One of God’s greatest prophets was Elijah the Tishbite. God gave him a mighty work to do as he tried time after time to save Israel from their sins. Remind yourself of Elijah’s life and see whether you too can relate to the discouragement he felt at one point as he dealt with what seemed to be an impossible task. Take note the various events in his lifetime and the miracles he performed. Try to understand his goal and why he must have felt like a failure when Israel did not respond the way they should have (1 Kings 19:14), because he didn’t know about the 7,000 ‘successes’ he had.
MAJOR EVENTS IN ELIJAH’S LIFE
- Persecuted by Ahab (1 Kings 17:2-7; 1 Kings 18:7-10)
- Escapes to the wilderness, where he is miraculously fed by ravens (1 Kings 17:1-7)
- By divine direction goes to Zarephath, where he is sustained in the household of a widow, whose meal and oil are miraculously increased (1 Kings 17:8-16)
- Returns, and sends a message to Ahab (1 Kings 18:1-16)
- Meets Ahab and directs him to assemble the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:17-20)
- Derisively challenges the priests of Baal to offer sacrifices (1 Kings 18:25-29)
- Kills the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:40)
- Escapes to the wilderness from the fierceness of Jezebel (1 Kings 19:1-18)
- Fasts for forty days (1 Kings 19:8)
- Despondency and complaints (1 Kings 19:10-14)
- Consolation given by God (1 Kings 19:10-14)
- His translation (2 Kings 2:11)
- Appears to Jesus at his transfiguration (Matthew 17:3-4; Mark 9:4; Luke 9:30)
MIRACLES ELIJAH PERFORMED DURING THIS TIME
- Increases the oil of the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:14-16)
- Raises the son of the woman of Zarephath from the dead (1 Kings 17:17-24)
- Causes rain after seven years of drought (1 Kings 18:41-45; James 5:17-18)
- Causes fire to consume the sacrifice (1 Kings 18:24; 1 Kings 18:36-38)
- Calls fire down upon the soldiers of Ahaziah (2 Kings 1:10-12; Luke 9:54-56)
(from Nave’s Topical Bible, Electronic Database Copyright © 1990 by Biblesoft, Inc. and TriStar Publishing)
Finally consider how God dealt with Elijah and what he used to bring him back to his serving, obedient mindset (1 Kings 19:11-18). Note the gentleness and mercy of God in dealing with Elijah. Note too how Elijah is willing to serve and obey even during his time of discouragement.
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 (1 Kings 19:11-18).