In Troubling Times -
A Study of Elijah the Tishbite
Read Time: 12 min.
Elijah is a prophet that lived in Israel during the reign of Ahab king of Israel. Ahab is the son of Omri who was a captain in the Israelite army which overthrew the reign of Zimri (I Kings 16). Omri wrought evil in eyes of the Lord worse than any king before him. During the reign of Asa King of Judah Omri reigned 6 official years (12 total Israel was split between Tibni and Omri for 6 years - I Kings 16). Omri died during the 38th year of Asa and Ahab the son of Omri reigned in Samaria for the next 22 years (vs. 29).
The kings are getting progressively worse as they continue to reject God. Ahab made altars unto Baal and made a grove (more properly an Asherah--a graven image set erect in the ground used to worship the origins of life). "And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him." (I Kings 16:33).
Elijah is living in Israel and most of the prophets and those that follow after God have either gone to live in Judah where they worship God, are in hiding or have been killed. Consequently Elijah is not surrounded by believing Believers and a warm fellowship to help him stay strong in the Lord. Yet he remained faithful and attentive to God.
I Kings 17
:1 And Elijah the Tishbite,
who was of the inhabitants of Gilead,
said unto Ahab,
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.
Ahab brought this calamity upon Israel. His evil heart drew the tribes away from the one true God and God could no longer protect them and cause them to prosper. It is like walking out from under an umbrella. As long as you stay close to the umbrella you are protected. We have seen repeatedly throughout the Old Testament God's great power taking care of the children of Israel and when they walk away from Him Israel flounders. They are not learning. The Word of God is not being taught them. See also the Idiom of Permission.
That was brave of Elijah, Ahab has a habit of cutting off prophet heads. Now God is going to take care of Elijah His prophet.
:2 And the word of the LORD
came unto him, saying,
:3 Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward,
and hide thyself by the brook Cherith,
that is before Jordan. [about 23 mi., 38 km, south of the Sea of Galilee
on the west side of the river Jordan in Gilead]
:4 And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook;
and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.
:5 So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD:
for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith,
that is before Jordan.
:6 And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning,
and bread and flesh in the evening;
and he drank of the brook.
Now we can just read over this and say, "Yup, happens everyday." Or we can stop and think a minute. Put your self in Elijah's shoes/sandals. In order to get to the place that Elijah would believe what God said and to have the courage to tell Ahab that it is not going to rain and then believe that God would have ravens bring him bread and meat enough to sustain him he would have to trust God. That is some trusting in God. You develop that kind of trust by devoting yourself to His Word. To me this is encouraging. I am God's kid, He said so, and if I ask anything of Him according to His Word I have a right to it. He promised. He is not like our earthly fathers who at times may not be able to meet our needs or uphold a promise. He is our heavenly father, the creator of the heavens and the earth. He said he would take care of us if we seek Him first and do His Word. Let us believe Him, trust Him.
:7 And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up,
because there had been no rain in the land.
:8 And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,
:9 Arise, get thee to Zarephath,
which belongeth to Zidon,
and dwell there:
behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
:10 So he arose and went to Zarephath.
And when he came to the gate of the city,
behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks:
and he called to her, and said,
Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel,
that I may drink.
:11 And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said,
Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.
:12 And she said,
As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake,
but an handful of meal in a barrel,
and a little oil in a cruse:
and, behold, I am gathering two sticks,
that I may go in and dress it for me and my son,
that we may eat it, and die. [because after that they will starve to death]
:13 And Elijah said unto her,
go and do as thou hast said:
but make me thereof a little cake first, [give to God first]
and bring it unto me,
and after make for thee and for thy son.
:14 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel,
The barrel of meal shall not waste,
neither shall the cruse of oil fail,
until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.
:15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah:
and her house,
did eat many days.
:16 And the barrel of meal wasted not,
neither did the cruse of oil fail,
according to the word of the LORD,
which he spake by Elijah.
God had told Elijah that He would keep enough food around the house for him, the widow woman and her son if she obeyed and gave first. If she was not willing to believe the man of God, God would not have sent him there. This is miraculous. I have had our food multiplied before when my husband and I were missionaries in Wisconsin but not to this extent.
Elijah was not free from circumstances that attacked his conviction. It is how he handled the situation that enabled God to act.
:17 And it came to pass after these things,
that the son of the woman,
the mistress of the house,
and his sickness was so sore,
that there was no breath left in him. [he died]
:18 And she said unto Elijah,
What have I to do with thee,
O thou man of God?
art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance,
and to slay my son?
:19 And he said unto her,
Give me thy son.
And he took him out of her bosom,
and carried him up into a loft,
where he abode,
and laid him upon his own bed.
:20 And he cried unto the LORD, and said,
O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow
with whom I sojourn,
by slaying her son?
:21 And he stretched himself upon the child three times,
and cried unto the LORD, and said,
O LORD my God, I pray thee,
let this child's soul come into him again.
:22 And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah;
and the soul of the child came into him again,
and he revived.
Was that child revived the first time Elijah stretched himself upon him? No. The second time? No. Elijah persisted, not doubting. The third time Elijah stretched himself upon Widow's son he revived. In this situation Elijah had taken the son back to his room so that he could be alone. It is important at times to remove people who are not believing that deliverance is possible from the situation.
:23 And Elijah took the child,
and brought him down out of the chamber into the house,
and delivered him unto his mother:
and Elijah said,
See, thy son liveth.
:24 And the woman said to Elijah,
Now by this I know that thou art a man of God,
and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.
She had begun to doubt, now she is convinced. Elijah never doubted. Even though the circumstances were dire he adhered to the revelation God gave him. That drought lasted 3 years and 6 months (James 5:17 & 18). Now it wasn't like Elijah received revelation everyday. He was told to tell the king it wouldn't rain. Then he was told to hang out at the brook Chirith. He did that and waited for further instructions. We don't know how long he was there or at what section of the brook he was at but it takes a while for a stream to dry up. Then he was told to live with a widow woman, undoubtedly saving her and her sons life, for they would have starved to death.
Remain faithful and attentive to God, be patient. God has told us many things in His Word we can be confident that He will bring them to pass. We seek Him, keep our heads in the Word and give, and God will take care of us.