1 Kings 18:20–46, 19:1-8
June 21, 2021
1 Kings 18:20–46
The Prophets of Baal Defeated
 So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel.  And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word.  Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the LORD, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men.  Let two bulls be given to us, and let them choose one bull for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. And I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood and put no fire to it.  And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the LORD, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.”  Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it.”  And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made.  And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.”  And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them.  And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.
 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that had been thrown down.  Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD came, saying, “Israel shall be your name,”  and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two seahs of seed.  And he put the wood in order and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.”  And he said, “Do it a second time.” And they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time.” And they did it a third time.  And the water ran around the altar and filled the trench also with water.
 And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word.  Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”  Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.  And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God.”  And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there.
The LORD Sends Rain
 And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.”  So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees.  And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times.  And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’”  And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel.  And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel. (ESV)
1 Kings 19:1–18
Elijah Flees Jezebel
 Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.  Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.”  Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.
 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”  And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.”  And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again.  And the angel of the LORD came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.”  And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.
The LORD Speaks to Elijah
 There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”  He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”  And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.  And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.  And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”  He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”  And the LORD said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria.  And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place.  And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death.  Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” (ESV)
I. In the face of great opposition, and standing alone against the dominant viewpoints of his current culture, Elijah stood for God boldly and with great faith…
“The issue is not whether we say we believe the bible is the Word of God or that we believe it is without error, but the issue is whether we actually obey it when its teachings are unpopular and conflict with the dominant viewpoints in our culture.” — Wayne Grudem
II. Great Fear
- 1 Kings 19:1-18
- Bold Elijah, mocking the multitude and bold like a lion in the face of satanic evil, crumbled and ran for his life at the threat of one person…that is so us.
- When faith gives way to fear, remember even the strongest of God’s servants stumble — except one — Jesus!
- Jesus was tempted to fear, but he did not run, he resisted every temptation and was obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross for us! How great is His love!!
- Elijah went from great strength in God to great weakness to great strength in God once again.
- There are ups and downs, moments of great strength and great weakness in all of our lives of faith.
- God cares for Elijah’s body as well as his soul.
- God does not give up on Elijah when Elijah gives up on himself, he will never forsake or give up on you either.
- God is in this with you for the long haul.
III. Greater God
- There were other great things Elijah did by God’s power.
- But His story is just like ours…great is thy faithfulness.
- God has moved us to great faith, and he has comforted and sustained us in great fear and other weaknesses and sins, and He gets glory for it all.
- He always has his faithful remnant, that have not bowed their knee to Baal, and we live here for a short time serving the LORD, and He moves the great story forward, and then he takes Elijah up to heaven in a fiery chariot with fiery horses…with Elisha observing.
- Elijah was carried up to heaven in a whirlwind into heaven.
- We will be carried to heaven as well.
Questions For Discussion/Application
- Re-read the text, 1 Kings 18:20–46, 19:1-8.
- What about this story stands out to you the most? What do you find most encouraging or convicting about this story?
- How does this passage highlight Elijah’s great faith?
- How does this passage highlight Elijah’s great weakness and fear?
- How does this story reveal God’s care for Elijah and all of God’s children?
- How do verses 1-18 help us in times when we may be afraid, discouraged, or despairing?
- Consider taking time to pray, asking God to help us to trust Him at all times and to anticipate in faith how He will meet us in difficult times.