There was a man whose name was Elijah. He lived in a town called Gilead. Elijah was a righteous man. Elijah was called by God to be a prophet. A prophet is a person who speaks out the words that God gives him to speak. Sometimes he speaks out warnings of things to come. Other times he speaks of God’s love toward us. But in no way is a prophet a fortune teller who looks into his crystal ball. God holds His prophets to strict account, if they do not speak what God tells them to speak. There have been many who have been called false prophets but they were not, but because the people did not like what God had to say to them they simply ignored them, and told them they were lying. One of these men was Jeremiah. Jeremiah was called the weeping prophet, because the people would not take heed of God’s warning through him. Let’s take a closer look into Elijah and all of his mighty miracles.
Let’s start by looking at what Elijah says to the people. He tells them that until he gives the word, there will be no rain or even dew till then. WOW! Can you imagine if someone told you that he could control the weather and only till he says so will it rain once again? You would think he was nothing but a troublemaker. Well, this is exactly what the king thought because it did not rain, not in a month, not even in a year. James 5:17-18 tells us this about Elijah, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.”
God tells Elijah to go to the brook east of the Jordan River and stay there. While the brook still had water in it, Elijah drank from the brook, and God sent a raven to feed him twice a day with bread and meat. But the day came when the brook ran dry, so God told Elijah to go to a town called Zarephath, to a widow, who the Lord had called to care for him. As he entered the town, he saw a woman gathering sticks, and he asked her for a drink of water and a piece of bread. The woman told him that she had no food, but only a handful of flour left, and a little jar of oil, and with the few sticks that she had gathered she was going to prepare for her and her son to eat their last meal. Elijah told her, “Do not fear, only go and do as I have said, and afterward you can make bread for you and your son.” Elijah went on to say this, “For this is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘The bowl of flour will not be used up, nor will the jar of oil run dry, until the Lord provides rain upon the earth.” The widow did exactly what the prophet told her to do, and sure enough, she had flour and oil till it rained once again.
The days went by and one day the widow’s son was very ill and he died. The woman was in such grief that she began to blame Elijah for this tragedy. Elijah understood her grief and he took the boy and laid him upon his bed. Elijah began to pray to God and he said, “God have you brought this misery upon this widow whom I am staying with by killing her son?” So Elijah stretched himself over the boy three times and called to the Lord and said, “Lord, my God, please let this boy’s life return to him.” Can you guess what happened? Yep, the boy came back to life and he gave him to his mother. The widow tells Elijah , “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the words of God you speak are true.”
Now it has been three years later and God spoke again to Elijah and told him to ‘Go back and see the king and I will have it rain once again on the land.’ As Elijah was walking along the way, he saw his friend Obe, and Obe cried out, “Is it you Elijah?” Elijah asked Obe to go to the king and tell him that he was back in town. Well the king had been looking for Elijah, but could not find him and so Obe said, “Have I done something wrong that you would send me to the king? Don’t you know that if I tell him your back, and God decides to send you away again, that when he does not find you that he will kill me? Did you not hear that the queen had begun to kill the prophets of the Lord and that I hid one hundred prophets from her in two caves and fed them bread and water? And now you want me to go and tell the king that you are here?” Elijah reassured his friend that he would go and see the king today and he did. When the king saw Elijah, he said, “”Is that you, you troublemaker.” “No, my king, you are the troublemaker,” said Elijah.
“You have broken away from God’s commandments, and began worshiping false gods. Now give an order that all of those 450 false prophets be gathered at Mount Carmel, along with all of Israel, and we shall see who is real and who is false.”
So they did gather and Elijah said to the people of Israel, “How long will you go straddling the fence between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him, but if these false gods are the real thing, then follow them, but now we shall see.” So Elijah gave orders to build two altars, one for him, and one for the false prophets, and place the wood upon them. Then he said, “Let each of us sacrifice to our god. You call upon your god, and I will call upon my God, and the God who answers with fire, He is the true God.” So they did just what he said, and they began calling on their false god from morning to noon saying, “O Baal answer us!” But there was no response. At noon Elijah began mocking them saying, “Cry louder, maybe he is asleep, and needs to be woken up, or maybe he went on a journey.” So they began to cry louder and they began cutting themselves to please their gods, and by the afternoon they were all in hysterics, jumping around and crying to their false gods, but there was no answer, no voice to be heard, nor fire to consume the altar. So by evening time Elijah said to the people to come and gather around him. He took twelve stones to represent the twelve tribes of Israel and placed them around and upon each other. Then he had them dig a trench around the altar, and had them fill the trench all around with water, and he had them place the wood on the altar, and had them pour four jugs of water upon the wood, not just once but three times, so that everything was well saturated with water. Then Elijah began to pray, “O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known this day that You are the God of Israel, and that I am your servant, and I have done all of this according to Your words to me. Answer me now so that Your people may know that You O Lord are God, and that You have turned back the hearts of your people.” Then the fire of the Lord fell, and it consumed the wood, and the fire licked up the water till it was dry, and the people saw it, and fell on their faces, and began to praise God. Elijah had all of the false prophets arrested.
Elijah did great things during his life, he was truly a man of God. The day came when God told Elijah that he was being replaced and that he needed to go to a man named Elisha, who would replace him as the prophet to Israel. So Elijah went to anoint Elisha as the new prophet, and they traveled about the countryside till the day that God was going to bring Elijah home. God told Elijah to go to a town called Bethel, which means “House of God.” So Elijah told Elisha to stay in the town that they were in, but Elisha said, “No, I am not leaving your side.” And so he went with him to Bethel. When they got there the students from the school of the prophets came out and asked Elisha if he was aware that God was taking Elijah home this very day? And Elisha said, “Yes, I am aware of it.”
Again Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here for God has summoned me to Jericho.” But once again Elisha said, “No, I am not leaving your side.”
Three times God moved Elijah on, and three times Elisha said he would not leave Elijah’s side. Elisha had a great love for his teacher. This reminds me of Peter when three times he denied knowing Jesus. But one day by the seashore there was this discussion in John 21:15-17,
“Now when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My Sheep.” He said to him again, a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was hurt because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
Well, when they came to Jericho, once again, the student from the school of the prophets came out and asked Elisha if he knew that God was taking Elijah home this very day? And once again Elisha said, “Yes, I know!” Then a third time Elijah said to Elisha, “God has called me to go to the Jordan and you must stay here.”, But Elisha would have none of it, and he went with Elijah. So the two of them went to the Jordan River. Now fifty men stood opposite of them, and two men stood by the Jordan. Elijah took off his coat, folded it, and struck the waters, and they divided, and the two of them crossed on dry ground. Wow! This sounds like something right out of the Exodus story, when Moses raised his staff and the waters also divided, and when Joshua and all of Israel crossed the Jordan River on dry ground.
When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask me what I should do for you before I am taken from you.” Elisha said, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” Elijah said, “If you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, then it will not come upon you.”
As they were walking along, a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and they separated the two men. Then Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven. And Elisha was watching it, and he was crying out, “My father, my father, the Chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” And Elisha no longer saw Elijah, and he was filled with great grief. He picked up Elijah’s coat which he had dropped and went back to the banks of the Jordan River, and struck the water with Elijah’s coat, and once again the waters parted and he crossed over.
Elisha went on to carry out God’s works, and he did have a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, and with that, he did even greater miracles than Elijah. This is a great story of how God uses His people for the work of the kingdom of God. We all have different callings, and we all do a different work.
1 Corinthians 12: 4-7 tells us, “Now God gives us many kinds of special abilities, but it is the same Holy Spirit who is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service to God, but it is the same Lord we are serving. There are many ways in which God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work in and through all of us who are His. The Holy Spirit displays God’s power through each of us as a means of helping the entire church.”
Ephesians 4:11-13 says, “And He gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
But we all have a part to do as members of the body of Messiah. Elisha wanted a double portion of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 goes on to say this, “To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; someone else may be especially good at studying and teaching, and this is his gift from the same Spirit. He gives special faith to another, and to someone else the power to heal the sick. He gives power for doing miracles to some, and to others power to prophesy and preach. He gives someone else the power to know whether evil spirits are speaking through those who claim to be giving God’s messages—or whether it is really the Spirit of God who is speaking. Still another person is able to speak in languages he never learned; and others, who do not know the language either, are given power to understand what he is saying. It is the same and only Holy Spirit who gives all these gifts and powers, deciding which each one of us should have.”
What about you? God wants to use you. He has a purpose for everyone’s life and that means yours’ also. You may say, but I want to be a fireman, or a nurse, or even a teacher. God can use you wherever you find yourself in life. God does the calling and He equips us for that calling. He gives us the abilities and the gifts. We just have to be willing vessels. We have to say, not my will, but let Your will be done. God uses people in all walks of life, so what about your life? God used Timothy, even in his young age. Maybe you will be the next Elijah or even another Elisha.
Let’s pray, Father, I ask you today to come into my life and use it for Your glory, to advance Your kingdom. Equip me to do Your work and let me do great things in Your name. Begin today, and plant those seeds in my heart that will grow to become a tree bearing much fruit in my life. Let me be like Elijah who brought back Your people to you. Let me bring back those who have lost their way.