Life of Elijah

(James 5:17) "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."

This series of lessons is a devotional study on the life of the prophet Elijah. As a man of like passions with us, his life sheds light on the greatness of the God of the Bible, His purposes, and His love and care for His people in a world in desperate need of the saving message of Jesus Christ. The story of Elijah also reflects the need of God's people to walk with Him by faith through the privilege of prayer and the knowledge of His Word.

I. The Man Elijah

II. The Name Elijah

III. The Problem of Elijah: Idolatry / Baalism.

IV. The Prayers of Elijah

V. The Prophet Elijah

VI. The Boldness of Elijah

VII. Elijah at Cherith

VIII. Elijah at Zarephath

Because Elijah was a man like us, he undoubtedly won-dered what God had in store for him when he saw the brook beginning to dry up. Since he was trusting in God, however, he believed and help arrived. "The word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee" (1 Kings 17:8,9). Elijah was to arise, go to Zarephath and dwell there. Only at Zarephath would a widow provide food for him. The word Zarephath means "refining" or "smelting place." The Lord was preparing a clean vessel for the next great step in His plan of deliverance and cleansing for Israel.

IX. Elijah Approaches the Day of His Triumph

X. The Hour of God's Triumph

It had been three long years since Elijah had first stood before King Ahab and pronounced God's judgment upon his kingdom. Tonight we will look at the mighty victory on Mt. Carmel. An altar to Baal had been erected on Mount Carmel. However, long before that one had been erected to the Lord, but for many years it had been in ruins. This place was prominent and accessible. God was about to do something very amazing to prove who He was to a nation that had followed after false gods…He wanted all to see it and learn. Mount Carmel is located on the northwest corner of Palestine. It rises out of the Mediterranean Sea, and the traditional site where Elijah and the priests of Baal held their contest was about 500 feet above the sea. Prominent in that place in Elijah's time was an altar to Baal. Carmel was known as "the place of the burning." Near Mount Carmel ran the river Kishon, which never went dry in its last few miles near the sea.

It is no wonder that the people of Israel at Mount Carmel fell on their faces when the fire came down and said, "The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God" (1 Kings 18:39). The great controversy between Baal and God was now ended. Three and a half years of waiting for the drought to end was now over. They bowed before their God and Creator.

XI. Judgment and Mercy 18:40-46

Since God had answered Elijah's prayer by fire and the people had shown at least a surface repentance, only one more step was necessary before God could send rain. This was the removal of the prophets of Baal from Israel. They had been holding the people in spiritual bondage and were a constant threat to the future development of God's people. The Israelites belonged to God, and the presence among them of priests and prophets of a false religion was an inva-sion of God's territory. To have allowed the prophets of Baal to continue living and exercising all their evil practices would have exposed the Israelites to further corruption. It would have left the impression in the minds of these priests as well as the Israel-ites that the prophets of Baal, though agents of apostasy, were immune from judgment. God said that they were all to be destroyed. Not one of them was to escape.

XII. A Mighty Man Falls

XIII. God's Kindness to Elijah.

XIV. Elijah at Horeb

God uses various instruments to do His work. Hazael, the king of Syria, brought ruthless judgment upon Israel. Jehu became a scourge to the house of Ahab and to the followers of Baal. Elisha, by his use of the Word of God and the power of God, slew the enemies of the Lord and comforted His people. God sometimes uses wicked men to discipline His own children, but when these men overstep the boundaries God has set for them, judgment falls on their heads also. God also reminded Elijah that there were 7,000 persons left who had not bowed to Baal. This was all in God's dealing through the still, small voice of grace. It brought comfort to the prophet's heart. It assured him that the good work he had begun would be consummated under the hand of God and in God's time. Elijah did not see the fruit in his day, but he was promised a fruitful harvest for the future.

XV. Elijah Announces Ahab's Doom 1 Kings 21

Following the appointment of Elisha, five or six years passed before Elijah's ministry was again public. He was not inactive during this period but seems to have been form-ing schools of the prophets, schools in which the Bible was taught to young men who were in turn to be instructors and teachers of the Word of God. Elijah was a spiritual father and the teacher of many of these young servants of God. During this same time, great wars occurred between Israel and Syria. Then one day God again told Elijah to appear before Ahab to announce that monarch's doom.

The translation of Elijah parallels the rapture of the living believers. We will be caught up in the clouds to be with Him. The account of Noah's deliverance is an illustration of those who are saved during the tribulation. They will feel the force of the storms, but are safe within the Ark, Jesus Christ