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A Simple Overview Of Elijah
by Rik Charbonneaux
9/18/2017 / Christian Living
Elijah - A Prophet Of God
If you have heard of and wondered about the God of the Jews and Christians, you might really enjoy hearing about the life of the prophet Elijah , a man that God chose to speak to Israel and turn them and their kings from the pagan worship that they were continually returning to, time and time again. If you are just not very likely to read the Bible at all, please take the time to read the following article about Elijah and of his loyalty to God. If you might be interested in reading more about Elijah, then read of him in the Book of 1st Kings of the Holy Bible.
"A man like unto you and I" -James 5:17 NIV
Elijah the Tishbite was an impressive Old Testament figure of powerful stature and was a true and dynamic prophet of the Lord. His name meant "My God is Yahweh", and he was certainly given much by God to battle and counter the paganism worship of his day.
"As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall be no dew or rain these years, but according to my word." 1 Kings 17:1b KJV
We first read of him when he comes to the attention of Ahab, the king of Northern Israel who pagan worship efforts did much to displease the Lord. Elijah was a dynamic prophet of the Lord and he told Ahab that neither rain nor dew would fall on Northern Israel until Elijah himself prayed for it to come. The message was the consequence of Ahab pagan worship and it enraged Ahab to hear it. The Lord told Elijah to immediately retreat to the brook called Cherith and he would have safe drinking water from the brook and that ravens would bring him food twice a day. When Elijah had fully rested, the brook had dried for the lack of rain and the Lord told him to go to Zarephath and find a widow that the Lord had chosen to sustain him.
When he met the widow, he asked for water and a small cake to eat. The widow told him that she had just enough meal to make a cake for her and her son to eat, after which they would then starve to death together. Elijah told her that it she would make the cake for him, her oil and meal vessels would always hold enough to sustain them until the rains came. She did and Elijah's prophesy proved true and they ate many days as a result. When the widow's son would later die unexpectedly, Elijah would stretch out upon the boy and asked the Lord to restore the young man to life, and the Lord did so. This miracle performed by the Lord verified to the widow that Elijah was a man of God whom the Lord spoke through.
'If the Lord be God, follow him; but if Baal, the follow him. And the people answered him not a word." 1 Kings 18:21b KJV
With no rainfall, there was a great famine in Samaria and both king Ahab and his governor Obadiah went separately out into the country to search for all available grass suitable for his horses to survive. Elijah had been told by the Lord to go to Ahab and that the Lord would send rain. After meeting with Obadiah, Elijah met with Ahab and told him of his terrible pagan worship of Baal and how that had greatly displeased the Lord. He then challenged Ahab to gather all of Northern Israel together at Mount Carmel, along with four hundred and fifty of Baal's priests and another four hundred of Queen Jezebel's false prophets for Elijah to show that the powerful Lord God of Israel is the only One to be worshiped. Ahab commanded these things be so.
When the Baal priests could not call upon the power of Baal in front of the people to bring fire down upon their sacrifice, Elijah mocked them and encouraged their further failure until they gave up past midday. Elijah had told the people earlier that the god who responded with fire would be the God to be worshiped by all of Northern Israel and they agreed. When it was his turn to offer the sacrifice, he took one stone for every tribe of Israel  and built an alter with them and then had a deep trench dug around it. He then ordered an extreme amount of water to be dumped upon the sacrifice, filling the trenches. At the time of the evening offering, Elijah prayed aloud to the Lord that He send down his fire to consume the sacrifice and show the people that He was the true God and the God of the Covenant that they should worship only, and to stop any further worship of Baal. When the Lord sent down his divine fire t consume the sacrifice, it consumed everything, including the stones and all of the water and dust. The people then proclaimed the Lord God of Israel to be their one and only God. Elijah then led the people in taking the Baal prophets down to the brook named Kishon to slay them all. Then, as God had told him to do, Elijah told Ahab that the king should get going for home because there was rain coming. Going up to the top of Mount Carmel, Elijah prayed and had his servant look to the sea seven times, after which he saw a small cloud. When the storm was upon them, Ahab rode in his chariot back to Jerreel, and Elijah was strong enough to run as an outrunner in from of the chariot for the almost 17 miles that was covered. Although an outrunner was a highly privileged position, especially for the king's chariot, Elijah was doing this in being more truly concerned about the Lord's testimony and it's effect upon the king's soul.
"..and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?" 1 Kings 19:9b KJV
When Queen Jezebel was told of the slaying of her prophets by Elijah and the people, she wanted him dead before another day passed. Elijah left his servant and went a day into the wilderness and set under a broom tree, afraid and wishing that he was dead. An angel of the Lord told him to rise up and eat what he had brought and after resting again, the angle gave him more food to eat. Elijah was energized by eating this second serving and immediately departed to walk a forty day journey Mount Horeb, the mountain of God. Upon arriving at the mount, he stayed in a cave and the word of the Lord came to him saying: "What doest thou here, Elijah?" 1 Kings 19:9b KJV. Elijah said he had loyal to his Lord, slayed many of Baal's prophets and now all wanted to kill him. The Lord told Elijah to stand at the front of the cave and that He would pass in front of him. Shortly a strong and violent wind passed before Elijah, but the Lord was not in the wind. Soon an earthquake shook the mountain, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. Fire came before Elijah, but the Lord was not in the fire either. Finally Elijah heard a still small voice and instantly knew that the Lord was passing before him and he mantled his head and went further out at the opening of the cave. A small voice then said: "What doest thou here, Elijah?". Elijah repeated what he had said earlier to the Lord and God told him to go the wilderness of Damascus, to anoint Hazael to be king over Syria and to anoint Jehu to be king over Israel and to appoint Elisha as a prophet of God. In response to Elijah's statement that he was the only one left who remained loyal to the Lord, God told Elijah that he still had seven thousand left in Israel who were loyal as well. Upon finding Elisha in a field plowing, Elijah threw his mantle upon Elisha and thereby formally summoning him to the Lord's prophetic service. Elisha immediately burnt the farming tools and animals he was using and offered them in sacrifice to the Lord and then followed Elijah as his mentor.
"Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which is in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he has gone down to possess it." 1 Kings 21:18 KJV
The Lord spoke to Elijah to address kind Ahab about his continued ungodliness [which included killing a vineyard owner to possess the vineyard] before the Lord, which included offering worship and human sacrifice to a false god and most recently, of attempting to take over the vineyard of a man whom Queen Jezebel had instigated others to stone to death under false witness. Elijah told Ahab what was to happen as a result of all of this: that Jazebel would be killed and eaten by dogs and that Ahab would die and his blood would be lapped up by dogs as was the case with the blood of the vineyard owner who Jezebel requested to be murdered, and that Ahab's house and descendants would end. Further, Elijah told Ahab that Queen Jezebel would die and her flesh would be eaten by dog as well. Upon hearing all that Elijah said, Ahab was shaken with guilt and put sackcloth on his person in an attitude of repentance. The Lord took notice of Ahab's sorrow for what he had done and He told Elijah that he would allow Ahab to live longer and pass on the destruction of Ahab's house and descendants to his son so Ahab would not have to see it happen. As the Lord had foretold through Elijah, Ahab would later be fatally wounded in in battle and the blood from his wounds that collected on the floor of his chariot would be lapped up by dogs in Samaria.
"Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty." 2 Kings 1:9a KJV
When King Ahab died, Ahaziah became the king of Samaria. He had become seriously injured in a fall and was sending his messengers inquire of the god the Ekron as to whether or not he would survive this injury. An angel of the Lord had appeared to Elijah and told him to go and meet these messengers and to tell them: "Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that you go to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron?", and then to say: "..Thus saith the Lord, thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shall surely die." Elijah did as instructed and when the messengers went directly back to the king and told him this, he was enraged and knew it was Elijah the Tishbite from their description of his attire being animal skins and a leather belt. Ahaziah wanted Elijah brought before him and dispatched fifty men to do so. Upon arriving to capture Elijah, the captain of fifty called him "Man of God" and demanded his surrender. Elijah told him that if a true man of God would bring fire down upon the captain and his fifty men to consume them, and then did exactly that. Ahaziah sent another captain with fifty men and Elijah responded with the same action of God sending down fire to destroy them. Further enraged, Ahaziah sent another captain and fifty men, and this captain asked Elijah to spare them. The angel of the Lord told Elijah to do so and to go with these men back to the king. Elijah personally gave the message to the king about Ahaziah's impending death, and Ahiziah did shortly die of his injuries as was foretold.
"And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal." 2 Kings 2:1 KJV
The Lord told Elijah to go to Bethel to meet with the sons of the prophets there, and he asked Elisha to stay behind. Elisha either knew or suspected something was going to be happening to Elijah that would change their situation drastically because he refused to part from Elijah. After they went to Bethel together, the Lord sent Elijah to Jericho to meet with the sons of the prophets there and again Elisha refused to part company with Elijah. From there Elijah was to go to the Jordan at the command of God and Elisha again went with him rather than wait in Jericho. Fifty of the sons of prophets from Jericho also accompanied Elijah and Elisha and halted short of the Jordan as Elijah and Elisha went on. Upon reaching the Jordan, Elijah took his mantle and struck the waters of the Jordan with it, immediately separating the waters and they both crossed over on dry ground like Israel did at the crossing of the Red Sea. Elijah asked if there was anything he could do for Elisha before the Lord took him up to heaven. Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah's spirit be put upon him and with that the Lord's wondrous Chariot of Fire arrived with it's Horses of Fire and took Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind.
Christians believe that Elijah appeared upon the Mount of Transfiguration [Mt Tabor] along with Moses at the event of transfiguration of Lord Jesus before Peter, James and John in the presence of the Lord God and of the Holy Spirit. [Matthew 17:3 KJV]. Some also believe that Elijah and Moses will be the two witnesses of Chapter 11 of the Book of Revelation.
Elijah's personal description has well received by all ages: very athletic, extremely loyal to our God and he always said what he meant. Although he allowed fear to interrupt his prophetic mission one time, he always responded to God's corrective explanations and then would go forth both fearless and revitalized, always believing that God's action would follow. He was a man of God and was one who could pray for rain and absolutely expect it to happen, as it served to gain the attention of kings and nations. James called Elisha the Tishbite "a human being, just like us" [James 5:17 NIT], and there is a little of that "Elijah" kind of personality in all of us during personal trials.
Rik Charbonneaux is a retired NE Iowan who loves all of God's creatures.
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