The Work of Elijah in the Time of Drought

Scripture Passage: 
1 Kings 17:1-24

INTRODUCTION: Elijah was a prophet of God during the reign of Ahab. Elijah is the main character through the remainder of this book and into the first of the next book (1 Kings 17-22; 2 Kings 1-2). He is called Elijah in the Old Testament (69 times) and Elias in the New Testament (30 times) and is mentioned by one of these names a total of 99 times. Nine is the number of fruit in the Bible and Elijah certainly had a fruitful ministry. He is a prophet in the northern kingdom of Israel during the time of its greatest rebellion against God. But during this time, he stood firm and showed the power of God. We can learn much from his bold stand in a time of apostasy.

  1. FED BY THE BROOK CHERITH (1 Kings 17:1-7)
    1. Elijah’s Announcement to Ahab (1 Kings 17:1)
      1. Elijah suddenly appeared on the scene.
      2. Elijah came from Tishbeh in the land of Gilead, a land on the eastern side of the Jordan River roughly across from the land of Galilee.
      3. Elijah showed courage by prophesying directly to King Ahab (see 1 Kings 18:17).
      4. Elijah prophesied that Israel would not receive rain until he said so (James 5:17).
    2. Elijah’s Move to the Brook Cherith (1 Kings 17:2-3)
      1. The word of the Lord came to Elijah (1 Kings 17:2).
      2. He was to hide by the brook Cherith (1 Kings 17:3).
    3. Elijah’s Care by the Ravens (1 Kings 17:4-6)
      1. God promised provision at the brook Cherith (1 Kings 17:4).
        1. God promised to have the ravens feed Elijah.
        2. God gave no other promise of provision. Any other move would certainly lead to disaster.
      2. Elijah did according to the word of the Lord (1 Kings 17:5).
      3. God gave provision to Elijah (1 Kings 17:6).
        1. His servants – the ravens
          1. Would eat dead flesh (Proverbs 30:17)
          2. Are black in color (Song of Solomon 5:11)
          3. An unclean bird (Leviticus 11:15; compare Job 14:4)
          4. Yet, are provided for by God (Luke 12:24)
        2. His provision
          1. From the ravens
            1. Bread
            2. Flesh
          2. From the brook – water
        3. His meals
          1. One in the morning
          2. One in the evening
    4. Elijah’s Loss of the Brook Cherith (1 Kings 17:7)
      1. Although it was provided by God, Elijah’s source of provision dried up.
      2. God often allows His own provision to cease in order to teach us that all provision comes from Him and not from the intermediate source that He provides.
      3. This demonstrates that God’s servants are not exempt from the consequences of living in a wicked world.
  2. FED BY THE WIDOW OF ZAREPHATH (1 Kings 17:8-16)
    1. Elijah’s Instructions (1 Kings 17:8-9)
      1. According to the word of the Lord (1 Kings 17:8)
      2. Get thee to Zarephath and dwell there (1 Kings 17:9).
      3. A widow woman will sustain thee (1 Kings 17:9).
    2. The Widow’s Poverty (1 Kings 17:10-12)
      1. No husband (1 Kings 17:9, 10)
      2. No help (1 Kings 17:12a)
      3. No hope (1 Kings 17:12b)
    3. The Widow’s Priority (1 Kings 17:10-13)
      1. She gave him her effort (1 Kings 17:10-11).
      2. She gave him her food (1 Kings 17:13).
      3. She gave to him first (1 Kings 17:13; Colossians 1:18).
    4. The Widow’s Provision (1 Kings 17:14-16)
      1. The meal did not cease (Matthew 6:33); her material needs were provided.
      2. The oil did not fail (2 Corinthians 12:9); her spiritual needs were provided.
      3. God’s provision was enough (Philippians 4:14-19); God provides for His own when they put Him first in the midst of need.
  3. USED TO RESURRECT THE WIDOW’S SON (1 Kings 17:17-24)
    1. The Death of the Widow’s Son (1 Kings 17:17-18)
      1. The son of the widow (1 Kings 17:17)
        1. He fell sick.
        2. His breath left him.
      2. The response of the widow (1 Kings 17:18)
        1. She questioned her connection with Elijah – What have I to do with thee?
        2. She questioned the cause of this tragedy?
          1. Were her sins being called to remembrance?
          2. Was her son going to be slain?
    2. The Resurrection of the Widow’s Son (1 Kings 17:19-22)
      1. Elijah took the widow’s son (1 Kings 17:19).
        1. Elijah called upon her to give him her son. Note: She had to give him up in order to receive him back.
        2. Elijah carried him to the loft and laid him on his own bed.
      2. Elijah cried unto the Lord (1 Kings 17:20).
        1. He pled with the Lord.
        2. He pled for the widow and her son.
      3. Elijah worked with the widow’s son (1 Kings 17:21).
        1. He stretched himself upon the child; a picture of him imparting his life to the child (compare 2 Kings 4:33-35).
        2. He stretched himself three times: a number connected with life and resurrection.
        3. He asked the Lord for the child’s soul to return. Note: Death occurs when the soul and the spirit leave the body (see Genesis 25:8 and Genesis 35:18).
      4. The Lord brought life back to the child (1 Kings 17:22).
        1. The Lord heard Elijah’s prayer.
        2. The soul of the child returned.
        3. The boy revived.
    3. His Restoration to His Mother (1 Kings 17:23-24)
      1. Elijah returned the child to his mother (1 Kings 17:23).
      2. The woman gave testimony (1 Kings 17:24).
        1. That Elijah was a man of God
        2. That the word of the Lord in Elijah’s mouth was truth

CONCLUSION: The lesson begins with judgment against the nation of Israel and King Ahab, but most of the lesson focuses on the trials of the man of God due to the judgment. Perhaps the lesson is that God provides for His own even in times of judgment.

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 26:25

When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.