, the good and bad, will be placed in their proper order.

Matthew 6:30-33 "Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 "Therefore do not worry (totally consumed with anxiety), saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 "For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

When our vision is filled with things, good or bad, God becomes only an accessory to the things of this life, and our worship of God degenerates to a prayer session in which we are asking God to manipulate the things of life for our benefit, or as we think they should be. Instead, our worship and service to God should be simple obedience to His word, and our view of the things of life as only tools to serve God better.

If Elijah had only been willing to serve because the program met his personal wants and that serving was personally convenient, comfortable and beneficial to his kids, then we would have never heard of Elijah the prophet.

When the updated list of the faithful ones is written after the Judgment Seat of Christ, will your name be included, as a "good and faithful servant" or will you search in vain to find even the slightest reference?

Isaiah 6:1-8 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!" 4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 Then I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged." 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."

In our next lesson, we will see that Elijah truly had a nature like ours. After Elijah’s high point on Mt. Carmel, he fell into a very low point. Today some would say that Elijah had depression. We will look at how he coped and how it affected his service for God. So, make sure you get a good night’s sleep on Saturday night, otherwise you will not be able to keep up.

© Clyde White, Austin TX, 2005