1 Kings, 17
D Elijah’s ministry
Elijah warns Ahab of drought
1: 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. 2: And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, 3: Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. 4: And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. 5: So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. 6: And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. 7: And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
Elijah - Widow of Zarephath
8: And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, 9: Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. 10: So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. 11: And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. 12: And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. 13: And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. 14: For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. 15: And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. 16: And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah. 17: And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. 18: And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? 19: And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. 20: And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? 21: And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again. 22: And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23: And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth. 24: And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.
1 Kings, 18
Elijah speaks to Ahab again
1: And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth. 2: And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria. 3: And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly: 4: For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.) 5: And Ahab said unto Obadiah, Go into the land, unto all fountains of water, and unto all brooks: peradventure we may find grass to save the horses and mules alive, that we lose not all the beasts. 6: So they divided the land between them to pass throughout it: Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself. 7: And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he knew him, and fell on his face, and said, Art thou that my lord Elijah? 8: And he answered him, I am: go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here. 9: And he said, What have I sinned, that thou wouldest deliver thy servant into the hand of Ahab, to slay me? 10: As the LORD thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not. 11: And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here. 12: And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from thee, that the Spirit of the LORD shall carry thee whither I know not; and so when I come and tell Ahab, and he cannot find thee, he shall slay me: but I thy servant fear the LORD from my youth. 13: Was it not told my lord what I did when Jezebel slew the prophets of the LORD, how I hid an hundred men of the LORD's prophets by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water? 14: And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here: and he shall slay me. 15: And Elijah said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, I will surely shew myself unto him to day. 16: So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him: and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17: And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? 18: And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim. 19: Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel's table.
Elijah on Mt Carmel
20: So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel. 21: And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. 22: Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men. 23: Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: 24: And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken. 25: And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under. 26: And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. 27: And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked. 28: And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. 29: And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded. 30: And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. 31: And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name: 32: And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed. 33: And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. 34: And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time. 35: And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water. 36: And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. 37: Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. 38: Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39: And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God. 40: And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.
The drought ends
41: And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. 42: So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, 43: And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. 44: And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not. 45: And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel. 46: And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.
1 Kings, 19
Elijah flees to Mt Horeb
1: And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. 2: Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. 3: And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. 4: But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. 5: And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. 6: And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. 7: And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. 8: And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.
The Lord speaks to Elijah again
9: And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? 10: And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 11: And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: 12: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 13: And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? 14: And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 15: And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: 16: And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. 17: And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. 18: Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
Elijah calls Elisha
19: So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. 20: And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee? 21: And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.
This brings us to the life and ministry of Elijah. We see that Elijah first warns Ahab of a drought which is the judgment of God on the northern kingdom because of their backslidings. Then we have the interesting case of the widow of Zarephath. Then we read of the encounter of Elijah with Ahab and the contest on Mt Carmel. Elijah then brings the drought to an end and flees at the threats of Jezebel. Then we read of the word of the Lord coming again to Elijah and finally Elisha is raised up by the Lord to replace Elijah. It’s interesting that Elijah raises no army nor is e a king but he is the Prophet of the Lord who brings a special word from the Lord to the wayward king and he leads a massive revival that is all cantered on one showdown on Mt Carmel. So how did Elijah achieve so much? He achieved so much by prayer in private and a public demonstration of the power of God in a very public place. It all starts with Elijah coming to Ahab to warn him of the coming drought. This drought was no ordinary drought it was an act of God in judgment. In the Law we saw that the Lord promised rain and fruitful harvest to Israel if they were faithful to the LORD but he also warned of drought and failed crops if they forsook the LORD. Now Elijah will call upon the name of the LORD to shut up the heavens to rain. He tells Ahab that the LORD has said that it will not rain for three years. And then he prays fervently that it will not rain. Then the LORD told Elijah to go and hide himself. He went and hid on the eastern banks of the Jordan in the rocky cliffs where a little brook would give him water. And he was fed morning and evening by ravens. (This is interesting because ravens were unclean) They brought him bread and flesh and so God who told him to be there provided for all his needs. After a while the brook dried up and then the LORD told him to go to Zarephath. (A seaside village on the coast in the far north of Palestine.) There the LORD commanded a widow to shelter him. It’s interesting that God was working in the life of other people in Israel and their obedience was as much an instrument of God as the man of God himself. This was a gentile village outside of Israel. We cannot fail to notice that first ravens and now a gentile woman? God often does what seems strange to us. When Elijah arrived she was gathering sticks to commit suicide with her son. Now God will move in her life to save her life and to provide for his servant. Elijah asks for a drink of water and a little bread. She answered that she had just a small among of flour and a little oil and it will be her last meal. He says to her don’t be afraid. Bring me a little cake and make one for yourself and your son. The barrel of flour will not run out and the cruise of oil will not run out until the day that the LORD sends rain. The LORD provided every day all that they all needed for the day. But after many days the boy became sick. She spoke to him saying have you come to slay my son? So he carried him up into the loft where he slept and he laid him o his bed and then prayed to the LORD for the boy he laid beside him three times. And Elijah pleaded with the Lord for the dead boy. Everything in Elijah’s life would be accomplished by prayer. Then the Lord heard his prayer and the child was revived. Then he brought him to his mother. She said, now l know that you are a man of God. This was a sign from heaven which confirmed Elijah’s prophetic message. Then after three years the LORD told Elijah to go to speak to Ahab again because he was going to send rain again. There was a very bad famine in Samaria and Ahab had called for Obadiah who was his house steward. Obadiah feared the LORD a great deal. When Jezebel had tried to kill all the prophets in Israel Obadiah had taken 100 prophets and hid them in a cave. And he had given them bread and water. Ahab sent Obadiah to find grass for the flocks. Ahab and Obadiah searched for green grass. Obadiah met Elijah and he fell on his face. Elijah told him to go and fetch is master Ahab. Obadiah told Elijah all that he had done and said he was afraid to go because Ahab might be cross with him and kill him. Elijah reassured him that he would see Ahab this day. When Ahab came he said to Elijah you are the one who has brought all this trouble on Israel. But he answered no l have not troubled Israel but you and your fathers house have forsaken the LORD and followed Baalim. He said l will meet you at My Carmel, bring the priests of Baalim 450 and bring the prophets of the grove 400. When they met on Mt Carmel Elijah spoke to Israel calling on Israel to make a choice between following the LORD or Baal. Then he called for a public demonstration of the power of God to enable Israel to know who was right and who they should follow. He said bring two bullocks and let the priests of Baal make an offering to their God and if he answers by fire then he will be the Lord of Israel. The people liked the idea so the Baal worshippers made an altar and called on their god but there was no answer and no fire. From morning to noon they danced and pleaded but no fire came. Elijah mocked them saying maybe he is asleep or maybe he has gone for walk! Then after they had injured themselves and done all they could Elijah said to the people come near and he rebuilt the altar of the LORD out of twelve stones. He also made a trench around it and filled it with water he arranged the bullock on the wood and he poured water onto the altar and it ran into the trench. And then he told them to do it again. And then do it a third time. And then at 3pm he called on the name of the LORD and the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the sacrifice, the wood and the stones and the dust and the water in the trench. Then the people fell on their faces saying only the LORD is God. They took the prophets of Baal and Elijah executed them all. Then Elijah told Ahab that it was gong to rain. Elijah went and called on the name of the LORD and the rain came again. Ahab told Jezebel his wife what Elijah had done and Jezebel sent a message to Elijah says l will kill you before tomorrow. Elijah ran to Beer-sheba where he left his servant and he went another day’s journey and sat under a juniper tree and asked the LORD to take his life. Elijah was exhausted so the Lord provided regular food and drink and sleep for two days and then on the strength of this food he went for 40 days he went to Horeb. Then the Lord spoke to him, saying why are you here Elijah? He said l have done everything and yet my life is now in danger. He said l am the only prophet left alive. The LORD told him to go and stand before him. And a great wing came and smashed the rocks in pieces. But the Lord was not in the wind. Then the LORD sent an earthquake. But the LORD was not in the earthquake. Then the LORD sent a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. When everything was finished there was still a quite voice from the LORD. Then the LORD spoke to him again, what are you doing here Elijah? And he repeated l have done everything for you and now they want to kill me. The Lord said go to Damascus and anoint Hazael king over Syria. And anoint Jehu king of Israel. And by the way l have still got 7,000 in Israel that are faithful to me. Elijah found Elisha ploughing with twelve oxen and Elijah passed by him he threw his overcoat on him. Elisha stopped and ran after Elijah and he said let me go and say farewell to my parents and then l will follow you. Elisha went back and killed the oxen and gave the meat to the people and then he went back a followed Elijah. We see in this passage that God was doing two things in the life of Elijah he was doing and work of God through him and he was doing a work of God in him.