And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. 1 Kings 17:1
In 1981, Bette and I hitched up our travel trailer and Bette packed it with food and supplies and we headed to Genesee, Idaho, where her father was living. While visiting Bette’s father we attended a new church in Moscow, Idaho. Pastor Clint Keating, (also in Glory) invited me to a pastor’s fellowship. It was there I learned of New Testament Baptist and that they were in search of a pastor. To make a long story short, I candidated; they liked my presentation; I loved them and a relationship was established between us.
I had not been at New Testament Baptist very long, but it was my belief that the church should schedule a revival. I do not know how I got it, but a copy of The Flaming Torch was in my office. Bette and I read much of that issue. I noticed that Don Edwards was going to be in my area of N.C. Washington State. I contacted him and he agreed to come. This was my first encounter with Bro. Edwards.
We became fast friends and remained so up until his graduation to Glory. I told Bro. Edwards on several occasions that he reminded me of the Old Testament prophet Elijah. Elijah means “My God is Jehovah.” Anyone who was around Bro. Edwards for any length of time knew that his God was Jehovah. Bro. Edwards showed his love for God in several ways.
Although Bro. Edwards and I had many great times together, his conversation ALWAYS exalted Jehovah God. Just like Elijah had this quality in his given name, Bro. Edwards had it, I believe, in his character.
Elijah was a man of conviction. God was his leader. When he stood before King Ahab, Elijah could have been killed by the wicked king! Yet, Elijah stood before this powerful leader and essentially told Ahab that he was not as powerful as he (Ahab) thought he was. Elijah had gotten a Word from Almighty God, and he was faithful in delivering it, knowing that God would take care of him.
Bro. Edwards certainly had convictions. They were the spiritual bones that gave his frame shape. He was fearless in delivering God’s message and did not spare for what a congregation might think or say. Bro. Edwards addressed doctrinal issues such as speaking in tongues, the inspiration of the KJV, separation from the world, sound Gospel music and many other issues that many preachers will NOT take a stand on today.
I had Bro. Edwards in other churches where I pastored and his convictions were the same, never wavering. You even saw it in The Torch. I used to tease Bro. Edwards telling him how he ought to rename his publication The Flaming Scorch since he pointed out much doctrinal error and preachers whose talk didn’t match their walk.
Notice in verse 1 that Elijah told King Ahab that for an appointed time there would be no dew nor rain. Elijah was a man concerned with detail. Bro. Edwards was that way as well. He paid attention to detail. As a young preacher, this was a big help to my ministry. We need to concern ourselves with detail.
When we give out a tract, is it just a tract or does it have our church name professionally printed on it? When we talk to someone about their relationship with the Lord do we get their name and show some interest in them and in their life situation or do we just hurry up the Gospel presentation?
Once, as Bro. Edwards was hitching up his fifth wheel to leave our church after a great revival, I asked him, “Bro. Edwards, has it ever happened that you spoke at a church for a week or so and then they never paid you?”
Bro. Edwards stopped what he was doing, looked at me and said, “Yes, George, that has happened to me. As a matter of fact, it has happened on more than one occasion. What do I do? I thank the pastor for having me, hitch up my trailer, say ‘praise the Lord’ and go down the road to the next church. Just remember, God is the one keeping records!” Then he went on and said the following which helped me tremendously in my ministry: “Bro. George, you have to decide now what it is that will stop you from serving God. When you do, I’ll guarantee you that the devil will cause it to happen in your ministry because he does not want you to serve God.”
Although that last statement may not be KJV, it helped me tremendously.Bro. Edwards finished his course. I am still running mine and my desire is to bring honor and glory to my God and set the right example for others who come after me. How about you?