1 Kings 17-19
Today’s reading MAY be one of the BEST reads in the OT!!! I LOVE the story of Elijah. When you read this, as you witness all the powerful miracles performed (and miracles are AWESOME things), I challenge each of you to read deeper… LOOK at the RELATIONSHIP Elijah had with God…..that is the meaning behind EVERYthing. And the WONDERFUL thing, is that because Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead for EACH of us…..YOU and I can have this same, deep, abiding relationship with HIM.
Click here for today’s reading http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Kings%2017-19&version=NIV
Elijah means “Jehovah is my God”, He is the most outstanding of all the prophets. Elijah is ONE of TWO men in the Bible that NEVER DIED before going to Heaven (Enoch is the other from Genesis 5:21-23 “After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”)
Jews expect Elijah to come back to pave the way for the Messiah to come (they are still waiting). That is why in Matthew the followers keep asking Jesus “Are you Elijah”. John the Baptist comes in the spirit of Elijah (John comes as “one like him.”) And, Elijah is with Jesus at the Transfiguration. Elijah could be one of the men that return in Revelation when the 2 spies are sent in. BIG STUFF right? Grasp what you can through whatever God is showing showing you through our reading …. soak in what we are reading….and look forward to the rest.
To cut and paste all his appearances would take all day but here is the one from the Transfiguration (which I also used during the Holy Week entries.)
“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.” (Luke 7:1-3)
(Moses represents the Law and Elijah will represent the Prophets, both are being fulfilled)
CHAPTER 17– We meet Elijah as he is sent by God to tell King Ahab that no rain or even dew will fall on Israel for the next few years. The LORD then tells Elijah to leave and go to Kerith Ravine. There the ravens (interesting that God chose the raven…a bird that is known to be a scavenger and VERY unclean, but ALSO known to be acrobatic fliers, and very smart!!) … The raven brought him 2 meals a day of meat and bread!!! I’d say that was a miracle and a very smart bird!! PLUS…WHO would watch a raven to see where it was going …..so what a great way to protect Elijah and keep him in hiding. When the water from the ravine was gone, God again spoke to Elijah and told him to go to a widow in Zarephath (ummmm…..Jezebel’s home region….lots of pagans!!) The widow follows Elijah’s instructions and witnesses a miracle with her food supply AND she also witnessed a miracle in that God healed her son ….. actually BROUGHT HER SON BACK TO LIFE…. using Elijah!!!! THIS widow was a CONVERT to our God because of Elijah being in her life!!! I’d say that was some powerful witnessing!!!
CHAPTER 18– God tells Elijah to present himself to King Ahab. Enter–Obadiah– Obadiah means “servant of Jehovah.” He was the chief of the household of King Ahab of Israel; AND a devout worshipper of Jehovah. He placed his own life at risk by hiding over 100 prophets during Jezebel’s persecution of all the prophets of GOD!! Elijah tells Obadiah (because it was a “co-ink-a-dink” that they passed on the road, you know <<<smile>>>) to tell Ahab that Elijah is “coming to meet with him.” Obadiah recognized Elijah, bows before him, but when he hears Elijah’s request he is concerned. Maybe his response would have gone something like this: “Ummmmmmm….. sir…….I’ve….ummmmmm. already risked my life by hiding God’s prophets and if I tell this news to Ahab and you don’t come…. I’M A DEAD MAN!!!” Obadiah shows great faith and does as Elijah asked.
Elijah boldly stepped on the scene to confront the most powerful people in the nation, King Ahab and Jezebel. Elijah comes on the scene, is told by God where to go and what to do, and he DOES it!! I was trembling when I read that Elijah told all the prophets in King Ahab’s kingdom to bring forth two bulls and prepare one for their sacrifice, clean it, cut it, but DO NOT START IT ON FIRE. THEN, Elijah takes the other bull and prepared it himself for his sacrifice, dug a trench around the bull, had the worshipers of Baal pour massive amounts of water on it, and then tells them….. OK… LET’S SEE WHOSE GOD IS REAL!!! WHOSE GOD IS GONNA LIGHT THE FIRE??? The Israelites danced, and sang, and begged their gods to set their bull on fire.
Elijah “taunted” them, (three times) so the more they danced and sang and begged AND….THEY EVEN stabbed themselves as a form of worship/sacrifice/self mutilation to their gods!!! Although they had NO response from their gods NO ONE PAID attention.
Before Elijah taunted them a third time he rebuilt an altar that had been torn down which had been used to worship the ONE TRUE God. Elijah also put 12 stones for ALL of the tribes of Israel around it as a reminder that Israel WAS 12 tribes…not just 10!!! The REMINDER was for Northern Kingdom of Israel—the 10 tribes—currently the wild ones under King Ahab’s (and lets not forget Jezebel’s) rule!!
THEN Elijah called on the name of the LORD, and Elijah’s bull to the ONE TRUE GOD was set on FIRE… fire came down from heaven!! NO TRICKS…..NO MAGIC…. JUST THE WORKING OF OUR MIGHTY GOD!!! If that didn’t convert people….I don’t know what would!!! ALL the people who saw this fell prostrate before God and CRIED “HE IS LORD—HE IS GOD!!” Elijah had all the prophets of Baal seized and killed.
So we have one man against 850. Elijah verses the false prophets. Elijah is so bold! He says in 18:21 “Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waiver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
We are told in Matthew 6:24 — “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money (my paraphrase..or any other idol).”
CHAPTER 19 — “Man on the run…… man on the run….” (old song running through my head.) After all Elijah had been through and witnessed, he was exhausted, he was afraid because King Ahab told Jezebel everything and Jezebel was NOT a happy woman. She was out for Elijah’s blood…his life. She was NOT going to tolerate ANYone who had a God BIGGER than she was!!!
So Elijah ran. He confessed to God his feelings of being overwhelmed, lonely, depressed, and he asked to die. He traveled 200 miles (walking) to the very place that Moses was given the 10 Commandments. Elijah’s humanness is somehow encouraging. I LOVED seeing God’s gentleness and compassion towards Elijah. He gave him food and rest (did you notice God sent an angel to bring him food!!) I was so touched at God’s deep compassion for HIS child.
God tells Elijah to leave the cave and stand on the mountain because HE was going to pass by. Elijah felt a powerful wind, an earthquake, and then a fire…..but The Lord was in NONE of those!! BUT after the fire, “CAME A GENTLE WHISPER. WHEN ELIJAH HEARD IT HE PULLED HIS CLOAK OVER HIS FACE AND WENT OUT AND STOOD AT THE MOUTH OF THE CAVE.” THEN Elijah HEARD the voice of The Lord!!!!
This reminds me of “Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10) Ahhhhhhh!!!!
And now I am back to the very point I started today’s message with — having a relationship with the Lord is not just watching Him move mountains; it is listening to Him speak. Whisper. Directly and personally to us. The greatest miracle of all is He can have a one on one with EACH of US at the SAME TIME!!!
Elijah’s boldness, strength, faith, his taunting the people, and his fears make him admirable, yet very human. God’s provision EACH step of the way was incredible!! This story for me today is VERY personal. It is a reminder of how God PROVES himself to us. In Malachi 3:10 — we are told: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” God was proving HIMSELF to HIS obedient Elijah!! I may have mentioned that after 21 years with a large corporation, my husband’s last day with them is tomorrow. Many companies call this “downsizing.” He is one of several hundred that were impacted in this round of “downsizing.” Their HR department calls it “a major life change.” We have more questions than we have answers right now and THIS story reminded me of how God provided for Elijah at EVERY turn. God led Elijah to a stream where he had water for several years. During that same time HE fed Elijah through a raven …like clock work….TWO times a day…meat and bread by a raven sent by God!! God told Elijah to GO to a widow in Jezebel’s home town..who listened to him, gave him water, and gave him bread. In God’s mercy and grace she was also blessed in her food supply by giving to him. God used Elijah to bring her son back to life and in the midst of it all this woman was converted to BELIEVE in the Almighty God!! We saw God’s compassion and gentleness in giving Elijah rest and then food from an angel. God is NO respecter of persons….what HE does for one of HIS children HE will do for all of us. I DON’T mean HE will make us all millionaires (on this side of heaven.) But …. HIS love, compassion, grace, mercy, provisions, promises, and on and on and on the list goes of WHO our God is and what HE has in store for EACH of us.
We end today’s reading with God leading Elijah to Elisha. God knew Elijah needed someone close to him and WHO better to train up another. This is yet another touching part of today’s read. …..Did you notice that Elijah threw his cloak over Elisha?? Elisha is CHOSEN to succeed Elijah and he leaves his riches behind. He ACTUALLY committed so deeply to the Lord that he BURNED UP ALL HE OWNED so he could not return back to his old life. He is now the hands and feet of the Lord!!
REMEMBER the CLOAK…..we will hear about it again in a future read….and it will be an AWESOME read too!!!
So I’d LOVE to hear what God whispered to you today? What touched you? You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to use the SUBJECT field with BLOG so I don’t trash your email by mistake…or you can share on the blog below.
Sharing HIS love,