Elijah, one of the greatest prophets had his weak moments. Deeply human as he was spiritual, he struggles head to head with one of the worst kings – Ahab.
- King Ahab’s tryst with prophets
- Elijah – best prophet vs. Ahab, worst king
- Dynamic Display
- Deep Depression
- Where are we today?
Background - King Ahab’s tryst with the prophets
- Ahab was one of the worst kings, reached by several prophets
- 400 Prophets of Asherah dined at queen Jezebel’s table
- God’s prophets were killed during their tenure
- Elijah was the foremost prophet at that time
- Another prophet wounded himself to reach the king
- Eventually the lying prophets deceive Ahab
- Micaiah also prophesies his death and is punished.
- Trifles the fear of Obadiah
- Faces the king and all prophets of Baal
- Vanquishes them with gusto
- Suddenly gets afraid due to Jezebel
- Runs for his life
- Is redirected by God
1 Kings 18:14 And now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ He will kill me!”
15 Elijah said, “As the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today.”
Elijah on Mount Carmel
16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”
1 Kings 18:20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
But the people said nothing.
- Faces Ahab, who wants to kill him
- Defies laws of nature
- Challenges 100s of Baal prophets resulting in getting them killed
- Announces to the king that God is going to finally send rain to a famine stressed land.
Elijah is Afraid
In spite of Elijah bringing the good news of rain, Ahab only gives a negative report to the queen. The people also are apathetic when Elijah invites them to take a stand for God. Elijah must be discouraged at constantly having his best efforts thwarted.
1 Kings 19:1 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”
3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life
1 Kings 19:3 When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
Different Colours of Israel
- Corrupt, evil – King Ahab and Jezebel
- Critical, ungrateful – widow
- Casual, apathetic – crowd at Mount Carmel
- Consistent, faithful– Few remaining prophets and faithful followers –Micaiah, Obadiah
God Strengthens Him
1 Kings 19:5 All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. 7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.”
For continuing to run?
1 Kings 19:8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God
When we take our eyes from God we start running away from God.
The Word of the Lord Speaks
1 Kings 19:9 And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
The Lord Speaks
God speaks in a gentle whisper.
1 Kings 19:11 Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 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?”
The Lord Redirects
Elijah has to go right back the way he came.
1 Kings 19:15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”
Elijah was running in the opposite direction
Is God asking…
What are you doing here?
- In what ways do we run away from God?
- What has changed for the shift from dynamic display to deep depression?
- What do we learn about God?
- What do we learn from Elijah?
- Elisha means “God is salvation.”
- He served as prophet of the northern kingdom for more than 50 years, through the reigns of kings Jehoram, Jehu, Jehoahaz, and into the reign of Joash.
- Elisha protected the kings and armies of Israel. He performed many miracles.
- Like his mentor, Elisha demanded rejection of idols and faithfulness to the true God. His miracles, both spectacular and minor, showed that God’s care on major and minor issues.