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Devotionals May 8 – June 7, 2024: The Life of Elijah

When we read the stories of Elijah, nothing is more evident than God’s power and love. While many facts of Elijah’s life are not known, the purpose of the miracles and recorded events is to display not Elijah’s glory, but God’s. The entirety of the Bible exists as God’s revelation of himself, not any individual man.  

Keeping this in mind, we will study the life of Elijah as depicted in 1 Kings 1719 and 2 Kings 12. There are countless other references to Elijah throughout the books of Kings, Chronicles, and even the New Testament, but the main stories of Elijah are all found in these five chapters. I also left out the story of Naboth’s vineyard because, although Elijah calls Ahab to repent, that story is primarily about Ahab. 

In 1 Kings 17, we are introduced to Elijah as the person who tells Ahab that there will “not be dew nor rain these years.” Immediately after this, God tells Elijah to go and hide at the brook Cherith, presumably for safety. There he is fed by ravens through God’s gracious provision. Through many of these miracles God displays his love and care for Elijah, while many others are used to radiate his power. 

God’s love can be seen by his provision for Elijah. First, he is fed by the ravens at the brook Cherith, as we have seen already. But after the brook is dried up, God provides for Elijah’s needs through the widow of Zarephath. God not only tests the faith of the widow, but he also provides food for Elijah. Later, after Jezebel had threatened to kill Elijah, he is fed by an angel that brings him food and water. Throughout all these examples, God’s love can be seen as he provides for Elijah’s physical needs. God also, out of care for his people, comforts Elijah emotionally by reassuring him that he is not alone, for there is a remnant of seven thousand in Israel who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Finally, God bestows his love on Elijah in a special honor given to him: Elijah would not die, but, like Enoch, he would be translated directly into heaven. 

God’s power and might are also on display in these chapters. God’s omnipotence is displayed in all miracles—like Elijah raising the widow of Zarephath’s son from the dead and parting the Jordan River before his translation—but two miracles in particular from Elijah’s ministry highlight this truth emphatically.  

First, there is the famous story of Elijah on Mount Carmel. Elijah asks Ahab to gather all of Baal’s 450 prophets, and then tells them to set up an altar and ask Baal to consume it with fire. After hours of prayer and even cutting themselves to no avail, it is clear the prophets of Baal have failed. Elijah takes his turn, fashioning the altar out of stone rather than wood and dousing it with twelve barrels of water. Then, after a very short prayer, God answers Elijah by sending fire from heaven, engulfing the altar in flames and showing that he alone is God. 

Second, God’s power is seen in the story recorded in 2 Kings 1. Here, Ahab’s son Ahaziah is injured and becomes sick, so he sends men to ask Baal whether he will live or die. On their journey, the men encounter Elijah, who tells the men to return to Ahaziah and tell him that he will die because he sought help from Baal. Upon hearing this, Ahaziah sends a captain with fifty men to bring Elijah to him. When they meet Elijah, he is on a mountain, and they tell him to come down. Elijah commands that fire come down from heaven and consume them, and immediately they are consumed. This happens again with the same outcome, but the third captain to meet Elijah humbles himself and even pleads for his life. Elijah listens to this captain, and after Elijah goes to Ahaziah, his prophecy is fulfilled when Ahaziah dies.  

Both of these stories clearly point to God’s glory and power. But while the events of the miracles are awe inspiring, they also can be quite terrifying. These stories should give us pause. God cares for his people—he sent ravens, a widow, an angel, and a chariot of fire in his love for Elijah. But God also must be reverenced in his power. This is a double-edged sword. God cuts down the rebellious and proud, the envious and the evil, but he is also willing and able to help his people when they are in need.  

God’s loving promises, which come to us from the words of Isaiah 43:2, were carried out in the life of Elijah: “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” 

 

Jake is in his second year at Grand Valley State University and is a member of Hudsonville Protestant Reformed Church. 

Date  Read  Study  Psalter 
May 8   1 Kings 17:1–4  How is the obedience of Elijah seen in these verses?   108 (v. 5) 
May 9   1 Kings 17:5–7  How is the provision of God seen here? Think of a time when God has provided for you in a difficult situation.  304 (v. 4) 
May 10   1 Kings 17:8–12 

 

Why do you think that God has a poor widow sustain Elijah? First ravens, then an impoverished widow—what do you think this says about God?  53 
May 11   1 Kings 17:13–14  Why does God test the faith of the widow? Why does God at times test our faith?  248 
May 12   1 Kings 17:15–16  Time and time again, God, by his providence, provides for his people. How is the example in these verses comforting to you?  167 
May 13   1 Kings 17:17–18; 

Job 1:20–21 

The widow loses her son through sickness. How is this similar to Job’s situation?   27 
May 14   1 Kings 17:19–22  God again miraculously provides for the widow. What can this teach us about God’s providence?  419 (v. 5) 
May 15   1 Kings 17:23–24  How is the widow’s faith strengthened through this trial and the miraculous event?  329 (v. 4) 
May 16   1 Kings 18:1–4  During the famine, the ungodly need to provide for themselves, but God uses Obadiah to feed his prophets. In your life, how can you see God working for your good, but not necessarily for the wicked?  171 (v. 2) 
May 17   1 Kings 18:5–16  What is Obadiah fearful of? How does Elijah reassure him? 

 

128 
May 18   1 Kings 18:17–21  Applying verse 21, what are some ways that you perhaps are not living up to your calling as a Christian? How does this verse convict you?  140 
May 19   1 Kings 18:22–27  How is Elijah’s mocking in verse 27 justified? Usually mocking is a sinful, arrogant activity, but what is different about it here?  373 (v. 8) 
May 20   1 Kings 18:28–29  In what ways are the false gods of the Israelites like the idols that we often fashion for ourselves?  308 (v. 2) 
May 21   1 Kings 18:30–35  Compare and contrast the two altars. How does Elijah make the “test” much more difficult when preparing his altar?  290 (v. 11) 
May 22   1 Kings 18:36–39  In what ways does Elijah’s prayer to God differ from the false prophets’ prayer?  149 
May 23   1 Kings 18:40–46  Why does God send rain only after he proves himself to be God?  402 (v. 3) 
May 24   1 Kings 19:1–4 

 

Jezebel becomes angry when she hears what Elijah has done. What are some ways that the wicked become angry at Christians for their obedience to God?  394 
May 25   1 Kings 19:5–8  How does God provide for Elijah now?  149 (v. 5)  
May 26   1 Kings 19:9–14  Elijah is discouraged to think that he is the only one of the elect left in Israel. Have you ever felt alone, only to be reassured later that in Christ, you are a part of a body so much bigger than yourself?  150 
May 27   1 Kings 19:15–18  God tells Elijah that there are still things that God needs him to do. He also has a purpose for you. What is God calling you to do here and now?  114 
May 28   1 Kings 19:19–21  Do you think that it is significant that when Elisha is called, he is busy working? Why?  360 
May 29   2 Kings 1:1–4  Why does Ahaziah seek to ask a false god whether he is going to die (v. 3)?  391 (v. 3) 
May 30   2 Kings 1:5–6  Is the punishment of Ahaziah’s death because he asked for the prophecy of Baal? Why or why not?  141 
May 31   2 Kings 1:7–9  Why does Ahaziah want Elijah to come to him so badly?   29 (v. 3)  
June 1  2 Kings 1:10–12  How is Ahaziah’s stubbornness seen here? How is it clearly not effective?  366 
June 2   2 Kings 1:13–15  How is the humility of the third captain rewarded? Why?  406 (v. 3) 
June 3   2 Kings 1:16–18  What does Elijah say to Ahaziah? What is Elijah’s reasoning for what he says (v. 16)?  391 (v. 6) 
June 4   2 Kings 2:1–8  Why do you think that Elisha chooses not to depart from Elijah, even though Elijah asked him three times?  203 
June 5   2 Kings 2:9–11  Why do you think God chose to take Elijah up into heaven without death?  71 
June 6   2 Kings 2:12–14  What are two indications in these verses that Elisha is taking Elijah’s place?  100 
June 7   2 Kings 2:15–18  Why does Elisha finally let the sons of the prophets search for Elijah’s body?  52 (v. 4)