Elijah the Faithful Servant
Sermon: Elijah the Faithful Servant Feb.11, 2007
PRAY LIKE ELIJAH
James 5:17 Elijah was a man just like us. [with a nature like ours; as human as we are] He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops
Read 1 Kings 17-18
PRAYERS FOR THE SALVATION OF OTHERS
1 Kings 17:20-22
Read Colossians 2:13; Ephesians 2:1-5
PRAY FOR PEOPLE TO COME BACK TO THE LORD
1 Kings 18:36-38
Read Malachi 4:5-6
“END OF THE ROAD” PRAYERS
1 Kings 19:4
Read Genesis 21:16; 2 Corinthians 1:8-10
PRAYERS THAT REVEAL GOD’S POWER
2 Kings 1:10,12,14
Read 2 Kings 2:8; Numbers 16:28-35
MOUNTAIN TOP PRAYERS
Read Exodus 33:11
Prédica: Elías el Siervo Fiel
ORA COMO ELIAS
Santiago 5:17 (NBLH) Elías era un hombre [con debilidades como las nuestras].de pasiones semejantes a las nuestras, y oró fervientemente para que no lloviera, y no llovió sobre la tierra por tres años y seis meses.
Lee 1 Reyes 17-18
ORA POR LA SALVACION DE OTROS
1 Reyes 17:20-22
Lee Colosenses 2:13; Efesios 2:1-5
ORA POR LOS DESCARRIADOS PARA QUE REGRESEN A CRISTO
1 Reyes 18:36-38
Lee Malaquías 4:5-6
LAS ORACIONES DEL QUE YA NO TIENE FUERZAS
1 Reyes 19:4
Lee Génesis 21:16; 2 Corintios 1:8-10
ORACIONES QUE MANIFIESTAN EL PODER DE DIOS
2 Reyes 1:10,12,14
Lee 2 Reyes 2:8; Números 16:28-35
LAS ORACIONES CARA A CARA
Lee Exodo 33:11
5 Types of Elijah Prayers:
James 5:17 Elijah was a man just like us. [with a nature like ours; as human as we are] He prayed earnestly [in prayer he prayed” (proseuchē prosēyxato), that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops Elías era hombre[como nosotros], sujeto a pasiones semejantes a las nuestras, y oró fervientemente para que no lloviera, y no llovió sobre la tierra por tres años y seis meses. 18Y otra vez oró, y el cielo dio lluvia, y la tierra produjo su
PRAY LIKE ELIJAH…..cause Elijah was just like you….cause Elijah’s God is your God
1Kg 17:1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word."
1Kg 18:1 After a long time, in the third year, the word of the LORD came to Elijah: "Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land." 41 And Elijah said to Ahab, "Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain." 42 So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. 43 "Go and look toward the sea," he told his servant. And he went up and looked. "There is nothing there," he said. Seven times Elijah said, "Go back." 44 The seventh time the servant reported, "A cloud as small as a man's hand is rising from the sea." So Elijah said, "Go and tell Ahab, `Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.'" 45 Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel.
Luke 4:25-26 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah's time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. NBLH "Pero en verdad les digo, que muchas viudas había en Israel en los días de Elías, cuando el cielo fue cerrado por tres años y seis meses y cuando hubo gran hambre sobre toda la tierra; sin embargo, a ninguna de ellas fue enviado Elías, sino a una mujer viuda en Sarepta, en la tierra de Sidón.
Pray things that are God’s idea, not yours……….Ask yourself: is this God’s idea or mine?
1Jn.5:14-15 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him. NBLH Esta es la confianza que tenemos delante de El, que si pedimos cualquier cosa conforme a Su voluntad, El nos oye. Y si sabemos que El nos oye en cualquier cosa que pidamos, sabemos que tenemos las peticiones que Le hemos hecho.
He was not perfect, Elijah became afraid & discouraged & ran away. But he was a righteous man
God’s promises of answered prayer are for all His children, not just for the spiritual elite
Many people do not pray in their prayers. They just lazily say religious words, and their hearts are not in their prayers
1Kg 17:20-22 Then he cried out to the LORD, "O LORD my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?" 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD, "O LORD my God, let this boy's life return to him!" 22 The LORD heard Elijah's cry, and the boy's life returned to him, and he lived.
NBLH Y clamó al SEÑOR: "Oh SEÑOR, Dios mío, ¿has traído también mal a la viuda con quien estoy hospedado haciendo morir a su hijo?" (21) Entonces se tendió tres veces sobre el niño, y clamó al SEÑOR: "Oh SEÑOR, Dios mío, Te ruego que el alma de este niño vuelva a él." (22) El SEÑOR escuchó la voz de Elías, y el alma del niño volvió a él y revivió.
#1 Prayers for Salvation: ………for dead people to come to life
Col 2:13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, (DHH) Ustedes, en otro tiempo, estaban muertos espiritualmente acausa de sus pecados y por no haberse despojado de su naturaleza pecadora; pero ahora Dios les ha dado vida juntamente con Cristo, en quien nos ha perdonado todos los pecados.
Eph 2:1-5 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. NBLH Y El les dio vida a ustedes, que estaban muertos en (a causa de) sus delitos y pecados, (2) en los cuales anduvieron en otro tiempo según la corriente (la época) de este mundo, conforme al príncipe de la potestad del aire, el espíritu que ahora opera en los hijos de desobediencia. (3) Entre ellos también todos nosotros en otro tiempo vivíamos en las pasiones de nuestra carne, satisfaciendo los deseos de la carne y de la mente (de los pensamientos), y éramos por naturaleza hijos de ira, lo mismo que los demás. (4) Pero Dios, que es rico en misericordia, por causa del gran amor con que nos amó, (5) aun cuando estábamos muertos en (a causa de) nuestros delitos, nos dio vida juntamente con Cristo (por gracia ustedes han sido salvados),
MAKE A LIST OF ALL UNSAVED FAMILY MEMBERS……and start praying like Elijah!
1. 2. 3 4. 5.
|9 Resuscitations From the Dead|
|Widow of Zarephath’s son, raised by Elijah||1 Kin. 17:22|
|Shunammite woman’s son, raised by Elisha||2 Kin. 4:34,35|
|Man raised when he came into contact with the bones of Elisha||2 Kin. 13:20,21|
|Widow of Nain’s son, raised by Jesus||Luke 7:14,15|
|Jairus’ daughter, raised by Jesus||Luke 8:52–56|
|Lazarus of Bethany, brother of Mary and Martha, raised by Jesus||John 11|
|Dorcas, raised by Peter||Acts 9:40|
|Eutychus, raised by Paul||Acts 20:9–12|
|Dead raised at Jesus crucifixtion||Matt.27:52-53|
1Kg 18:36-38 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again." 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.NBLH Y a la hora de ofrecerse el sacrificio de la tarde , el profeta Elías se acercó y dijo: "Oh SEÑOR, Dios de Abraham, de Isaac y de Israel, que se sepa hoy que Tú eres Dios en Israel, que yo soy Tu siervo y que he hecho todas estas cosas por palabra Tuya. (37) "Respóndeme, oh SEÑOR, respóndeme, para que este pueblo sepa que Tú, oh SEÑOR, eres Dios, y que has hecho volver sus corazones." (38) Entonces cayó el fuego del SEÑOR, y consumió el holocausto, la leña, las piedras y el polvo, y secó el agua de la zanja.
1Kin 18:21 Elijah went before the people and said, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." But the people said nothing. (NBLH) Elías se acercó a todo el pueblo y dijo: "¿Hasta cuándo vacilarán entre dos opiniones? Si el SEÑOR es Dios, síganlo; y si Baal, síganlo a él." Pero el pueblo no le respondió ni una palabra.
#2 Prayers for wayward Hearts to return to God…….….why did they leave Him???
Mal 4:5-6 See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great & dreadful day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse."
NBLH "Yo les envío al profeta Elías antes que venga el día del SEÑOR, día grande y terrible. "El hará volver el corazón de los padres hacia los hijos, y el corazón de los hijos hacia los padres, no sea que Yo venga y hiera la tierra con maldición (destrucción total)."
Joshua 24:15 "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (NBLH) "Y si no les parece bien servir al SEÑOR, escojan hoy a quién han de servir: si a los dioses que sirvieron sus padres, que estaban al otro lado del río, o a los dioses de los Amorreos en cuya tierra habitan. Pero yo y mi casa, serviremos al SEÑOR."
Exod 32:26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, "Whoever is for the LORD, come to me!" And all the sons of Levi gathered together to him. (NBLH) se paró Moisés a la puerta del campamento, y dijo: "El que esté por el SEÑOR, venga a mí." Y se juntaron a él todos los hijos de Leví.
Joel 2:13 Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. (NBLH) [Romped] Rasguen su corazón y no sus vestidos." Vuelvan ahora al SEÑOR su Dios, Porque El es compasivo y clemente, Lento para la ira, abundante en misericordia, Y se arrepiente de infligir el mal. [cambia de parecer y no castiga]
1Kg 19:4 while he himself went a day's journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." (NBLH) y anduvo por el desierto un día de camino, y vino y se sentó bajo un arbusto (enebro); pidió morirse y dijo: "Basta ya, SEÑOR, toma mi vida porque yo no soy mejor que mis padres."
#3: `End of the Road Prayers (surrender, discouraged) ….throw in towel prayers…...dead end
Like Job & Jeremiah & Moses & Hagar (Job 6:8; Numb.11:10f; Jer.20:14f; Gen.21)
19:10 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."
19:14 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."
Rom 11:2 God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don't you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah--how he appealed to God against Israel: 3 "Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me"? 4 And what was God's answer to him? "I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal." 5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.
2Cor.1:8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
THANK GOD that he hasn’t answered all your prayers the way you wanted
His expectations weren’t fulfilled, so he considered himself a failure.
But the Lord rarely allows His servants to see all the good they have done, because we walk by faith and not by sight,
When God’s servants get out of God’s will, they’re liable to do all sorts of foolish things and fail in their strongest points. When Abraham fled to Egypt, he failed in his faith, which was his greatest strength (Gen. 12:10ff). David’s greatest strength was his integrity, and that’s where he failed when he started lying and scheming during the Bathsheba episode (2 Sam. 11–12). Moses was the meekest of men (Num. 12:3), yet he lost his temper and forfeited the privilege of entering the Promised Land (Num. 20:1–13). Peter was a courageous man, yet his courage failed and he denied Christ (Mark 14:66–72).
2Kg 1:10 Elijah answered the captain, "If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!" Then fire fell from heaven and consumed the captain and his men. Also v.12-14 (NBLH) Elías respondió al capitán de cincuenta: "Si yo soy hombre de Dios, que descienda fuego del cielo y te consuma a ti y a tus cincuenta." Entonces descendió fuego del cielo, y lo consumió a él y a sus cincuenta.
#4 Prayers that show God’s power…….Prayers of Validation…..…Proof prayers
2Kin 2:8 Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The [Jordan river] water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground. Cf Joshua 3-4 another miraculous crossing of the Jordan River (NBLH) Entonces Elías tomó su manto, lo dobló y golpeó las aguas, y éstas se dividieron a uno y a otro lado, y los dos pasaron por tierra seca.
Numb.16:28-35 Then Moses said, "This is how you will know that the LORD has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea: If these men die a natural death and experience only what usually happens to men, then the LORD has not sent me. But if the LORD brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have treated the LORD with contempt." As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah's men and all their possessions. They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, "The earth is going to swallow us too!" And fire came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.
HAVE FAITH IN GOD when you pray
Matt 17:20 He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (NBLH) Y El les dijo: "Por la poca fe de ustedes; porque en verdad les digo que si tienen fe como un grano de mostaza, dirán a este monte: 'Pásate de aquí allá,' y se pasará; y nada les será imposible.
Matt 21:21 Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. (NBLH) Jesús les respondió: "En verdad les digo que si tienen fe y no dudan, no sólo harán lo de la higuera, sino que aun si dicen a este monte: 'Quítate y échate al mar,' así sucederá.
Matt 17:3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. (RV60) Y he aquí les aparecieron Moisés y Elías, hablando con él.
#5 Mountain Top Prayers / face to face prayers
Exod 33:11 The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent. (NBLH) Y el SEÑOR acostumbraba hablar con Moisés cara a cara, como habla un hombre con su amigo. Cuando Moisés regresaba al campamento, su joven ayudante Josué, hijo de Nun, no se apartaba de la tienda.
Numb 12:8 With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?" (NBLH) Cara a cara hablo con él, Abiertamente y no en dichos oscuros, Y él contempla la imagen del SEÑOR. ¿Por qué, pues, no temieron Hablar contra Mi siervo, contra Moisés?"
Deut 34:10 Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, (NBLH) Desde entonces no ha vuelto a surgir en Israel un profeta como Moisés, a quien el SEÑOR conocía cara a cara,
1Thess 5:17 pray continually (w/o ceasing)….PRAY LIKE ELIJAH
Mal 4:5 See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great & dreadful day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse."
Mal 3:1 "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty.
Luke 1:17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
John 1:21 They asked him, "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" He answered, "No."
Matt 11:10 This is the one about whom it is written: "`I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.'
Luke 9:7-8 Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed, because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, 8 others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life.
Matt 11:14 And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.
Matt 16:14 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
Matt 17:3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. 4 Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters--one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah."
Matt.17:10 The disciples asked him, "Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?" 11 Jesus replied, "To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands." 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.
Matt 27:47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, "He's calling Elijah."
// Lk.7:27 This is the one about whom it is written: "`I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.'
// Mk.9:28 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets."
// Lk.9:19 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life."
// Mark 9: 3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4 And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5 Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters--one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." 6 (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)
// Lk.9:29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, 31 appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, "Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters--one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." (He did not know what he was saying.)
// Mk.9:11 And they asked him, "Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?" 12 Jesus replied, "To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected? 13 But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him."
// Mark 15:35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, "Listen, he's calling Elijah."
1Kin 19:1 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.
1Kin 21:17 Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite:
2Kin 1:3 But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, "Go up and meet the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, `Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?'
2Kin 2:1 When the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal.
2Kin 3:11 But Jehoshaphat asked, "Is there no prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of the LORD through him?" An officer of the king of Israel answered, "Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah."
2Kin 9:36 They went back and told Jehu, who said, "This is the word of the LORD that he spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite: On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs will devour Jezebel's flesh.
2Kin 10:10 Know then, that not a word the LORD has spoken against the house of Ahab will fail. The LORD has done what he promised through his servant Elijah."
2Chr 21:12-15 Jehoram received a letter from Elijah the prophet, which said: "This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: `You have not walked in the ways of your father Jehoshaphat or of Asa king of Judah.
God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don't you know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah--how he appealed to God against Israel:
Rom.11:2 * appeal = 1793 ἐντυγχάνω [entugchano /en·toong·khan·o/] v. From 1722 and 5177; TDNT 8:242; TDNTA 1191; GK 1961; Five occurrences; AV translates as “make intercession” four times, and “deal” once. 1 to light upon a person or a thing, fall in with, hit upon, a person or a thing. 2 to go to or meet a person, esp. for the purpose of conversation, consultation, or supplication. 3 to pray, entreat. 4 make intercession for any one.
Rom 8:27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.
Rom 8:34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Heb 7:25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
Acts 25:24 Festus said: "King Agrippa, and all who are present with us, you see this man! The whole Jewish community has petitioned me about him in Jerusalem and here in Caesarea, shouting that he ought not to live any longer.
a man of like feeling” or “of similar suffering” (homoiopathēs; cf. kakopathei in vv. 10, 13). Elijah knew all the frailties of human nature but “in prayer he prayed” (proseuchē prosēyxato), that is, he prayed earnestly. .
La oración eficaz, la que produce milagros, no es un privilegio de unos pocos, como los apóstoles y los profetas. Todos los creyentes pueden orar «unos por otros» (v. 16) con los mismos resultados.
James brings his discussion on prayer to a conclusion by turning to Scripture. He refers to the prophet Elijah and presents his prayer life as an example to his readers. Out of numerous names of people who are known as prayer warriors (compare I Sam. 12:23), James chooses that of Elijah. In the first century he seems to have been credited with having superhuman attributes. The Jews held Elijah in high esteem, as we learn from the New Testament. They regarded him as the forerunner of the Messiah, as the prophet Malachi had prophesied, and expected his return (4:5). Moreover, the name of Elijah is prominent in all four Gospels.
a. James says, “Elijah was a man just like us” (Acts 14:15). With that remark he intimates that the Old Testament prophet was an ordinary human being like anyone else; he had to cope with fears, periods of depression, and physical limitations (I Kings 19:1–9). But James also discloses that we, like Elijah, are able to avail ourselves of the power of prayer.
b. “He prayed earnestly that it would not rain.” We infer from I Kings 18:42 that Elijah prayed for rain, but we find no indications anywhere that relate to Elijah’s prayer for drought. We assume that for this information James relied on a Jewish oral tradition.
c. “And it did not rain in the land for three and a half years.” We encounter the same thought in the sermon Jesus delivered in his hometown synagogue in Nazareth: “I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land” (Luke 4:25).
From what source did Jesus and James receive the information on the duration of the drought? The Old Testament record shows only that “in the third year” of the drought God told Elijah to go to Ahab (I Kings 18:1). That is not the same as three years and a half. From Jewish sources we learn that the expression three and a half years is an idiom which, because of frequent usage, came to mean “for quite some time.” Therefore, we ought to take the expression figuratively, not literally. Furthermore, the Jewish custom of counting part of a unit of time as a full unit sheds additional light on our understanding of the text. A striking example, of course, is the duration of Jesus’ death and burial (from late afternoon on Friday until early Sunday morning). Yet this period is counted as three days and three nights (Matt. 12:40). Similarly, the time of the famine during the days of Elijah may not have been exactly three and a half years.
d. “Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” Man is able to do amazing things but he cannot change the weather. Nevertheless, James presents the prophet Elijah as a man who, through prayer, influenced the weather. The prophet assumed a posture that indicates he prayed earnestly and presumably for some time (I Kings 18:42–44). As a result of Elijah’s prayer the drought ended. God listened to the prayer of his servant, ended the dry spell, and gave abundant rain to produce an eventual harvest sufficient for man and beast.
προσευχῇ προσηύξατο—literally “he prayed in prayer,” this verb in the aorist middle indicative is preceded by a noun in the dative—a dative of manner. The construction is “like the Hebrew infinitive absolute which is reproduced by the Greek instrumental” (dative). The translation of this particular dative is adverbial to express the intensity of the verb: “he prayed earnestly.”
* James cited Elijah as an example of a “righteous man” whose prayers released power. “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).
The background of this incident is found in 1 Kings 17–18. Wicked King Ahab and Jezebel, his queen, had led Israel away from the Lord and into the worship of Baal. God punished the nation by holding back the rain that they needed (Deut. 28:12, 23). For three and one half years, the heavens were as brass and the earth unable to produce the crops so necessary for life.
Then Elijah challenged the priests of Baal on Mt. Carmel. All day long the priests cried out to their god, but no answer came. At the time of the evening sacrifice, Elijah repaired the altar and prepared the sacrifice. He prayed but once, and fire came from heaven to consume the sacrifice. He had proven that Jehovah was the true God. But the nation still needed rain. Elijah went to the top of Carmel and fell down before the Lord in prayer. He prayed and sent his servant seven times to see if there was evidence of rain; and the seventh time his servant saw a little cloud. Before long, there was a great rain, and the nation was saved. Do we need “showers of blessing” today? We certainly do! “But Elijah was a special prophet of God,” we might argue. “We can expect God to answer his prayers in a wonderful way.” “Elijah was a man just like us,” stated James (5:17). He was not perfect; in fact, right after his victory on Mt. Carmel, Elijah became afraid and discouraged and ran away. But he was a “righteous man,” that is, obedient to the Lord and trusting Him. God’s promises of answered prayer are for all His children, not just for ones we may call the spiritual elite. Elijah prayed in faith, for God told him He would send the rain (1 Kings 18:1). “Prayer,” said Robert Law, “is not getting man’s will done in heaven. It’s getting God’s will done on earth.” You cannot separate the Word of God and prayer, for in His Word He gives us the promises that we claim when we pray. Elijah was not only believing in his praying, but he was persistent. “He prayed... and he prayed again” (James 5:17–18). On Mt. Carmel, Elijah continued to pray for rain until his servant reported “a cloud the size of a man’s hand.” Too many times we fail to get what God promises because we stop praying. It is true that we are not heard “for our much praying” (Matt. 6:7); but there is a difference between vain repetitions and true believing persistence in prayer. Our Lord prayed three times in the Garden, and Paul prayed three times that his thorn in the flesh might be taken from him. Elijah was determined and concerned in his praying. “He prayed earnestly” (James 5:17). The literal Greek reads “and he prayed in prayer.” Many people do not pray in their prayers. They just lazily say religious words, and their hearts are not in their prayers. A church member was “praying around the world” in a prayer meeting, and one of the men present was growing tired of the speech. Finally the man cried out, “Ask Him something!” That is what prayer is all about: “Ask Him something!” Prayer power is the greatest power in the world today. “Tremendous power is made available through a good man’s earnest prayer” (James 5:16, ph). History shows how mankind has progressed from manpower to horsepower, and then to dynamite and TNT, and now to atomic power. But greater than atomic power is prayer power. Elijah prayed for his nation, and God answered prayer. We need to pray for our nation today, that God will bring conviction and revival, and that “showers of blessing” will come to the land. One of the first responsibilities of the local church is to pray for government leaders (1 Tim. 2:1–3).
* 17. Elias was a man. There are innumerable instances in Scripture of what he meant to prove; but he chose one that is remarkable above all others; for it was a great thing that God should make heaven in a manner subject to the prayers of Elias, so as to obey his wishes. Elias kept heaven shut by his prayers for three years and a half; he again opened it, so that it poured down abundance of rain. Hence appeared the wonderful power of prayer. Well known is this remarkable history, and is found in 1 Kings 17 and 1 Kings 18. And though it is not there expressly said, that Elias prayed for drought, it may yet be easily gathered, and that the rain also was given to his prayers. But we must notice the application of the example. James does not say that drought ought to be sought from the Lord, because Elias obtained it; for we may by inconsiderate zeal presumptuously and foolishly imitate the Prophet. We must then observe the rule of prayer, so that it may be by faith. He, therefore, thus accommodates this example, — that if Elias was heard, so also we shall be heard when we rightly pray. For as the command to pray is common, and as the promise is common, it follows that the effect also will be common.
Lest any one should object and say, that we are far distant from the dignity of Elias, he places him in our own rank, by saying, that he was a mortal man and subject to the same passions with ourselves. For we profit less by the examples of saints, because we imagine them to have been half gods or heroes, who had peculiar intercourse with God; so that because they were heard, we receive no confidence. In order to shake off this heathen and profane superstition, James reminds us that the saints ought to be considered as having the infirmity of the flesh; so that we may learn to ascribe what they obtained from the Lord, not to their merits, but to the efficacy of prayer.
It hence appears how childish the Papists are, who teach men to flee to the protection of saints, because they had been heard by the Lord. For thus they reason, “Because he obtained what he asked as long as he lived in the world, he will be now after death our best patron.” This sort of subtle refinement was altogether unknown to the Holy Spirit. For James on the contrary argues, that as their prayers availed so much, so we ought in like manner to pray at this day according to their example, and that we shall not do so in vain
This verse does not mean God will grant all the requests of the righteous, for he did not give Elijah all he prayed for (see 1 Kings 19:4). It is a call for confidence in the power of prayer, or better still, confidence in the power of the Lord to whom we pray.
* 17. Elias … like passions as we—therefore it cannot be said that he was so raised above us as to afford no example applicable to common mortals like ourselves. prayed earnestly—literally, “prayed with prayer”: Hebraism for prayed intensely. Compare Lu 22:15 Then He said to them, "With [fervent] desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;
Alford is wrong in saying, Elias’ prayer that it might not rain “is not even hinted at in the Old Testament history.” In 1Ki 17:1 it is plainly implied, “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.” His prophecy of the fact was according to a divine intimation given to him in answer to prayer. In jealousy for God’s honor (1Ki 19:10), and being of one mind with God in his abhorrence of apostasy, he prayed that the national idolatry should be punished with a national judgment, drought; and on Israel’s profession of repentance he prayed for the removal of the visitation, as is implied in 1Ki 18:39–42; compare Lu 4:25. three years, &c.—Compare 1Ki 18:1, “The third year,” namely, from Elijah’s going to Zarephath; the prophecy (Jam 5:1) was probably about five or six months previously. 18. prayed … and—that is, “and so.” Mark the connection between the prayer and its accomplishment.
5:17,18 Elijah … prayed … he prayed again. Elijah provides one of the most notable illustrations of the power of prayer in the OT. His prayers (not mentioned in the OT account) both initiated and ended a 3 year, 6 month drought (cf. Luke 4:25)
1 Kings 17:20-22
17:22-24. God miraculously restored the boy’s life. This is the first recorded instance in Scripture of restoration to life of one who had died. Elijah . . . carried the lad downstairs (the boy was apparently weak) and presented him to his mother. This miracle proved to the woman that Elijah was indeed a man of God and that the word of the Lord that Elijah claimed to speak was indeed the truth. This incident showed the widow and others that the power of the Lord as the true God contrasted greatly with the impotency of Baal.
17:23 your son lives. Canaanite myths claimed that Baal could revive the dead, but here it was the Lord, not Baal, who gave back the boy’s life. This conclusively demonstrated that the Lord was the only true God and Elijah was His prophet (v. 24).
|9 Resuscitations From the Dead|
|1.||Widow of Zarephath’s son, raised by Elijah||1 Kin. 17:22|
|2.||Shunammite woman’s son, raised by Elisha||2 Kin. 4:34,35|
|3.||Man raised when he came into contact with the bones of Elisha||2 Kin. 13:20,21|
|4.||Widow of Nain’s son, raised by Jesus||Luke 7:14,15|
|5.||Jairus’ daughter, raised by Jesus||Luke 8:52–56|
|6.||Lazarus of Bethany, brother of Mary and Martha, raised by Jesus||John 11|
|7.||Dorcas, raised by Peter||Acts 9:40|
|8.||Eutychus, raised by Paul||Acts 20:9–12|
|9.||Dead raised at Jesus crucifixtion||Matt.27:52-53|
17:21, 22 cried … heard: The scriptural motif of crying and being heard or calling and being answered, is a theme that emphasizes intimacy of fellowship or communion (Ps. 22:24; 91:15; 102:1,2)
* This is the first recorded instance in Scripture of the resurrection of a dead person. The evidence seems clear that the widow’s son actually died and didn’t just faint or go into a temporary swoon. He stopped breathing (v. 17) and his spirit left the body (vv. 21–22). According to James 2:26, when the spirit leaves a body, the person is dead. The great distress of both the mother and the prophet would suggest that the boy was dead, and both of them used the word “slay” with reference to the event (vv. 18 and 20). The mother’s response was to feel guilty because of her past sins. She believed that her son’s death was God’s way of punishing her for her misdeeds. It isn’t unusual for people to feel guilty in connection with bereavement, but why would she point her finger at her guest? She recognized Elijah as a man of God, and perhaps she thought his presence in the home would protect her and her son from trouble. Or maybe she felt that God had informed her guest about her past life, something she should have confessed to him. Her words remind us of the question of the disciples in John 9:2, “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” Elijah’s response was to carry the lad to his upstairs room, perhaps on the roof, and to cry out to the Lord for the life of the child. He couldn’t believe that the Lord would miraculously provide food for the three of them and then allow the son to die. It just didn’t make sense. Elijah didn’t stretch himself out on the boy’s dead body in hopes he could transfer his life to the lad, for he knew that only God can impart life to the dead. Certainly his posture indicated total identification with the boy and his need, and this is an important factor when we intercede for others. It was after Elijah stretched himself on the child for the third time that the Lord raised him from the dead, a reminder that our own Savior arose from the dead on the third day. Because He lives, we can share His life by putting our faith in Him. (See 2 Kings 4:34 and Acts 20:10.)
1 Kings 18:36-38
The prophets of Baal meet the God of Israel (vv. 20–40). Representatives were present from all ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom, and it was this group that Elijah addressed as the meeting began. His purpose was not only to expose the false god Baal but also to bring the compromising people back to the Lord. Because of the evil influence of Ahab and Jezebel, the people were “limping” between two opinions and trying to serve both Jehovah and Baal. Like Moses (Ex. 32:26) and Joshua (Josh. 24:15) before him, Elijah called for a definite decision on their part, but the people were speechless. Was this because of their guilt (Rom. 3:19) or because they first wanted to see what would happen next? They were weak people, without true conviction. Elijah weighted the test in favor of the prophets of Baal. They could build their altar first, select their sacrifice and offer it first, and they could take all the time they needed to pray to Baal. When Elijah said he was the only prophet of the Lord, he wasn’t forgetting the prophets that Obadiah had hidden and protected. Rather, he was stating that he was the only one openly serving the Lord, and therefore he was outnumbered by the 450 prophets of Baal. But one with God is a majority, so the prophet had no fears. Surely the prayers of 450 zealous prophets would be heard by Baal and he would answer by sending fire from heaven! (See Lev. 9:24 and 1 Chron. 21:26.)By noon, Elijah was taunting the prophets of Baal because nothing had happened. “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision” (Ps. 2:4, nkjv). The prophets of Baal were dancing frantically around their altar and cutting themselves with swords and spears, but still nothing happened. Elijah suggested that perhaps Baal couldn’t hear them because he was deep in thought, or busy in some task, or even traveling. His words only made them become more fanatical, but nothing happened. At three o’clock, the time of the evening sacrifice at the temple in Jerusalem, Elijah stepped forward and took charge. Who originally built the altar that Elijah used? Probably a member of the believing remnant in Israel who privately worshiped the Lord. But the altar had been destroyed, probably by the prophets of Baal (19:10), so Elijah rebuilt it and sanctified it. By using twelve stones, he reaffirmed the spiritual unity of God’s people in spite of their political division. Elijah had given the prophets of Baal some advantages, so now he gave himself some handicaps. He had a trench dug around the altar and filled it with water. He put the sacrifice on the wood on the altar and had everything drenched with water.At the time of the evening sacrifice, he lifted his voice in prayer to the God of the covenant, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. His request was that God be glorified as the God of Israel, the true and living God, and make it known that Elijah was His servant. But even more, by sending fire from heaven, the Lord would be telling His people that He had forgiven them and would turn their hearts back to the worship of the true God. Elijah may have been thinking of God’s promise to Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:12–15. Suddenly, the fire fell from heaven and totally devoured the sacrifice, the altar, and the water in the trench around the altar. There was nothing left that anybody could turn into a relic or a shrine. The altar to Baal still stood as a monument to a lost cause. The prophets of Baal were stunned, and the people of Israel fell on their faces and acknowledged, “The Lord, He is God!” But Elijah wasn’t yet finished, for he commanded the people to take the false prophets of Baal and slay them. This was in obedience to the Lord’s command in Deuteronomy 13:13–18 and 17:2–5. The test had been a fair one, and the prophets of Baal had been exposed as idolaters who deserved to be killed. The law required that idolaters be stoned to death, but Elijah had the prophets killed with the sword (19:1). This action, of course, angered Jezebel, from whose table these men had been fed (v. 19), and she determined to capture Elijah and kill him.
36, 37. O Jehovah, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel. The extreme brevity, though absolute sincerity, of Elijah’s prayer is striking when compared with the frenzied crying, leaping, and dancing of the Baal worshipers. The prophet simply reminded God that he had not invented this seemingly strange procedure, but had carried it out by the divine command.38. The fire of Jehovah fell, and consumed the burnt offering. So intense was the divine fire, that it devoured the stones of the altar and even licked up the super-abundance of water in the trench. The intervention of the super-natural in response to the believing faith and prayer of the prophet of God now settled the matter. 39. The people, recalling the terms of the spiritual duel, cried out, The Lord, he is the God.
18:37 Elijah’s prayer had two elements. First, he wished that the Lord would demonstrate clearly to the people that He alone is the living God. Second, he prayed for the full revival of God’s people. The first prayer would be answered in a dramatic manner.18:38 Showing who really was the god of storm, Baal proved impotent, while the fire of the Lord destroyed everything on the site.
1 Kings 19:4
19:1-5a. Jezebel had not been present on Mount Carmel; her husband reported to her what had taken place. Infuriated by Elijah’s treatment of her prophets . . . Jezebel sent a message to him. He was evidently still in the city of Jezreel as she was (18:46) when he received her warning. She threatened to take his life in 24 hours in retaliation for his slaughtering the 450 Baal prophets. It is remarkable that her threat terrified Elijah as it did. Ironically by contrast he had told the widow in Zarephath not to be afraid (17:13). He had just demonstrated that the gods to whom she now appealed in her curse had no power at all. (Her statement that she was willing to be dealt with severely by the gods [2:23; 20:10; 2 Kings 6:31] points up the seriousness of her threat. She was so certain she would kill Elijah that she willingly put her own welfare ”on the line.“) Evidently Elijah’s fear sprang from the power Jezebel possessed. Rather than resting in God for His protection as he had for the past three and one-half years, Elijah ran for his life. He ran all the way through the kingdom of Judah to the southernmost town in the land, Beersheba.
Still fearful he might be discovered by Jezebel’s spies he told his servant to stay behind and he traveled alone one more day’s journey (about 15 miles) into the Negev desert. Finally he sat down under a broom tree (a desert bush that grows to a height of 12 feet and provides some, though not much, shade) and rested. He was so discouraged he prayed that he might die. Elijah had forgotten the lessons God had been teaching him at Kerith, Zarephath, and Carmel. His eyes were on his circumstances rather than on the Lord. His statement that he was no better than his ancestors (19:4) suggests that he was no more successful than his forefathers in ousting Baal-worship from Israel. Exhausted and discouraged, Elijah lay down . . . and fell asleep.
* 19:3 he saw. His hope shattered, Elijah fled as a prophet, broken by Jezebel’s threats (v. 2), her unrepentant Baalism, and her continuing power over Israel. Elijah expected Jezebel to surrender; when she did not capitulate, he became a discouraged man (vv. 4, 10, 14). Beersheba. A city located 100 mi. S of Jezreel (18:45, 46) in the Negev, it marked the southern boundary of the population of Judah. 19:4 broom tree. A desert bush that grew to a height of 10 ft. It had slender branches featuring small leaves and fragrant blossoms. take my life. Since Israelites believed that suicide was an affront to the Lord, it was not an option, whatever the distress. So Elijah asked the Lord for death (Jon. 4:3, 8) because he viewed the situation as hopeless.
Job, Moses, Jeremiah had also reacted in similar fashion during their ministries.
Job (Job 6:8 "Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for, 9 that God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut me off! 10 Then I would still have this consolation-- my joy in unrelenting pain-- that I had not denied the words of the Holy On
Moses (Num. 11:10–15) Moses heard the people of every family wailing, each at the entrance to his tent. The LORD became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. 11 He asked the LORD, "Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers? 13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, `Give us meat to eat!' 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now--if I have found favor in your eyes--and do not let me face my own ruin."
Jeremiah (Jer. 20:14–18) Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed! 15 Cursed be the man who brought my father the news, who made him very glad, saying, "A child is born to you--a son!" 16 May that man be like the towns the LORD overthrew without pity. May he hear wailing in the morning, a battle cry at noon. 17 For he did not kill me in the womb, with my mother as my grave, her womb enlarged forever. 18 Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame?
19:6 cake … and … water. As at Cherith and Zarephath (17:6, 19), God provided food and drink for Elijah in the midst of his distress and the surrounding famine. 19:8 forty days. Elijah’s trip took over double the time it should have taken. Therefore, the period had symbolic meaning as well as showing literal time. As the people of Israel had a notable spiritual failure and so wandered 40 years in the wilderness (Num. 14:26–35), so a discouraged Elijah was to spend 40 days in the desert. As Moses had spent 40 days on the mountain without bread and water, sustained only by God as he awaited a new phase of service (Ex. 34:28), so Elijah was to spend 40 days depending on God’s enablement as he prepared for a new commission from the Lord. As Moses had seen the presence of God (Ex. 33:12–23), so Elijah experienced a manifestation of God. Horeb. An alternate name for Mt. Sinai, located about 200 mi. S of Beersheba.
* The enemy’s message of danger (1 Kings 19:1–4) When the torrential rain began to fall, Jezebel was in Jezreel and may have thought that Baal the storm god had triumphed on Mount Carmel. However, when Ahab arrived home, he told her a much different story. Ahab was a weak man, but he should have stood with Elijah and honored the Lord who had so dramatically demonstrated His power. But Ahab had to live with Queen Jezebel and without her support, he knew he was nothing. If ever there was a strong-willed ruler with a gift for doing evil, it was Jezebel. Neither Ahab nor Jezebel accepted the clear evidence given on Mount Carmel that Jehovah was the only true and living God. Instead of repenting and calling the nation back to serving the Lord, Jezebel declared war on Jehovah and His faithful servant Elijah, and Ahab allowed her to do it. Why did Jezebel send a letter to Elijah when she could have sent soldiers and had him killed? He was in Jezreel and the deed could have been easily accomplished on such a wild and stormy night. Jezebel wasn’t only an evil woman; she was also a shrewd strategist who knew how to make the most of Baal’s defeat on Mount Carmel. Ahab was a quitter, but not his wife! Elijah was now a very popular man. Like Moses, he had brought fire from heaven, and like Moses, he had slain the idolaters (Lev. 9:24; Num. 25). If Jezebel transformed the prophet into a martyr, he might influence people more by his death than by his life. No, the people were waiting for Elijah to tell them what to do, so why not remove him from the scene of his victory? If Elijah disappeared, the people would wonder what had happened, and they would be prone to drift back into worshiping Baal and letting Ahab and Jezebel have their way. Furthermore, whether from Baal or Jehovah, the rains had returned and there was work to do! Jezebel may have suspected that Elijah was a candidate for a physical and emotional breakdown after his demanding day on Mount Carmel, and she was right. He was as human as we are, and as the ancient church fathers used to say to their disciples, “Beware of human reactions after holy exertions.” Her letter achieved its purpose and Elijah fled from Jezreel. In a moment of fear, when he forgot all that God had done for him the previous three years, Elijah took his servant, left Israel, and headed for Beersheba, the southernmost city in Judah. Charles Spurgeon said that Elijah “retreated before a beaten enemy.” God had answered his prayer (18:36–37) and God’s hand had been upon him in the storm (18:46), but now he was walking by sight and not by faith. (See Ps. 16:7–8.) For three years, Elijah had not made a move without hearing and obeying the Lord’s instructions (17:2–3, 8–9; 18:1), but now he was running ahead of the Lord in order to save his own life. When God’s servants get out of God’s will, they’re liable to do all sorts of foolish things and fail in their strongest points. When Abraham fled to Egypt, he failed in his faith, which was his greatest strength (Gen. 12:10ff). David’s greatest strength was his integrity, and that’s where he failed when he started lying and scheming during the Bathsheba episode (2 Sam. 11–12). Moses was the meekest of men (Num. 12:3), yet he lost his temper and forfeited the privilege of entering the Promised Land (Num. 20:1–13). Peter was a courageous man, yet his courage failed and he denied Christ (Mark 14:66–72). Like Peter, Elijah was a bold man, but his courage failed when he heard Jezebel’s message.
But why flee to Judah, especially when Jehoram, king of Judah, was married to Ahab’s daughter Athaliah (2 Kings 8:16–19; 2 Chron. 21:4–7). This is the infamous Athaliah who later ruled the land and tried to exterminate all of David’s heirs to the throne (2 Kings 11). The safest place for any child of God is the place dictated by the will of God, but Elijah didn’t stop to seek God’s will. He traveled 90 to 100 miles to Beersheba and left his servant there. Did he say, “Stay here until I return?” or did he just set the man free for his own safety. If the enemy came after Elijah, his servant would be safer someplace else. Furthermore, if the servant didn’t know where Elijah was, he couldn’t inform against him. Beersheba had a special meaning to the Jews because of its associations with Abraham (Gen. 21:22, 33), Isaac (26:33), and Jacob (46:1). The “juniper tree” is actually a flowering shrub (“the flowering broom tree”) that flourishes in the wilderness and provides shade for flocks and herds and travelers. The branches are thin and supple like those of the willow and are used to bind bundles. (The Hebrew word for this shrub means “to bind.”) The roots of the plant are used for fuel and make excellent charcoal (Ps. 120:4). As Elijah sat under its shade, he did a wise thing—he prayed, but he didn’t pray a very wise prayer. “I’ve had enough!” he told the Lord, “so take my life.” Then he gave his reason: “I’m no better than my fathers.” But God never asked him to be better than anybody else, but only to hear His Word and obey it. The combination of emotional burnout, weariness, hunger, and a deep sense of failure, plus lack of faith in the Lord, had brought Elijah into deep depression. But there was also an element of pride involved, and some self-pity, for Elijah was sure that his courageous ministry on Mount Carmel would bring the nation to its knees. Perhaps he was also hoping that Ahab and Jezebel would repent and turn from Baal to Jehovah. His expectations weren’t fulfilled, so he considered himself a failure. But the Lord rarely allows His servants to see all the good they have done, because we walk by faith and not by sight, and Elijah would learn that there were 7,000 people in Israel who had not bowed to Baal and worshiped him. No doubt his own ministry had influenced many of them.The angel’s message of grace (1 Kings 19:5–8) When the heart is heavy and the mind and body are weary, sometimes the best remedy is sleep—just take a nap! Referring to Mark 6:31, Vance Havner used to say that if we didn’t come apart and rest, we’d come apart—and Elijah was about to come apart. Nothing seems right when you’re exhausted. But while the prophet was asleep, the Lord sent an angel to care for his needs. In both Hebrew and Greek, the word translated “angel” also means “messenger,” so some have concluded that this helpful visitor was another traveler whom the Lord brought to Elijah’s side just at the right time. However, in verse 7, the visitor is called “the angel of the Lord,” an Old Testament title for the second person of the Godhead, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In passages like Genesis 16:10, Exodus 3:1–4 and Judges 2:1–4, the angel of the Lord speaks and acts as God would speak and act. In fact the angel of the Lord in Exodus 3:2 is called “God” and “the Lord” in the rest of the chapter. We assume that this helpful visitor was our Lord Jesus Christ. Elijah and the Apostle Peter were both awakened by angels (Acts 12:7), Elijah to get some nourishment and Peter to walk out a free man. The angel had prepared a simple but adequate meal of fresh bread and refreshing water, and the prophet partook of both and lay down again to sleep. (Jesus prepared a breakfast of bread and fish for Peter and six other of His disciples; John 21:9, 13.) We aren’t told how long the Lord permitted Elijah to sleep before He awakened him the second time and told him to eat. The Lord knew that Elijah planned to visit Mount Sinai, one of the most sacred places in all Jewish history, and Sinai was located about 250 miles from Beersheba, and he needed strength for the journey. But no matter what our destination may be, the journey is too great for us and we need God’s strength to reach the goal. How gracious God was to spread a “table in the wilderness” for His discouraged servant (Ps. 78:19, and see Ps. 23:5). Elijah obeyed the messenger of God and was able to travel for forty days and nights on the nourishment from those two meals. When you review God’s ministries to Elijah as recorded in 1 Kings 18 and 19, you see a parallel to the promise in Isaiah 40:31. For three years, the prophet had been hidden by God, during which time he “waited on the Lord.” When the Lord sent him to Mount Carmel, He enabled Elijah to “mount up with wings as eagles” and triumph over the prophets of Baal. After Elijah prayed and it began to rain, the Lord strengthened him to “run and not be weary” (18:46), and now He sustained him for forty days so he could “walk and not faint” (19:8). Elijah wasn’t wholly living in the will of God, but he was smart enough to know that he had to wait on the Lord if he expected to have strength for the ministry and for the journey that lay before him. God’s angels are His special ambassadors, sent to minister to His people (Heb. 1:14; Ps. 91:11). An angel rescued Daniel from being devoured by lions (Dan. 6:22), and angels attended Jesus during His temptation in the wilderness (Mark 1:12–13). An angel strengthened Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:43) and encouraged Paul on board ship in the storm (Acts 27:23). The angels in heaven rejoice when a sinner is converted (Luke 15:7, 10). When we arrive in heaven and God privileges us to review our earthly walk, we will no doubt discover that strangers who helped us in different ways were actually the angels of God, sent by the Lord to assist and protect us.
2 Kings 1:10,12,14
1:9. To many readers this story seems like an unnecessarily cruel demonstration of God’s power. However, the issues at stake justified severe action. Ahaziah showed complete contempt for Elijah and the God he represented by sending a band of soldiers to arrest the prophet like an outlaw and drag him before the throne. Perhaps Elijah’s position on the top of a hill should have reminded the captain of Elijah’s victory over the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:20-40) and of his great God-given power. Either the captain did not make this connection or decided to disregard it. He acknowledged that Elijah was a man of God (2 Kings 1:11), but ordered him to come down to him in Ahaziah’s name. In 1 and 2 Kings the term ”man of God“ is a synonym for a prophet. It is used of Shemaiah (1 Kings 12:22), of Elijah seven times (1 Kings 17:18, 24; 2 Kings 1:9, 10-13), of Elisha more than two dozen times in 2 Kings (the first occurrence is in 4:7 and the last is in 13:19), and of two other anonymous prophets (one is mentioned frequently in 1 Kings 13 and in 2 Kings 23:16-17; the other is referred to in 1 Kings 20:28). 1:10. Elijah’s repetition of the fact that he was indeed a man of God (v. 12) shows that this was an important issue; God’s reputation was at stake. Was Ahaziah in charge, able to command God’s servants to obey him? Or was God in charge, able to command Ahaziah’s servants to obey Him? By sending fire . . . from heaven (v. 12) to consume the soldiers of the king, God was reminding Ahaziah that He was Israel’s Ruler and that the king should submit to His sovereignty. In a play on similar-sounding Hebrew words Elijah said that because he was a man (’îš) of God, fire (’ēš) would consume them. 1:11-12. Ahaziah disregarded this tragedy and tried again to force Elijah to submit to him. This time the captain ordered the prophet, Come down (v. 9) at once! Again Elijah reminded the captain, undoubtedly for the benefit of those looking on who would report the incident as well as for the officer, that he was indeed God’s man. The fire of judgment fell again (v. 10), proving that the first miracle was not just an accident but was the hand of God at work in judgment. 1:13-14. Still Ahaziah hardened his heart. The third captain he sent had more respect for Yahweh and His representative than Ahaziah did. Rather than demanding surrender from a position of assumed superiority this man submitted to Elijah’s authority, falling to his knees before him. He too recognized Elijah as a man of God, but unlike the first two captains (vv. 9, 11) he pleaded for mercy. He acknowledged that the fire that had fallen had come from heaven (i.e., was caused by God).
1:15-16. The Angel of the Lord directed Elijah to go down with him . . . to the king and not be afraid of him; God had superior power and would control the situation. (This was the sixth time God told Elijah to ”go“ or ”leave“; cf. 1 Kings 17:3, 9; 18:1; 21:18; 2 Kings 1:3.) This whole incident, like the contest on Mount Carmel, was designed to demonstrate God’s sovereignty to the king and the people of Israel. Standing before the king, Elijah fearlessly delivered the message God had given him. Because of Ahaziah’s failure to consult Israel’s God (v. 2) and his determination to lead independently, God would depose him. This is the same message Elijah had given earlier to the king’s messengers on their way to Ekron (vv. 3-4).
* 1:9 Man of God. A technical title for a man who spoke for God. See notes on Deut. 33:1; 1 Kin. 12:22; 1 Tim. 6:11. 1:10–12 fire came down from heaven. This was the proof that Elijah was a prophet of the Lord and entitled to respect. Additionally, it was an indication that Elijah was like Moses, who also was validated as the Lord’s prophet by fire from heaven (Num. 16:35).
* God judges sin. (2 Kings 1:1–18) After the death of wicked King Ahab, the nation of Moab took advantage of Ahaziah, his son and successor, and broke the bonds of vassalage that had chained them to Israel (v. 1; see 3:4–5). Years before, David had defeated Moab (2 Sam. 8:2) and Ahaziah’s successor, Jehoram (Joram), would join with Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, to fight against the Moabites (3:6ff). But the Lord is in charge of the nations of the earth (Acts 17:24–28; Dan. 5:19, 21; 7:27), and His decrees determine history. Ahaziah was an evil man (1 Kings 22:10, 51–53), but when the Lord isn’t allowed to rule, He overrules (Ps. 33:10–11). Idolatry (vv. 2–4). A decade or so before Ahaziah’s accident, Elijah had won his great victory over Baal (1 Kings 18), but Ahab and Jezebel hadn’t been convinced or converted and neither had their family (1 Kings 22:51–53). When Ahaziah was severely injured by falling through a lattice, he turned for guidance to Baal and not to the Lord God of Israel. “Baal” simply means “lord,” and “Baal-Zebul” means “Baal is prince.” But the devout remnant in Israel, who worshiped Jehovah, made changes in that name and ridiculed the false god of their neighbors. “Baal-Zebel” means “lord of the dung,” and “Baal-Zebub means “lord of the flies,” one of the names Jesus’ enemies used to insult Him. (Matt. 10:25). Why did the king decide to send messengers forty miles away to Ekron to consult the priests of Baal? True, Elijah had slain the 450 prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:19, 22, 40), but that was ten years ago. Surely other priests of Baal were available in the land. The king’s parents had fed hundreds of these priests at their table (1 Kings 18:19), and it wouldn’t have been difficult for King Ahaziah to import priests of Baal to serve as court chaplains. Perhaps he sent to Ekron for help because he didn’t want the people in Samaria to know how serious his condition was. The temple of Baal at Ekron was very famous, for Baal was the chief god of that city, and one would expect a king to send there for help. Note that Ahaziah asked the priests of Baal for a prognosis and not for healing. God keeps His servants informed about matters that other people know nothing about (John 15:15, Amos 3:7). This “angel of the Lord” could well have been our Lord Jesus Christ in one of His preincarnate appearances (Gen. 16:7; 18; 21:17; 22:11; 48:16). When God’s servants are walking with their Lord, they can be confident of His directions when they need them. This had certainly been Elijah’s experience (see v. 15 and 1 Kings 17:3, 9; 18:1; 21:18). Elijah intercepted the royal envoys and gave them a message that would both rebuke and sober the king. Why did he want to consult the dead god of Ekron when the living God of Israel was available to tell him what would happen? He would surely die! This ominous declaration was made three times during this event—twice by Elijah (vv. 4 and 16) and once by the messengers (v. 6). Instead of being spokesmen for Baal, the messengers became heralds of God’s Word to the king! Pride (vv. 5–12). It seems incredible that the king’s messengers didn’t know who Elijah was and didn’t learn his identity until they returned to the palace! Elijah was Ahab’s enemy (1 Kings 21:20) and Ahaziah was Ahab’s son, so certainly Ahaziah had said something to his courtiers about the prophet. The description the messengers gave of Elijah reminds us of John the Baptist who ministered “in the spirit and the power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17; Matt. 3:4). The phrase “a hairy man” (kjv) suggests his garment rather than his appearance. The niv reads “with a garment of hair.” Like John the Baptist, Elijah wore the simple camel’s hair garment of the poor and not the rich robe of a king (Matt. 11:7–10).
The announcement that he would die should have moved Ahaziah to repent of his sins and seek the Lord, but instead, he tried to lay hands on the prophet. (This reminds us of King Herod’s seizure of John the Baptist; Matt. 14:1–12.) Ahaziah knew that Elijah was a formidable foe, so he sent a captain with fifty soldiers to bring him to the palace; but he underestimated the prophet’s power. Did Ahaziah think that he could kill the prophet and thereby nullify the prophecy? (The Lord’s words in v. 15 suggest that murder was in the king’s mind.) Or perhaps the king hoped to influence Elijah to change the prophecy. But Elijah took his orders from the King of kings and not from earthly kings, especially a king who was an idolater and the son of murderers. Years before, Elijah ran away in fear when he received Jezebel’s threat (1 Kings 19), but this time, he remained where he was and faced the soldiers unafraid. The captain certainly didn’t use the title “man of God” as a compliment to Elijah or as a confession of his own faith, for “man of God” was a common synonym for “prophet.” Elijah’s reply meant, “Since you called me a man of God, let me prove it to you. My God will deal with you according to your own words.” The fire that came from heaven killed all fifty-one men. This judgment was repeated when the second company of fifty arrived. Note that the second captain ordered Elijah to “come down quickly.” Don’t keep your king waiting! The memory of the contest on Mount Carmel should have warned the king and his soldiers that Elijah could bring fire from heaven (1 Kings 18). We must not interpret these two displays of God’s wrath as evidence of irritation on the part of Elijah or injustice on the part of God. After all, weren’t the soldiers only doing their duty and obeying their commander? These two episodes of fiery judgment were dramatic messages from the Lord that the king and the nation had better repent or they would all taste the judgment of God. The people had forgotten the lessons of Mount Carmel, and these two judgments reminded them that the God of Israel was “a consuming fire” (Deut. 4:24 and 9:3; Heb. 12:29). King Ahaziah was a proud man who sacrificed two captains and one hundred men in a futile attempt to prevent his own death. These were not innocent men, the victims of their ruler’s whims, but guilty men who were willing to do what the king commanded. Had they adopted the attitude of the third captain, they too would have lived. Disobedience (vv. 13–18). Insisting that Elijah obey him, the king sent a third company of soldiers, but this time the captain showed wisdom and humility. Unlike the king and the two previous captains, he submitted himself to the Lord and His servant. The third captain’s plea for himself and his men was evidence that he acknowledged Elijah’s authority and that he would do God’s servant no harm. The Lord’s words in verse 15 suggest that the danger lay in the hands of the captains and not in the hands of the king. Perhaps the king had ordered them to kill Elijah en route to the palace or after he had left the palace. If the king had to die, he would at least take Elijah with him!The king was in bed when Elijah confronted him and for the second time told him he would die. How many times must the Lord repeat His message to a wicked sinner? The king would leave this world with “you will surely die” ringing in his ears, yet he refused to obey the Word of God. Again, we’re reminded of Herod’s response to John the Baptist, for Herod listened to John’s words but still wouldn’t repent (Mark 6:20). After about two years on the throne, Ahaziah did die, just as Elijah had predicted, and his younger brother Jehoram (or Joram) became king. Note that the current king of Judah was also named Jehoram (v. 17). To avoid confusion, we shall refer to Ahaziah’s brother, the king of Israel, as Joram, and Jehoshaphat’s son, the king of Judah, as Jehoram. Before leaving this passage, we need to remind ourselves that a proud and unrepentant world will one day experience the fire of the wrath of God. It will happen “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thes. 1:7–9). God “commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30), which means that those who do not repent are rebels against the Lord. The gospel isn’t only a message to believe; it’s also a mandate to obey
* 1:10 fire … from heaven: Heavenly fire could signal divine judgment (see Gen. 19:24). Elijah had already called down such fire in his contest with the prophets of Baal (1 Kin. 18:36–38). This fire was likely lightning. Baal was not the god of the storm he was reputed to be. The God of Israel was—and is—the Lord of creation.
* 9. Then the king sent. The second phase of this contest between the Lord and Baal now began. Ahaziah moved to punish Elijah’s insult. Thou man of God ... Come down. The address was scornful. The soldier did not understand that the treatment dishonored the covenant by dishonoring God’s prophet. 10. And Elijah answered. And should be read But, since this verse stands in contrast to verse 9. The captain’s contempt was to result in death. All too often does the “world” regard the servants of God in the same manner. Sin and worldly might blind men’s eyes. Fire from heaven ... consumed him. The Lord God confirmed Elijah’s word and proved himself the victor in the conflict. 11. Another captain of fifty. In the second attempt to take Elijah, the king compounded his sin by adding the word quickly. 12. See verse 10. Sin was not yet vanquished in these people. 13, 14. Came and fell on his knees. The third captain, whether or not he realized the significance of the happenings, was convinced of the prophetic standing and power of Elijah and treated him with respect. He said, in effect, “I am only the king’s servant, doing my duty; so please honor me in this and come before the king.” 15. The angel ... said unto Elijah. The king’s power was vain. Elijah was not to fear Ahaziah, because the Lord would defend his prophet. 16. And he said unto him. Elijah repeated the earlier message given to the messengers.
1Cor 13:12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
Jame 4:8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Deut 4:30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him.
Deut 30:2 and when you and your children return to the LORD your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today,
2Chr 30:6 At the king's command, couriers went throughout Israel and Judah with letters from the king and from his officials, which read: "People of Israel, return to the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria.
Lame 3:40 Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.
Hose 6:1 "Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.
Hose 7:10 Israel's arrogance testifies against him, but despite all this he does not return to the LORD his God or search for him.
Hose 14:2 Take words with you & return to the LORD. Say to him: "Forgive all our sins
and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.