1 Kings 17-18
Chapter 17: Elijah Raises a Little Child from Death
Elijah prays for a drought. Elijah came as a prophet of the Lord at a very crucial time int he wicked times of Israel. Elijah tells everyone that the heavens will be sealed and will not rain again, until the words are spoken from his mouth. Elijah tells everyone where the source of his power comes from… God!
Elijah is instructed of the Lord to leave the current city “Cherith” and go to the Brook of Cherith, which flows into Jordan, there he would be met by ravens that would feed him. There, the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening… and he drank from the brook. After a short while, the brook that he was at slowly dried up until there was no more water. There was no water, because it had not rained… this is exactly what Elijah had prayed for and he got it! Now he had to trust in the Lord to stay alive during this drought.
The Lord speaks to Elijah again and tells him to go to Zarephath where he has a widow lined up to provide for him. Elijah does as the Lord commands, even though this probably made no sense to him at all. When he arrives at the gate of the city, he finds a widow gathering sticks and he calls to her and asks her to bring a little water in a cup. He also asks her for a little bit of bread too.
The widow responds to Elijah by telling him that she has no bread, but a little flour and oil and with her gathering of sticks was going to go home to her son and there she was going to make her last meal (because she had probably run out of food) to die. Elijah responds back and makes a promise to her, that if she makes him bread first and then makes them both bread… that the flour and oil shall not go down until the day that the Lord makes it rain. So the lady does as Elijah had request and she ends up NOT running out of bread!
After a few days the woman and her son become sick. She then indirectly blames Elijah for what has happened; “…art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?” (1 Kings 17:18). Elijah comes in and takes her son in his arms and cries to the Lord and begs God to let the spirit of her son come back into his body. Elijah stretched himself out over the sons body and continued to plead, until the Lord listened and restored the sons soul to his body.
Chapter 18: Elijah Challenges the Prophets of Baal
The Lord comes again to Elijah and he tells him to go present himself to Ahab, because he was going to end the drought. When he went to present himself to Ahab, there was a sever famine in Samaria. The drought (after 3 years) finally came to an end.
Elijah meets Obadiah, who was in charge of the house of Ahab.But he meets him in an unexpected manner… Ahab was worried about the livestock dying of hunger so he commands Obadiah and others to search out pasture land with grass. On the search, Obadiah meets Elijah and immediately recognizes him and falls to the earth in fear (because he feared the Lord). Elijah tells Obadiah that he will see Ahad and that he would make sure he doesn’t get into trouble on his behalf.
When Ahad meets Elijah he blames a prophet of God for the problems of Israel, instead of seeing that his wickedness has actually led them into the problems that they now face. This is where the story and chapter get really interesting, Elijah challenges King Ahab to gather the idol prophets of Ball and Asherah for a meeting at Mount Carmel. So all the prophets gathered on Mount Carmel, the prophets HATED Elijah and their loyalty was to King Ahad and Queen Jezebel.
Elijah asks a question; “…How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him….” (1 Kings 18:21). The people were silent to his question. He tells everyone there that he is a prophet of God, the only one there. But the prophets of Baal number more than 450 men! Elijah proposes a test. In this test each side will pick out a bullock, kill it, cut it up and then put it on the altar with wood, but no fire underneath.
Then Elijah proposed a test; “…call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God…” (1 Kings 18:24). So the prophets of Baal start to pray to Baal and ask for fire to cook the meat. But after some time, there is no success… so Elijah tries to mock them a bit…. “…Cry aloud: for he is a god (Baal); either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or preadventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked” (1 Kings 18:27). So Elijah calls the people’s attention over to him (now that Baal’s people have failed).
Elijah takes 12 stones (to represent the 12 tribes of Israel), he built an altar out of the rocks and around the altar a trench. Elijah then commanded the people to drench his altar with water so much that it filled the trench that he had dug. Elijah then called out to the Lord in prayer; “…Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done ball these things at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.” (1 Kings 18:36-38). Then when the people saw this, they fell to their faces and they knew that he was God. Then he commanded the people to grab the prophets of Baal who were trying to evade and he had them taken to the brook of Kishon, and there he killed them.
Elijah prays for the rain to come back, by praying on the top of Mount Carmel.