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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

Spiritual Fatherhood and Elijah

A spiritual father is someone who serves the Lord and ministers God's word to another. This is what Elijah did for King Abab of Isread. Ahab, for his part, rejected this fatherhood at first. Under the enchantment of a destructive marriage and idolatry, the king refused to believe. Instead, he pitted himself against the Lord. The role of Elijah is to bring Ahab to a place where he might be fathered by God, where he might learn to be a son before the mystery of the Lord. The project took years but finally, Ahab briefly came into obedience, and in that brief moment of obedience he found the blessing of God and true freedom. This spiritual liberty of being a son was short-lived. The deadly relationship with Jezebel stoled away the blessing that could have been his. His life would go on to end tragically. As far as Elijah, he too had to face death. Anyone who is father to another in deadly peril knows that he too must face death with his son, even when his son refuses to be fathered. Yet, the story does not end here and neither does spiritual fatherhood. Rejected by Ahab, hunted by Jezebel, afraid for his life and wanting to die, Elijah was invited into an even deeper intimacy with the Lord. He discovered in the face of disaster the still small voice of hope, and through faith built a new future. The death others wished on him was thwarted and the power of God was revealed—when this spiritual father sustained himself on the bread of angels and dared to stand in prayer on the Mountain of the Lord.

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