At a time of national apostasy in Israel, Elijah remained faithful and obedient to God. In our last lesson we focused on the drought in Israel, God’s provisions for Elijah, and Elijah’s challenge to the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel.
A Question and a Command
By Mark A. Finley
At a time of national apostasy in Israel, Elijah remained faithful and obedient to God. In our last lesson we focused on the drought in Israel, God’s provisions for Elijah, and Elijah’s challenge to the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. We marveled at God’s miraculous answer to Elijah’s prayers in the midst of almost overwhelming odds.
In this lesson we will study the perseverance of faith, the humility of faith, and, at times, the disappointments experienced by people of faith. Through it all we will discover a God of amazing compassion, abundant grace, and awesome power.
What lessons do we learn from Elijah’s trust in God’s promises, and his faith that did not give up when he didn’t receive an immediate answer to his prayers? Read 1 Kings 18:41-45.
Elijah sent his servant to the crest of the mountain to look toward the sea. When signs of rain did not appear, he sent the servant again. Elijah persevered. He sent his servant to look for rain six times. Not until the seventh time did the man see a dark cloud about the size of a man’s hand. The cloud was a sign that rain was coming and soon the heavens would open their floodgates. Elijah’s faith did not give up. He persevered in spite of all appearances. He trusted that God would fulfill His Word.
How did the apostle Paul describe the necessity of perseverance in spite of our past mistakes, current failures, or overwhelming obstacles? Read the following passages and summarize your answer in one sentence: 1 Corinthians 9:24-28; 2 Corinthians 4:7-10; Philippians 3:12-16.
Read 1 Kings 18:45, 46. As the rain poured down, making visibility almost impossible, what act of kindness did Elijah perform for Ahab? What does this say about Elijah’s character?
Elijah’s kindness in guiding Ahab’s chariot in the midst of a terrible storm reveals both his humility and graciousness. The prophet still respected the office of the king and showed compassion to someone who wanted to take his life.
Read Romans 12:20, 21; see also Proverbs 25:21, 22. What counsel did the apostle Paul give to Christians in Rome who faced persecution? How does this apply to us?
Did Elijah ever feel down? Read 1 Kings 19:1-4; describe Ahab’s threat on Elijah’s life, and Elijah’s response.
After spending the entire day challenging the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, and guiding Ahab’s chariot through a fierce storm, the prophet was physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually exhausted. In the face of a threat on his life from Ahab and his heathen queen, Jezebel, Elijah was ready to give up.
How did God respond to Elijah’s doubt, fear, and discouragement? Read 1 Kings 19:5-8.
God did not send an angel to preach to Elijah about his lack of faith, or his need for more courage. He sent a heavenly messenger with healthful fare to strengthen Elijah’s body and the divine benediction to rest. Faith is practical. Sometimes people need a good healthy meal, some rest, and exercise much more than they need a lecture about faith.
Where did Elijah end up, and what was God’s message to the doubting prophet? Read 1 Kings 19:9-15.
Elijah ended up in a cave. God met the prophet where he was; God always meets us where we are. God’s response to Elijah’s doubt was both a question and a command. The question is simple and straightforward: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” In other words: “Elijah, I have a purpose for your life, and you will never see it realized in the cave of despondency.”
The command was simple and straightforward as well: “Go out, and stand on the mountain.” In other words: “Don’t live in a cave when you can stand upon a mountain.”
God speaks to each of us, who at times have failed, become discouraged, and live in our own darkened caves: I have a purpose for your life. I have a task for you. By My grace, through My strength, come out of the cave and stand upon the mountain.