Elijah: The Education of a Prophet
Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 19:1-18

Text: "After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And 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 a voice said to him, ’What are you doing here, Elijah?’" (1 Kings 19:12-13 NIV).

Like a comet that lights up the whole horizon for a moment then sinks beyond the rim of the sky and is gone, Elijah the Tishbite flashed across the darkest pages of Hebrew history.
Elijah entered Israel’s history like a tempest and went out in a whirlwind.
So great was his fame, so dramatic his person during his own lifetime, that the idea persisted that he was caught up into the air by the Spirit of God and carried to and fro at will (1 Kings 18:9-15).

Elijah served God well.
He was God’s surgical knife, cutting the sore of Israel’s idolatry.
Elijah was the rod in God’s hand, chastening Israel for its disobedience.
Elijah was God’s mouthpiece, pronouncing judgment of drought on the land. Elijah was God’s priest, offering a sacrifice for the sins of the people that brought down fire from heaven.

At the mere mention of his name, we think of earthquake, storm, and fire; the scourge of evil kings and the prophet of doom.

But there was another side to Elijah’s character and career.
God used Eli¬jah to anoint prophets and kings, among them the great prophet Elisha, who was to take up his mantle.

God used Elijah to organise schools of prophets who lived on after him. He also used Elijah to call princes and kings back to God.

Perhaps he was the most colourful, amazing, and important man alive to serve the Lord in his generation.

How did he come by all this?
Only through a long and severe period of schooling in what we could call "God’s school of faith."

By means of one experience after another, God taught his prophet.

In the small fragments of Elijah’s career given in the Scriptures, we can find the outline for the education of this prophet. In five simple lessons:

the lesson of provision
the lesson of patience.
the lesson of power
the lesson of preservation
the lesson of God’s presence

Friends, listen closely, for every child of God needs the lessons this prophet learned.

I. Elijah learned the lesson of provision.
Faithful as God’s spokesman, Elijah had pronounced God’s judgment of drought (1 Kings 17:1), but how was he supposed to eat?
In essence God said, "I’ll feed you. Drink the water of the brook, and I’ll send ravens to feed you" (17:4).
But the brook was drying up.
Elijah had to depend on God to provide.
He had to! Elijah’s part was to be faithful because God had said he would provide.
Even though Elijah saw the brook drying up every day, he was determined to remain until God sent him on.
And God provided for his prophet. When Elijah moved on, he was not deterred by the small amount of
Mark Christian
February 15, 2009
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