Summary: Of all the Old Testament prophets, not one is mentioned more or is held in higher esteem in the New Testament than the prophet Elijah. His ministry is significant for a variety of different reasons and his experiences are valuable to us in a number of way
"My God is Yahweh”
“Elijah” (Part 1)
Scripture Text: 1 King 17:1-17
1 And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word."
2 Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying,
3 "Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan.
4 "And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there."
5 So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan.
6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.
7 And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
8 Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying,
9 "Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you."
10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, "Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink."
11 And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, "Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand."
12 So she said, "As the LORD your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die."
13 And Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son.
14 "For thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.'"
15 So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days.
16 The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke by Elijah.
17 Now it happened after these things that the son of the woman who owned the house became sick. And his sickness was so serious that there was no breath left in him. (NKJ)
Of all the Old Testament prophets, not one is mentioned more or is held in higher esteem in the New Testament than the prophet Elijah. His ministry is significant for a variety of different reasons and his experiences are valuable to us in a number of ways. This man was so highly regarded by God, that he never saw death, rather he was translated from earth to heaven via a fiery chariot. In fact, according to the scriptures, no other human being has ever exited this earth in such a glorious fashion. There’s no doubt that, among the prophets of God, Elijah was one of the greatest.
His very name; Elijah literally means; “my God is Yahweh.” And how appropriate--seeing that his assignment as Israel’s prophet was to turn the hearts of his countrymen back to his God, Yahweh. And, as we will soon learn, this assignment would prove to be no easy task, for, his fellow Israelites were so obsessed with foreign gods that they had all but forgotten the Lord their God.
This is part one of a four part series. This week we will examine together in detail, the “death defying” -- “life promoting” ministry of Elijah. And by doing so, it is my prayer that we too will receive a portion of this same Spirit that enabled him to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds and find hope and peace even in the midst of turmoil and despair.
Elijah’s first appearance in the scriptures is in 1Kings chapter 17. The year is 874BC. By this time, the nation of Israel had long been divided into two kingdoms; the northern kingdom which retained the name Israel, and the southern kingdom of Judah. Obviously, neither kingdom had too much to be proud of since the division, but Israel in particular was wasting no time in forgetting the one true God. No longer did they, as a people, honor the God Who had delivered them from Egypt--no longer did they look up to the living God who brought them into the promised land which they now possessed. This northern kingdom had seven previous kings, all of which “did evil in the eyes of the Lord” by leading the people deeper and deeper into idolatry and apostasy.