Author: Ron Graham
—And his spirit and power
Time ~ 6. Kingdom Divided
Span ~ 200 years
Books ~ 2Kings, 2Chronicles, Isaiah, Amos, Jonah, Hosea, Micah
Figures ~ Solomon, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah
Begins with ~ Rebellion of the ten tribes
Ascendant empire ~ Assyria
In the time of the divided kingdom, God sent his prophet Elijah. This lesson is about him. Elijah was one of the great Old Testament prophets.
1 Elijah Had Attitude
Behind this story is the outstanding spirit and power of Elijah, which he had by virtue of his great faith and zeal for God.
At times he was afraid, and had to flee. At times he got discouraged and thought he was alone.
But he never let God down, and bravely spoke up for God —nor did God let him down.
Elisha took up the mantle of Elijah, and the spirit and power of Elijah. In a way, so can we, by taking Elijah's attitude toward God into our own hearts.
2 The Spirit and Power of Elijah
Elijah’s influence lived on in his disciple Elisha, who took up his mantle and demonstrated the same spirit and power. Elijah expressed his spirit thus: "I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts" (1Kings 19:14).
The story of Elijah’s visit to the widow of Zarephath shows the tenderness and love in Elijah’s heart. The story of his confronting the prophets of Baal shows his faith and courage.
Elijah the Tishbite prophesied in a hostile environment where false religion was rife. He had to deal with kings who generally were not faithful to God. However, he did what he had to do, and said what he had to say. God was with him, and Elijah believed this, even though God sometimes spoke with a still, small voice.
3 Bible Summary (1Kings 17-22, 2Kings 1-2)
- Elijah has power to control the weather (17)
- He is fed by ravens (17)
- Elijah visits the widow of Zarephath (17)
- Her flour and oil miraculously do not run out (17)
- Her son is brought back to life (17)
- Elijah meets Obadiah, sends him reassured to Ahab (18)
- Ahab goes to Elijah. Elijah challenges him (18)
- Elijah confronts and kills the prophets of Baal (18)
- Elijah causes a drought-breaking downpour of rain (18)
- Jezebel (Ahab's wife) threatens Elijah (19)
- Elijah flees, and again eats miraculous food (19)
- Elijah goes to Horeb (Mount Sinai), talks to God (19)
- Elisha becomes Elijah's disciple and follows him (19)
- God helps Ahab to defeat Ben-hadad king of Syria (20)
- A prophet condemns Ahab for letting Ben-hadad go (20)
- Jezebel plots against Naboth to get his vineyard for Ahab (21)
- Elijah condemns Ahab and Jezebel (21)
- Ahab humbles himself and God spares him (21)
- Jehoshaphat good king of Judah visits Ahab king of Israel (22)
- Micaiah the prophet speaks against Ahab (22)
- Ahab dies in an ill-advised battle (22)
- After Ahab, Ahaziah becomes king of Israel (22)
- After Jehoshaphat, Jehoram becomes king of Judah (22)
- [Some similar information is given in 2nd Chronicles 18-20]
- Ahaziah consults Baal-Zebub. Elijah condemns him (1)
- After Ahaziah, Jehoram becomes king of Israel (1)
- [Note: At this point the kings of Israel and Judah have the same name --Jehoram]
- Elijah is taken up into heaven by a whirlwind (2)
- Elisha takes up the mantle and work of Elijah (2)
4 A Few Facts About Elijah
- A prophet in Israel after the kingdom divided
- Named Elias in the King James New Testament
- A “Tishbite” (thought to mean that he came from Tishbeh in Gilead)
- Contemporary with the kings of Judah named Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram
- Contemporary with the kings of Israel named Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram
- Dealt with Israel's king Ahab and his wife Jezebel
- Exposed and killed the prophets of Baal
- Meets with God on Horeb (Mount Sinai)
- Called upon Elisha to follow him
- Brought death upon Ahaziah king of Israel (2Kings 1)
- And upon Jehoram king of Judah (2Chronicles 21)
- Taken up into heaven in a whirlwind
- Elijah experienced and performed many miracles
- Paul uses him as an illustration (Romans 11:1-5)
- James does too (James 5:16-18)
- John the baptizer likened to him (Malachi 4:5, Matthew 11:12-14, Luke 1:17)
- Appeared when Jesus was transfigured (Matthew 17)
- Like Enoch of old, Elijah did not die as men normally do, but was taken by God into heaven.