Icons of the Bible: The Prophet Elijah - "My God is the Lord"
Who was Elijah in the Bible?
The prophet Elijah is one of the most interesting and colorful people in the Bible, and God used him during an important time in Israel’s history to oppose a wicked king and bring revival to the land. Elijah’s ministry marked the beginning of the end of Baal worship in Israel. Elijah’s life was filled with turmoil. At times he was bold and decisive, and at other times fearful and tentative. He alternately demonstrates victory and defeat, followed by recovery. Elijah knew both the power of God and the depths of depression.
Elijah, a prophet of God whose name means “my God is the Lord,” came from Tishbeh in Gilead, but nothing is known of his family or birth. We first meet Elijah in 1 Kings 17:1 when he suddenly appears to challenge Ahab, an evil king who ruled the northern kingdom from 874 to 853 BC. Elijah prophesies a drought to come upon the whole land as consequence for Ahab’s evil (1 Kings 17:1–7). Warned by God, Elijah hides near the brook of Cherith where he is fed by ravens. As the drought and famine in the land deepen, Elijah meets with a widow in a neighboring country, and, through her obedience to Elijah’s request, God provides food enough for Elijah, the woman, and her son. Miraculously, the widow’s barrel of flour and jar of oil never run out (1 Kings 17:8–16). The lesson for the believer is that, if we walk in fellowship with the Lord and obey Him, we will be open to His will. And when we are in God’s will, He fulfills all of our needs, and His mercy to us never runs short.
We next see Elijah as the central character in a face-off with the prophets of the false god Baal on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:17-40). The prophets of Baal call upon their god all day long to rain fire from heaven to no avail. Then Elijah builds an altar of stones, digs a ditch around it, puts the sacrifice on the top of wood and calls for water to be poured over his sacrifice three times. Elijah calls upon God, and God sends fire down from heaven, burns the sacrifice, the wood, and the stones and licks up the water in the ditch. God proved He was more powerful than false gods. It was then that Elijah and the people killed all of the false prophets of Baal, in compliance with God’s command in Deuteronomy 13:5.
After the great victory over the false prophets, rain once again fell on the land (1 Kings 18:41-46). However, in spite of victory, Elijah entered a period of wavering faith and depression (1 Kings 19:1-18). Ahab had told his wife, Jezebel, of God’s display of power. Rather than turn to God, Jezebel vowed to kill Elijah. Hearing of this, Elijah fled to the wilderness, where he prayed for God to take his life. But God refreshed Elijah with food, drink, and sleep instead. Then Elijah took a forty-day journey to Mount Horeb. There Elijah hid in a cave, still feeling sorry for himself and even confessing his belief that he alone was left of the prophets of God. It is then that the LORD instructed Elijah to stand on the mountain as the LORD passed by. There was a great wind, an earthquake, and then fire, but God was not in any of those. Then came a still, small voice in which Elijah heard God and understood Him. God gave Elijah instructions for what to do next, including anointing Elisha to take his place as prophet and assuring Elijah that there were still 7,000 in Israel who had not bowed to Baal. Elijah obeyed God’s commands. Elisha became Elijah’s assistant for some time, and the two continued to deal with Ahab and Jezebel, as well as Ahab’s son and successor, Ahaziah. Rather than die a natural death, Elijah was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:1-11).." from the article:
3 Important Lessons We Can Learn From the Life of Elijah
The stories of the Old Testament are intense. I've been going through the books of Kings for the nth time, and it's wonderful to read a no-holds-barred action-packed account of the power of God moving despite the wickedness of men.
One of the highlights is the story of the prophet Elijah who lived during the rule of one of the vilest duos in Israel's history—Ahab and Jezebel.
Behind the story of Elijah is a message of God's undeniable power even in the midst of the darkness of this world. At that point, Israel had completely deserted God and Elijah was out on a mission to restore that nation's faith in Him.
In the process, Elijah did amazing miracles and went through major trials. These teach us lessons that we can apply into our daily lives.
Here are three important lessons from the life of Elijah that are still true today.
1. God Provides in Unimaginable Ways
Have you ever had a dire need? We all have been there. But in every instance God has proven to be more than able to provide.
We see that same truth in Elijah's life when God brought a famine into the land. 1 Kings 17:6 says, "And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook."
It's hard to imagine that a raven would be a channel of provision. They are scavenging birds and are even seen as unclean in some traditions. Yet God used them to provide for Elijah. God can and will use even the most unimaginable channels to provide for us.
2. God's Power Moves With Us to Bless Others
One particular story that really stands out is the time that Elijah helped a poor widow from Zarephath who had nothing else except a little oil and flour (1 Kings 17:8–16). During that time, a widow would be one of the poorest people in the region who could potentially starve to death.
That was about to happen with this widow who was planning to prepare what would be the last meal for her and her son.
But God intervened through Elijah, showing His power to provide by stretching the provision of the widow so that her oil and flour did not run out for a very long time.
More than just blessing us, He also uses us to be a channel of blessing to others as well. God is not just concerned with the needs of one but of all, and invites us to take part in being God's hands and feet to bring blessing to others.
3. God Will Show Up
What would be one of Elijah's greatest feat was winning the showdown with the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:17-40). Elijah challenged 450 false prophets to prove which gods were real. Elijah of course won the challenge and proved that the God we serve is alive.
God will do anything He can to prove that He is worthy of honour and glory.
But are we ready to portray that? Or are we too busy proving our own honour and glory?
If we put God's glory first, everything else will follow afterwards. The story of Elijah proves that much.' from the article: 3 Important Lessons We Can Learn From the Life of Elijah