Elijah has a lot going on in today’s reading. He goes to Zarephath where a widow shows great faith by feeding him first from her last meal for her and her son before they die of starvation. The Lord rewards her faith by keeping her flour bin and oil jar full until the drought is over.
However, the widow’s faith waivers when her son dies. She blames his death on her own sin and asks Elijah if he came to kill her son. The Lord, who is always faithful, brings her child back to life when Elijah prays over the boy. The widow’s faith in the Lord is restored.
Later in the Story, Jesus will use this story of Elijah visiting the widow to rebuke the unbelieving Jews and to illustrate that when they don’t believe, the Lord sends His prophets out to others, even to Gentiles. “But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land,” (Luke 4:25) but Elijah left Israel and visited a woman in Zarephath.
After the 3 years and 6 months of drought, the Lord sends Elijah back to Ahab to tell him the drought is coming to an end. There we learn that Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, has been killing the prophets of the Lord. Elijah challenges the 450 Baal prophets who have been sitting at the table with Jezebel.
Elijah says that they will each build an altar “and the God who answers by fire, He is God!”. The prophets of Baal go first and they begin to call on Baal to bring fire upon the offering but Baal does not answer.
After some time, Elijah steps forward, covers his altar in water and calls upon the Lord of Abraham, Issac, and Israel. The Lord rains fire down 🔥 and consumes the offering and the people fall to the ground shouting “The Lord, He is God!”. Then Elijah kills all the Baal prophets. Afterwards, Elijah prays 7 times for rain and the Lord sends the rain.
Well, when ole Jezebel hears about all this she seeks to kill Elijah. Elijah is now off in the wilderness under an tree praying for the Lord to just kill him. 😳 That’s strange. How can he be so low after experiencing a major spiritual high with the victory at Mount Carmel? 🤔 Maybe, just maybe, it can be extremely difficult doing what the Lord calls you to do, especially if it appears you are standing alone.
But Elijah isn’t alone. He has God! And instead of killing Elijah, the Lord revives him and sends him a helper, Elisha, who will eventually take his place. Then God encourages Elijah further by letting him know that there are 7,000 others who did not bow a knee to Baal. 🙌 See, the Lord knows whose heart is loyal to Him and He will encourage His people for the work of His Kingdom.
The reading ends with Ahab defeating the Syrians but the Syrians attack again tomorrow so keep reading.
(1 Kings 17:8-20:22)