Elijah means ‘The Lord is my God’. Elijah was an ordinary man with an extraordinary God. He saw God’s supply as he acted on God’s Word. Elijah received God’s strength as he boldly faced Ahab
(Copied material compiled and adapted from various sources)
ELIJAH is a major character in the Bible.
He lived in the days of the wicked king Ahab, and queen Jezebel, who brought BAAL WORSHIP to Israel.
His name, ELIJAH, means:
‘YAHWEH IS MY GOD’.
We read of him,
in James 5:17-18…
(17) Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
(18) And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
Elijah was ordinary…
- A mere man.
- A human being, just like us.
- Subject to the same PASSIONS and PROBLEMS as we are… Yet a man of PRAYER and of POWER.
Elijah first shows up at 1 Kings 17, as he makes his fearless stand before the wicked king:
1 Kings 17:1-7
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.
- Elijah boldly declared God’s word.
- He told of God’s judgment against the godless king.
- God would hold back the rain at his word.
Next up, God tells Elijah to go into hiding…
I would like to introduce Elijah to you by exploring three themes in his life…
We especially see in these early chapters of his life… the theme of…
In other words, God is our provider. He supplies what we have truly need of.
(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.
God supplies, as we OBEY HIS WORD
It is as we act according to His Word that he will guide and provide.
(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.
It was a hard time for everyone.
Yet Elijah saw God supply his need.
What more could he have asked for?
In this time of drought he had God’s provision, of water, food, bread…
But then came ANOTHER TEST…
(7) And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
He went on down to the brook to get a drink, like he usually did, but it was dry.
The brook had failed.
Elijah’s life was one of TESTS and TROUBLE.
Maybe you can identify with that?
What will you do, WHEN THE BROOK DRIES UP?
- When it seems like hope is lost.
- For Elijah it meant stretching his faith, and
- Leaning harder on God’s providence.
For you also, I can assure you,
GOD WILL SUPPLY. You can trust His supply.
(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.
It was about 100 miles away from the brook – Elijah had to travel right into the heart of Jezebel’s territory.
(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:
Here was this widow.
- She had nothing.
- She and her had been driven to utter desperation.
- They were at the point of death.
Yet God would take care of all of them.
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.
Next, we see that…
God supplies, as we FEAR NOT
Fear is the opposite of faith.
God calls us to trust Him.
(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.
Elijah urged her, fear not.
- He urged her to exercise her faith.
- This is the audacity of faith in the face of extreme circumstances.
I say to you who are in any trouble,
Next, we see that…
God supplies, as we
CLAIM GOD’S PROMISES
His word is filled with many promises.
How many promises? Someone has reckoned 3573 promises.
(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.
It’s been said that ‘What seem to be often OUR WORST TRIALS, are really OUR BEST BLESSINGS.’
This woman in crisis would find GOD’S ABUNDANCE as she ACTED IN FAITH.
(15) And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.
She had thought it was going to be her last meal. Yet she claimed God’s promises.
She had only had enough to make that one last meal, for her and her son.
Her love for her child, and her own hunger, must have made it hard to obey.
But, in faith, she trusted God’s word.
Likewise, God calls us to sacrifice, and leads us to blessing.
God blesses as we act on the Word.
We can claim God’s promises. His Word never fails.
(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.
This woman gave one meal to the prophet, and God sustained her for two years.
She claimed God’s promises. And God provided.
Yet further, and we see this woman’s faith would be tested again…
God supplies, as HIS WORD REVIVES
THE WORD OF LIFE speaks LIFE into our DEADNESS…
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
(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.
The word of the Lord revives… His Word brings LIFE!
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: THE WORDS that I speak unto you, they are SPIRIT, and they are LIFE.
AGAIN, God SUPPLIED her NEED.
In Elijah’s life we see GOD’S SUPPLY…
- As we OBEY HIS WORD
- As we FEAR NOT
- AS we CLAIM GOD’S PROMISES
- As HIS WORD REVIVES.
We’ll pick up the story again, at 1 Kings 18:17… In this chapter of Elijah’s life we see…another big theme. The theme of…
2. GOD’S STRENGTH
1 Kings 18:17
And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?
God strengthens us to FACE UP TO SIN
The Lord strengthened Elijah with holy boldness to address the king again…
(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.
Elijah did not mince his words.
He challenged King Ahab.
Ahab’s idol worship had brought trouble and shame upon Israel.
Elijah called for a contest, a big showdown…
between Elijah and the prophets of Baal.
(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.
(20) So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.
God strengthens us to FOLLOW HIM
God strengthens us to decide to follow Jesus.
(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.
Here Elijah issues A CALL TO DECISION
It’s important that we make the right choice.
There can be no middle ground.
(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.
Elijah was well and truly outnumbered.
We can sometimes feel like we are i a minority. The odds are against us.
(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:
God strengthens us to TRUST HIS POWER
God gives us the strength to trust God to do His work in and through us. Elijah knew that God had to show His power in the situation. This is true in our own lives as well. God strengthens us to trust His power to work.
(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.
God strengthens us to REPAIR THE ALTAR
When God strengthens us He puts us to work… He calls us to action… And it starts at THE ALTAR. When we come to rely upon Him we surrender ourselves to Him, and we lay all on the altar and dedicate our hearts to Him.
And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.
The altar was BROKEN DOWN through neglect and carelessness. What of our lives? Have we neglected the place of worship? Of dedication? Has the dust and cobwebs covered your altar?
I think one of the reasons we don’t see much FIRE today is because the altar of the Lord is broken down and we need to rebuild it. We need to restore our personal prayer lives, and resort unto God.
WE MUST REPAIR THE BROKEN ALTAR.
Then our God will surely RESPOND, WITH His CONSUMING FIRE.
(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.
God strengthens us to sacrifice… Water was in short supply. It would have been a costly act. God strengthens us to be His living sacrifices, unto His praise.
(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. God can make a fire with wet wood. God can use you and me, despite our inadequacies.
(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.
God strengthened Elijah’s faith. He strengthened him to pray in faith and to trust Him.
In Elijah’s life we see much evidence of GOD’S STRENGTH at work in man’s weakness…
GOD strengthens us also,
- To FACE UP TO SIN
- To FOLLOW HIM
- To TRUST HIS POWER, and
- To REPAIR THE ALTAR, where He will do His mighty work in us.
THIRDLY, I reckon that in Elijah’s life we see much evidence of…
3. GOD’S SPIRIT
Elijah passed on his mantle (his cloak) to his younger disciple, Elisha, his successor, and it reads in
2 Kings 2:15 of how…
The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha…
God’s Spirit was evident in Elijah’s life…
God’s Spirit is at work, as we see THE FIRE OF THE LORD FALL
(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. The fire came down. It was not a man made fire worked up from below. It was heaven sent fire. The fire of the Lord.
The Bible relates the Holy Spirit with fire.
For example, we are told not to quench the Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19). At Pentecost the fire fell, in the form of cloven tongues of fire upon each of them. In Isaiah 4:4 God’s Spirit is described as the Spirit of burning.
(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.
SIN must be REMOVED FROM THE CAMP.
God’s Spirit does a purifying work. Our Lord will baptise with the Holy Spirit and with fire. There is a refining work…
God’s Spirit is at work as we see THE RAIN FALL
1 Kings 18:41
And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.
Verse 45 says there was A GREAT RAIN…
The rain was a sign of DELIVERANCE and of SPIRITUAL BLESSING.
God’s Spirit is likened to rain. He does a cleansing work. His Spirit is poured out.
For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.
(39) In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
(38) He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
(39) (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
In Chapter 19 we read how Jezebel heard that Elijah had put her prophets to the sword and she wanted to kill him.
Elijah quickly went from VICTORY to DESPAIR. He shows his all-too-human-side again. Which gives us hope when we face trials, because Elijah did as well.
(3) And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.
Elijah was now a hunted man, on the run from Jezebel.
(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.
Elijah knew THE DEPTHS OF DEPRESSION.
He knew what it was to suffer times of DISAPPOINTMENT and to FEEL all ALONE.
Elijah was exhausted.
- He felt like he had failed.
- He wanted to die.
- Thankfully, God didn’t answer THAT prayer.
God’s Spirit is at work, as we see GOD’S TOUCH
When we arrive at the place of despair… God has not abandoned us. He is there with us.
God will touch us.
He will touch us at our point of need.
His arm is not shortened that it cannot save.
He reaches out still.
God can touch us when we feel like Elijad did as he lay under the juniper tree wishing he was dead.
(5) And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. If you are under the juniper tree, do not despair, God will sustain you…
(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.
(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?
God nourishes godliness in us in those times of depression and of affliction. He is at work.
Failure doesn’t mean defeat.
- God is taking us through a battle to another victory.
- Just rely on God’s Spirit so you can see it through.
God’s Spirit is at work, as we see GOD’S COMFORT
(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.
Elijah was at the end of himself, yet here was where he was able to find God’s comfort.
How we all need comfort, from time to time! As we rest on Him, we find the comfort of the scriptures that we can apply to our lives, and the God of all comfort.
The Holy Spirit is the Comforter.
He comes alongside to help.
Where will He be found?
(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:
God’s Spirit is at work as we hear
THE STILL SMALL VOICE
and after the fire a still small voice.
God is present in the quiet place. He reveals Himself in the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit, if we would but tune our ear to hear Him.
Tune in and you will receive His message. He is still transmitting to planet earth. The astronomers are listening for radio waves… There definitely are extra terrestrial communication messages, if only we will receive them. The still, small voice still speaks to hearts and consciences when God opens eyes once blinded in unbelief.
(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. The Lord God gave Elijah further instruction and then told him,
(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.
Sometimes we can feel all alone.
It can maybe feel like we are all alone in an idolatrous world.
You can, as Elijah’s name means, say ‘My God is Yah’.
You don’t have to succumb to the prevailing culture.
And though it may seem like you’re alone, God is with you, and there are others who also have not bowed their knees to the popular religion of the day.
At Corinth the Lord encouraged Paul in a vision, and said, ‘I have much people in this city’ (Acts 18:10).
God’s Spirit was evident in Elijah’s life. And even at the end of his ministry he was transported away on a “chariot of fire” (2 Kings 2:11).
Yet ELIJAH was a man just like us.
We can take heart from his trials and his triumphs.
He has set us an example to follow…
Where is the God of Elijah?
He is still with us.
Elisha took the mantle that fell from Elijah… He prayed for a double portion of his spirit.
2 Kings 2:14
And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah?
The God of Elijah is with us.
With us still.
When you encounter trials and tests as Elijah did, you can
We can know, GOD SUPPLIES:
- As we OBEY HIS WORD
- As we FEAR NOT
- As we CLAIM GOD’S PROMISES
- As HIS WORD REVIVES.
We can know, GOD strengthens us,
- To FACE UP TO SIN
- To FOLLOW HIM
- To TRUST HIS POWER, and
- To REPAIR THE ALTAR, where He will do His mighty work in us.
We can know GOD’S SPIRIT is at work…
- The fire of the Lord – His refining
- The rain – His cleansing
- His touch – His aid
- His comfort – when we feel alone, and…
- His still small voice – if we will but tune in…