Study Notes

1Kings 19:1-21


As you remember from last week's study, Elijah the prophet had a showdown with the 450 prophets of BAH-al. When God answered by fire, and BAH-al was nowhere to be found, the people of Israel recognized that God was the true god.

Elijah had all of the prophets of BAH-al put to death, and then told King Ahab that the drought was coming to an end. When we left off, we saw Ahab riding in his chariot to Jezreel, and Elijah supernaturally outrunning him there.

19:1-2 Jezebel's Threat

When Ahab told his evil wife Jezebel the events of the day, she vowed to kill Elijah for what he had done. She sent a message to Elijah telling him that he wouldn't be alive in 24 hours.

She swore by her false gods, saying,

1Kgs. 19:2 ..."So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow..."

Elijah was trembling with fear when he heard this message. But he didn't have to. In the book of Acts, we read of Paul's similar trouble. He was in Jerusalem at the temple, when some of his Jewish enemies saw him. They grabbed him and shouted that he was a preacher against the Law, and that he had brought Gentiles into the temple and defiled it. The crowd dragged him away and were beating him to death. Some Roman soldiers got in the middle of the mob and arrested Paul. While in custody, Paul became the object of a plot on his life.

Acts 23:12-13 And when it was day, the Jews formed a conspiracy and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. And there were more than forty who formed this plot.

But the Lord made sure that the Romans got word of the plot, so they guarded Paul and delivered him safely to the governor. The hours turned into days, and then weeks, and then months. Needless to say, the forty who had sword an oath not to eat or drink failed in their mission. Their oath meant nothing in regards to victory.

David wrote in Psalm 37,

Ps. 37:12-13 The wicked plots against the righteous, and gnashes at him with his teeth. The Lord laughs at him; For He sees his day is coming.

Do you see why there is no reason to fear the threats of the wicked? I have seen Christians get bent out of shape because a satanist put a curse on them. I have seen Christians fearful that someone high up in the company wanted to see them fired. I have seen Christians tremble when they are threatened. But don't fall into that trap - the Lord will fight for you, and their oaths mean nothing.

19:3-4 Elijah Afraid

Elijah took this threat on his life very seriously, and "ran for his life" to Be-AYR SHEH-bah. There, he left his servant, and continued on for another day into the wilderness. At that point, he despaired of life and asked God to kill him.

What a terrible time in Elijah's life! First, he had fled in fear, but then left his servant behind in Be-AYR SHEH-bah and continued on alone into the wilderness. I have seen too many Christians follow this path as well.

You see, in Be-AYR SHEH-bah, there were many wells that Abraham had dug (Gen. 21:30; 26:15). Water was available and accessible. But in the wilderness of Be-AYR SHEH-bah, it was dry and barren (Gen. 21:15).

Elijah left his servant and the place of water, and went into the dryness of the desert alone. In the Scriptures, the servant speaks of the godly person, since the greatest among us are those that serve us (Matt. 23:11).

How many times we have seen people encounter difficulties, and instead of abiding in the place of the godly, and drinking in the water of the Word of God, they leave the fellowship, leave the godly people, and the water of the Word behind, and go off into the wilderness alone. No fellowship, no Scripture. And it is there that they despair of life.

Saints, the time that you're tempted to abandon fellowship and the Word is the worst possible time to be out of fellowship and the Word. The church is the place where you will be encouraged and built up. As the writer of Hebrews said,

Hebr. 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.

The worse things get in this life, the more you need to be in fellowship and the Word, so that God and His people can encourage you and minister to you.

19:5-7 An Angel Ministers To Elijah

In Elijah's despair, an angel ministered to him. Bread and water were left for him. Twice, the angel appeared, telling him to eat. But the second time, there was more information. On the second visit, the angel told him that the journey was too great for him.

I have heard it said by so many Christians, "God will never give you more than you can handle." I disagree greatly with that statement. First of all, they are misquoting 1Corinthians 10:13...

1Cor. 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.

True, you will never be tempted so extremely that you have to sin. But the Bible never promises that life will always be easy enough to handle on your own. As a matter of fact, God will often do many things in your life to teach you that self-reliance is not His desire for your life. He wants you to always be relying on Him.

Paul the apostle underwent difficulties in his life that were so extreme, he couldn't handle them on his own. He said,

2Cor. 1:8-10 For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came {to us} in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a {peril of} death, and will deliver {us,} He on whom we have set our hope...

Paul's trials were too much for him to bear apart from God. Elijah's trial is the same. He said,

1Kgs. 19:4 ..."It is enough; now, O LORD, take my life..."

What we as Christians should be saying is not, "God will never give you more than you can handle," but in reality, "God will always carry you through impossible situations if you rely on him instead of yourself."

The journey was too great for Elijah, so an angel provided bread and water for him.

19:8 In The Strength

Fueled by the food that the angel gave to him, Elijah lasted for forty days, traveling all the way to Kho-RABE, which we usually call Mount Sinai, the mountain where God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, and were Moses later received the Ten Commandments.

19:9-13 God Meets Elijah At The Cave

Elijah finds a cave in Kho-RABE, and God asks him what he's doing there. He tells the Lord that the state of the people of Israel is terrible - idolatry running rampant and prophets being killed. He said that he alone was left of the faithful.

Now, although many people had forsaken the Lord, Elijah's take on the situation was not entirely true. Obadiah had just told Elijah a few days before that he had saved 100 prophets of God from being killed - hiding them in caves. After the showdown with the 450 prophets of BAH-al, the people all..

1Kgs. 18:39 ...fell on their faces; and they said, "The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God."

But Elijah is despairing and depressed - exaggerating the situation he was in. "There's no one left - I'm the only follower of God around." I find that when I'm in a situation of depression and despair that I do the same thing - the problems are magnified and exaggerated, becoming the biggest, most extreme situation ever.

God wants to minister the truth to Elijah, to speak to him. To let him know that he is not the only one. On this same mountain years before, God had spoken to Moses. And He had spoken to him in very supernatural circumstances.

Exod. 19:16-20 So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who {were} in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai {was} all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder. And the LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

Elijah is on Kho-RABE, Mt. Sinai. He is seeing the same radical occurrences that Moses did - fire, earthquakes, and storms. But God wasn't speaking through those vehicles this time. He wasn't in any of them this time. This time, He was speaking through the sound of a gentle blowing.

I can't tell you how many people come to me in a crisis and say that they need to hear from God, and that they're waiting for a supernatural voice from heaven, a miraculous occurrence, a mystical manifestation - waiting for God to speak through a fire, earthquake, or storm.

But in reality, God desires to speak to you through that gentle blowing, through His still small voice. God doesn't need to supernaturally carve out the law onto tablets of stone with His finger, for He has placed it within you, the law written on your heart. God doesn't need to get in your face with a fire, for He has baptized you with the Spirit and with fire - the Spirit living inside of you, ministering to you from within - gently, a soft blowing breeze.

So hearing from God is not a matter of looking outwardly and expectantly for some supernatural sign - it is listening inwardly and patiently for that gentle blowing breeze, that still small voice.

19:14-17 God's Instructions

Again, God asks Elijah what he is doing there in the cave. Again, Elijah answers exactly as he had before. But the Lord told him what was really up. He is to go back to Damascus and anoint a prophet and two kings: Khaz-aw-ALE will be the new king of Aram, and Jehu will be king over Israel. Elisha, the son of Shaw-FAWT of Aw-BALE Mekh-o-LAW will be Elijah's successor.

God then speaks a prophecy of judgment, that we will see fulfilled soon in Kings.

19:18 The Remnant

God also lets Elijah know that there are 7,000 people in Israel that have not become worshippers of BAH-al. The Lord has always insured that there has been a remnant of faithful people on the earth. Throughout the generations, when it seemed that the entire world had forsaken God, there were always some that stayed faithful. This is encouraging, for as we look around at the world today, even those that are holding to a Christian label are of the world. Carnality abounds in the church as well as the world. But God has preserved a remnant - are you among them?

19:19-21 Elisha

Elisha is plowing the field when Elijah walks up and throws his mantle on him. The mantle is a piece of clothing similar to a cape or scarf. This must have been a familiar ritual of either calling someone as a servant or anointing someone for a position, for Elisha knows immediately that he is being called away from the field and farming, even though Elijah had kept on walking.

He ran up to Elijah and asked if he could say goodbye to his parents before going. Elijah's answer indicates that Elisha is accountable to God, not to him.

Elisha took the opportunity to make a sacrifice to the Lord, bless the people he lived with and by, and followed after Elijah.

This was entirely different than the man to whom Jesus said, "Follow me."

Luke 9:59 ...But he said, "Permit me first to go and bury my father."

The man was saying, "When my parents have passed away, it will be a more opportune time to follow You. I'll have an inheritance, and I'll be able to get things done between now and then."

The Lord has called each of us to follow Him. But what has our response been? "Give me a minute to pack some things"? Or has it been, "Give me a few years to get things straightened out, and then I'll come"?

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