An in depth study of the prophet Elijah
I. We first hear of Elijah in 1 Kings 17.
A. The Bible doesn’t tell us about Elijah’s past except where he came from, and that his name means Yahew is my God.
1. (1 Kings 17:1) And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.”
B. The town of Tishbe was a town east of the Jordan river where 2 of the tribes of Israel settled. We are not even told which tribe he was from, but it is believed that the tribe of Gad settled in this area.
C. Israel had a wicked king at this point King Ahab and his wife Jezebel were ruling the land and Jezebel especially had turned the nation away from God and towards the worship of Baal.
1. Baal was the Phoenician fertility god who sent rain and bountiful crops to the land. The worship of this god was extremely immoral in practice.
2. By shutting of the rain God was showing them that He is in control. He promised the people of Israel that God Himself would provide the rain for them in the fall and the spring if they followed Him and did not turn away. (Deuteronomy 28).
a. God held back the rain based on the prayers of Elijah. Elijah had a heart that wanted to see the people follow God and not the false idols promoted by the King Ahab.
D. Next we see that God is telling Elijah where he needs to go and how he will provide for him during this coming drought.
1. (1 Kings 17:2-7) Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying,“Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. “And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook. And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
2. The announcement to the king would place him in great danger. We will see later on that the king blames all the drought problems on Elijah. Ahab does not realize that it is his own sin that is causing the conditions in his country and that the actions of God through Elijah are just the results of the sin of idolatry.
a. So Elijah follows the instructions of God and gets out of there to the exact place that God tells him to go to. He trusts God to keep His Word and to provide for him there.
(1) it would have seemed odd to Elijah for him to go to a brook that is only around part of the time. There were many brooks in the area that flowed during the rainy season but then dried up when the weather turned hot and the rain was not falling. Still he trusted God and followed the commands even though he did not know all the things that God had planned for him.
(2) Do we take the instructions from God that we get and follow them without knowing the whole plan or do we take it a step at a time. Walking with God is to walk by faith.
3. God provided for him by having the ravens bring him food. The birds which were considered unclean by Jewish law would be brining him food suitable for Elijah. Warren Wiersbe points out in his commentary on 1 Kings that they did not bring the food that the birds would eat, but that God Himself provided the food and that the birds were the transportation to get the food to Elijah.
a. Here we see another example in the Bible that an animal is obeying God and doing as He asks of them. Much like we see in the book of Jonah. We also saw Baalams donkey would stop because the angel was there telling him to stop even though Baalam himself could not see the angel and would beat the donkey to get it to move. (Numbers 22:26-34)
b. We are created in the image of God and were created to have a special relationship with Him. We should know that He is not going to ask us to do things that will harm us, but yet we still have trouble following His instructions.
4. One last thing to note in this passage is that the brook dried up. Elijah could see that the brook was drying up and he knew that the brook always dried up in the hot season.
a. Elijah did not move from the location that God told him to go to. He was being fed by the ravens but the brook was his source of water and now it was gone. He still did not move until God told him the next step in the journey. He trusted God that all he needed would be provided for if he would just follow God and do what God asked.
b. Sometimes even when we are doing the work of God and following Him exactly the things in our life might dry up a little bit, but God has a plan and we need to be open to it and follow it as He leads.
(1) Take the lesson here from this passage and seek God, trust Him, and follow His instructions.
(2) Move and do when God says to.
(3) Stay put when God says to stay put even if it looks like the provision is drying up. God will always have a way to take care of His children.
II. Next we will look at how Elijah was provided for and the directions that God gave him to follow to make this happen. If you want to read ahead it is 1 Kings 17:8-24.
Journey Through The Life Of Elijah
An in depth study of the prophet Elijah
In the last lesson on Elijah we see him come upon the scene in Israel. He tells the wicked King Ahab that there will be no rain in the land until the prophet allows it. This is the message from God to show the idol worshiping king and his queen Jezebel that they are not worshiping the one true God. He then at God’s direction went and stayed by a brook and God had the ravens bring him food. (1 Kings 17:1-7)
Today we look at how God provided for the prophet when the brook dried up.
● Lets start with 1 Kings 17:8-14
○ Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.” 11 And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12 So she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”13 And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’ ”
○ There are a few things to point out in this passage.
○ Elijah was obedient and trusted God. We don’t know for sure how long he was being provided for by ravens and drinking from the brook before it dried up but some believe it was about a year. The famine had set in the whole area by now and the area that God was sending him to was no different.
- God was sending him to a gentile area close to the home town of Jezebel who was leading the nation astray.
- He was also sending him to a widow. Widows would be the first to run out of food and be starving during a famine.
- To follow God and do as He directed was a huge act of faith. Elijah was likely wondering why the brook had dried up when God had told him to be there, but without question he followed God and went the about 90 miles for this place.
- Wiersbe points out in his commentary that “When God sends us, we must obey and leave the rest to Him, for we don’t live on man’s expectations-we live on God’s promises.” Do we follow the direction of the Lord and do as He asks no matter how crazy it seems to us at the time? Do we focus on the things we perceive to be instead of focusing on what God can do with what looks like nothing?
○ Here God sends his prophet to this gentile woman that has nothing to offer him. We need to not ask God “how” when he tells us to do something, we just need to be obedient and trust God.
○ The faith of this “Gentile” or non-Israelite possibly an idol worshiper is also a big part of this as well.
- God told Elijah that He had instructed a widow to feed him but it would be up to Elijah to find the widow. Now we know that God works powerfully and arranges divine appointments everyday for people to fulfill the purpose that God has. This is likely what happened here in that God set this divine appointment up between the widow and Elijah. Even with divine appointments in our lives it is up to us to follow through with obedience for the divine appointment to be fulfilled.
- The widow and Elijah would both have had to be obedient to God for this to be carried out. They both did their parts and when they met and Elijah presented his request he asked for some water first to see if she was willing to give him that. After he asked for some food too. She told him of her plan to make one last meal for her and her son and then they would die.
- God said that He had instructed the widow to help but that does not mean that He told her that she would not starve to death if she did. The choice was still hers and she had the free will to help the prophet or not. Most of the time God does not reveal His plan to us and we don’t know the full outcome on one decision that we make. It is truly an act of faith.
- Her willingness to help the prophet and to give what little she had was what allowed God to work through this situation and provide for her family.
■ We feel at times that we have nothing to offer God. We only have a little for ourselves and nothing to give anybody else. We need to be willing to see what God can do with what we see as just a little. God can take what we view as almost nothing and accomplish great things.
■ This includes our time, resources, possessions, emotions, and anything that God has blessed us with.
● Lets see what God does with what the widow was willing to use for God and give to the prophet. 1 Kings 17:15-16
○ 15 So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.
○ So the widow did what Elijah had asked of her and God kept the promise that He made through Elijah in that her empty jars did not run empty. She had
enough flour and oil to keep all of them feed.
- Please notice in the text that it says that the bin of flour get used up or the jar of oil run dry. It does not say that because she was obedient that she had plenty for her family and all of her neighbors. It does not say that the containers were overflowing with oil and flour. God provided for her needs daily like he did for the people of Israel as they wandered in the desert for 40 years. Each day they went out to the desert and collected mana enough for the day only. Any extra would have gone rotten overnight and they had to get more the next day anyways. It is the same thing here God provided for them but only what they needed each day to survive.
■ As God provides for us He will provide what we need and not give us more of it then we need. We are to trust Him and seek Him for our daily bread (as it says in the Lord’s prayer). This is an everyday act of faith that He will provide. It requires action on our part each and everyday.
● 1 Kings 17:17-24
○ 17 Now it happened after these things that the son of the woman who owned the house became sick. And his sickness was so [a]serious that [b]there was no breath left in him. 18 So she said to Elijah, “What have I to do with you, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?” 19 And he said to her, “Give me your son.” So he took him out of her arms and carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed. 20 Then he cried out to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?” 21 And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, I pray, let this child’s soul come back to him.” 22 Then the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived. 23 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives!” 24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth.”
○ Some time later we see as Elijah was still with the widow and her son. God was providing for all of them each and everyday. During this time
Elijah was likely teaching them about the things of God. He is in a foreign land with people that likely don’t know about God.
- The son becomes sick and eventually dies. The widow immediately feels guilty of past sin and blames Elijah for this trouble.
■ this is the response many people have when trouble comes to them. They blame others for their problems. The widow must have been feeling guilty about things before this happened and instead of repenting she blames Elijah for the trouble that she feels has now come to her because of past sins.
■ she has seen the work of God through Elijah and enjoys it in the food not running out but now she feels that she is being punished for past stuff. People enjoy the good times and the blessings that God provides for them but when something in their life happens the first thing they do many times is to blame God or those close to God for the trouble.
- Elijah likely did not understand why God would allow the boy to die after all that had been done while he was there with the widow and her son.
■ this is another reminder that most times we will not understand what is reasons behind the things that happen. We need to trust and know that God knows what He is doing and that the result of even tragic events will be greater than anything that we can imagine. Especially from a spiritual perspective.
- He takes the boy up to the room he was staying in and stretched himself out over the top of him. He prayed to God for the boy and his mother.
- He prayed for the child’s life to be returned and after the 3rd time praying the child’s life was restored. The widow was fully convinced at this point that the God that Elijah served was the one true God.
- The death and resurrection of the boy was what God used to reach the widow and all that knew her. She proclaimed her new found belief. It is amazing the lengths that God sometimes has to go to reach people when they don’t believe. Elijah had been here for some time and the food had not run out yet she still had doubt about the God that Elijah served. We should be grateful that God is willing to do whatever is needed to reach us.
■ This is the same of all of us.
■ God wants to reach all of us and He is willing to do whatever is needed to accomplish His plan of a relationship with us.
Journey Through The Life Of Elijah
An in depth study of the prophet Elijah
● We have seen in the last 2 parts of his life that he came on the scene and that he proclaimed a judgment against Israel because of the idol worship of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. They had gotten the country to worship Baal, and the goddess Asherah who was basically a spouse to Baal.
○ the judgment was that there would be no rain in Israel until Elijah gave the word. Then after delivering this judgment God directed him to a place where he could get water and that ravens would bring food to him. Then after some time went by and the brook dried up God sent him to gentile land and got the help of a widow. God provided the food and oil so that it was just enough for what they needed. It would not run dry. Then after some time her son got sick and died. Elijah took the boy up to the room he was staying at and prayed to God to give the boy his life back. God answered the prayer and gave the boy his life back. The widow finally believed in the God of Elijah.
● Now we will continue to see what happens next in the life of the prophet. 1 Kings 18:1-15
○ 18 And it came to pass after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, “Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth.” 2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab; and there was a severe famine in Samaria. 3 And Ahab had called Obadiah, who was [a]in charge of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly. 4 For so it was, while Jezebel massacred the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah had taken one hundred prophets and hidden them, fifty to a cave, and had fed them with bread and water.) 5 And Ahab had said to Obadiah, “Go into the land to all the springs of water and to all the brooks; perhaps we may find grass to keep the horses and mules alive, so that we will not have to kill any livestock.” 6 So they divided the land between them to explore it; Ahab went one way by himself, and Obadiah went another way by himself. 7 Now as Obadiah was on his way, suddenly Elijah met him; and he recognized him, and fell on his face, and said, “Is that you, my lord Elijah?” 8 And he answered him, “It is I. Go, tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’ ” 9 So he said, “How have I sinned, that you are delivering your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me? 10 As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to hunt for you; and when they said, ‘He is not here,’ he took an oath from the kingdom or nation that they could not find you. 11 And now you say, ‘Go, tell your master, “Elijah is here” ’! 12 And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from you, that the Spirit of the Lord will carry you to a place I do not know; so when I go and tell Ahab, and he cannot find you, he will kill me. But I your servant have feared the Lord from my youth. 13 Was it not reported to my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord, how I hid one hundred men of the Lord’s prophets, fifty to a cave, and fed them with bread and water? 14 And now you say, ‘Go, tell your master, “Elijah is here.” ’ He will kill me!” 15 Then Elijah said, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely present myself to him today.”
● After 3 years of so God commands Elijah to go present himself to King Ahab. The drought at this point is severe and the king has put a price on the head of Elijah.
He has been looking for the prophet for all the time of the drought. He blames Elijah for making Baal the fertility god who was supposed to control and provide the rain look bad. The
country was also suffering under the lack of rain. King Ahab wanted to hold Elijah responsible for all of this.
○ the king and one of his top men Obadiah (not the minor prophet and writer of the book of the same name.) Obadiah was loyal to God and had worked to protect and provide for 100 prophets from Jezebel. He like Joseph in Genesis was a high ranking official under the King. The king and Obadiah went out to look for places to graze the animals. There would not be much left of that left with the lack of rain. Obadiah meets up with Elijah likely by divine appointment from God.
○ When Elijah tells him to go tell Ahab that he is here and will meet with the king Obadiah objects. He is scared that God will move Elijah somewhere else while Obadiah is gone to tell the king. Then the king will hold him accountable for not seeing Elijah. It would likely mean death if that was to happen.
- Would this be a concern for you? This is not something that I am thinking would be my number one concern unless God moving prophets supernaturally happened on a regular basis. We saw this in the new testament in the book of Acts with Phillip after he met with the Ethiopian Eunich, and then was taken by the Holy Spirit to a location several miles away. This must be something that is know to have happened because he is concerned that Elijah will come up missing after he leaves to go tell the king.
- Elijah promises that he will stay there and convinces him to go deliver the message. When a prophet of God tells you something you should believe them. So Obadiah went to get the king.
● 1 Kings 18:16-19: 16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?” 18 And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals. 19 Now therefore, send and gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
○ When King Ahab first sees the man he has been looking for the lat 3 years he immediately blames Elijah for the toruble that has come to Isreal. He is
still after all of this time, not willing to see that the sin of idol worship that he has lead the country into with his wife by his side has brought this to the land.
- Don’t be too hard on the king here because in our own lives sometimes we blame other people for problems in our lives; instead of looking at what we have done to cause it.
- After 3 years of drought though a person would think that a smart king would begin to look at what he is doing that is causing this. King Ahab did not though. He laid all blame at the feet of Elijah, who was only doing what God commanded him to do. None of this was Elijah’s fault.
○ Elijah proposes a meeting between the prophet of Baal and the prophets of Asherah (Baal’s wife and a goddess). This would decide which God was the true God. We will see next that the 450 prophet of Baal came, but apparently the 400 prophets of Asherah were a little too busy to come that day.
● 1 Kings 18:20-40: 20 So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. 21 And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. 23 Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. 24 Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.” So all the people answered and said, “It is well spoken.” 25 Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.” 26 So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us!” But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made.
27 And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. 29 And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention. 30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. 31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.” 32 Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, “Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.” 34 Then he said, “Do it a second time,” and they did it a second time; and he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. 35 So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water. 36 And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. 37 Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” 40 And Elijah said to. them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there.
○ Elijah was asking the people which God they believed in. The leadership of the king and queen had then waivering between Jehovah and Baal. The people were weak and lacking true conviction in their lives. It might have been that they were following both Gods so that if one let them down they could just turn to the other one. Baal was supposed to be the one who sent rain but that had not been happening so the people were confused about things. Their silence when asked by Elijah who they would follow was evidence to that fact.
○ The contest that Elijah was proposing was heavily in the favor of Baal. Even the location being on Mount Carmel was in the favor of Baal. The Mount was considered as a sacred place for Baal and so it would be “Baal’s Hometurf”.
- Elijah was the only prophet of God there that day to represent the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. He was outnumbered 450 to 1. The prophets of Baal got to choose which bull they want to sacrifice. They even go to go first. This should be an easy victory for Baal. All he had to do was sent a little fire to consume the offering . No problem.
- The prophets begin to offer the sacrifice and they are calling on Baal to come down and consume the bull and the alter. They called out to Baal all morning after the alter was prepared. This must have been quite a scene for 450 people to be praying for fire to fall from heaven. They started to leap about and dance to get the attention of Baal. Still nothing.
- After a few hours of this Elijah begins to mock them. He tells them to get louder because maybe Baal is asleep, or away on a trip. At this the prophets of Baal began to go to extremes in cutting themselves. The belief was if they punished themselves then Baal would respond and answer them. This is a lie the enemy has many people in even to this day. Many of todays youth believe that cutting is a good thing to do for different reasons. Mostly it is because they feel they have to hurt themselves to feel and self worth. It is sad that all these years later this is still a practice.
- At 3 PM the time of the evening sacrifice Elijah tells everyone that it is time for his turn. First he rebuilds a alter that was there built to the Lord. It was likely an alter that a follower had built and was destroyed by the prophets of Baal at some point. He dug a trench around it deep enough to hold about 13 quarts of something. In this cases it would end up being water because he had water brought from the near by spring to soak the alter so that there would be no chance of a human lighting this fire here.
- Then Elijah steps forward and prays a simple prayer for the fire to fall to show the undecided people once and for all who was most
powerful. Also it would show the people that He would forgive them if they turned back to Him. Without all the hours of praying and dancing and self-inflicting wounds the fire fell from
heaven with just a simple prayer from the prophet.
- The battle was over and the Lord had showed up and showed out by consuming the sacrifice, wood, alter, and all the water in the trench. When this happened the people acknowledged the winner. At that point Elijah commanded that all the prophets of Baal be held and they were put to death.
● So with that settled there was only one thing left to do and before we move on to the next chapter we will see it happen. Time to have it rain. God had said 3 years
prior to this that it would not rain again until he told Elijah to say that it would. This would be through the prayer of the prophet that the word would come for the rain to happen. 1
● 41 Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.” 42 So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, 43 and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.” 44 Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’ ” 45 Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel. 46 Then the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.
○ Elijah goes to the top of the mountain and begins to pray. He sends his servant out to look for rain but 6 times the servant sees nothing. No clouds, no rain, anything that would look like a end to the drought. On the 7th trip to look he reported back that there was a small cloud forming. Elijah then tells him to go tell King Ahab to head back to the city before the rain stops him from going. The little cloud of rain would not end the drought by itself but it was the beginning of what was to come. Soon the clouds would be black and the rains would come. God works that way in many cases. Starts with something small and then it goes into something big and powerful. Much like how the savior of the world came to earth in the form of a little baby.
- one more thing to note here is that after the clouds started forming God gave power to Elijah that even that with the king having a chariot to travel in to get back to the city. Elijah with the power of God and no chariot arrived at the city ahead of the king. Elijah did this on foot, and most scholars believe that this is significant because it shows that God was blessing his servant.
● All in all Elijah had a great day of serivce to the Lord. God was glorified and the nation turned back to him. Plus he got to outrun a chariot.
Journey Through The Life Of Elijah
An in depth study of the prophet Elijah
So far in the life if Elijah we have seen that the prophet of God has told there would be no rain untile he said that there would be. He was lead into the wilderness and was fed by ravens for a period of time. He then stayed with a widow and her son at the direction of God and the food did not run dry even during a famine and drought. The widow’s son got sick and died and Elijah brought him back to life. Then God told him to return to the land and find King Ahab. There was a contest to see if God was the true God or if the god that Ahab worshiped was the true god. The prophet did all they could to proved that Baal was supreme. They danced and shouted and even inflected harm on themselves to the point that Elijah made fun of them. When it was Elijah’s turn to show what his God could do covered the alter with water 3 times and made it clear that it was not by human means that the sacrifice would be consumed. Then he simply prayed and fire fell from heaven and all the people saw that the God of Israel was the one true God. After this Elijah goes on the mountain and prays for rain. A small cloud comes and then the rain began and the drought ended.
Now we will look at the next events of Elijah’s life and what happens after winning the super bowl of God battles.
● Elijah has just had the greatest response to a message from God that he has ever had. God showed who was real and who was just a false god. The prophets of Baal at
Elijahs command were put to death, and the rain came.
○ The victory that he was experiencing at this point was incredible.
○ He was at the pinnacle and we are going to see just how quickly a person can go from the mountain top to the valley. I have learned in my life that it is an easy fall from the penthouse to the outhouse.
○ Life is filled with highs and lows. Elijah has had a high and now he will have a low.
- 1 Kings 19:1-9 When Ahab got home, he told Jezebel everything Elijah had done, including the way he had killed all the prophets of Baal. 2 So Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.”
3 Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. 4 Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” 5 Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” 6 He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again. 7 Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to travel forty days and forty nights to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God. 9 There he came to a cave, where he spent the night.
○ So King Ahab goes home after this day where he saw a powerful display of God’s power and tells Queen Jezebel about the events that had happened.
- The king and queen did not start to praise God and call on the nation to repent of their sins. This should have been the response that they should have had. The queen instead is upset that all the prophets of Baal that she had trusted and looked after were killed sends a message to Elijah that she will kill him within a day.
- Elijah should have stood strong and not been in fear of her and her threat. Warren Wiersbe points out in his commentary on this book of the Bible that Jezebel was a smart woman and likely did not plan to kill Elijah at this point. He was extremely popular and must be stopped but if she made a martyr out of him then it would not go well for her and the king.
■ She was trying to scare him and it worked. Elijah took off and left town. Elijah after the last few years and his victory on the mountain should have reacted to the threat with confidence and not fear.
■ For 3 years Elijah had not done anything without being directed by God. He had some great victories for God and had experienced many powerful things. God had protected and provided for him for all this time and now he quickly gets out of the will of God with the threat from Jezebel.
■ He is tired from all of the things he has gone through over the last few years and especially the last few days. We see this in that he after leaving his servant behind continued on and to finally stopping for rest under a broom tree.
■ There he prayed for God to take his life. He has had enough. The prophet is suffering from emotional burnout, hunger, wearines, a lack of faith in the Lord, and likely a sense of failure.
* The work becomes tiring and when you are continually having to fight against the enemy to accomplish things for God it will cause all of these things to happen to a servant of God.
* he had a great victory on Mount Carmel but the threat made against him was not what he had in mind. He likely figured that even with the victory that he did not complete all that he was supposed to.
* He did not see the complete impact that the battle on Mount Carmel had for the work of God. Wiersbe points out that God rarely allows his servants to see all the good that they have done. He points out that servants of God must walk by faith and not by sight.
* This had to be his weakest moment.
- At this weak moment when Elijah was in desperate need of some rest and food God provides for him with an angel to make him some food for him to give him strength. He also allowed Elijah to get some rest. We are not told how long it is that he slept but the angel woke him a second time and after eating for the second time he left for his journey which took 40 days to get to Mount Sinai where he found a cave to stay in.
- 1 Kings 19:9-19 9 There he came to a cave, where he spent the night. But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
10 Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
14 He replied again, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
15 Then the Lord told him, “Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. 16 Then anoint Jehu grandson of Nimshi[a] to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet. 17 Anyone who escapes from Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and those who escape Jehu will be killed by Elisha! 18 Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!”
○ In the cave Elijah stopped and waited for God to come. He had taken the journey and had now stopped. Here he waited apon the Lord. People
still do this today. People will take time to get away from the normal everyday life and go get some rest and draw closer to God.
- When God does come he asks a simple question of Elijah in “What are you doing here?” Really God already knew what he was doing there but he wanted the prophet to say why he was there.
- Elijah really did not answer the question he just stated facts about what had happened and how he saw the outcome. This shows that he is feeling of somewhat of a failure.
- God does not rebuke him or condemn him for his actions of running in fear. He tells him to go stand on the mountain.
■ What happens next is that Elijah sees three awesome displays of the power of God. While all of these are displays of God’s power, God’s presence was not in them. Elijah knew this. God does in other times in the old testament speak to his people in those ways and his presence is in those kinds of events. That was not the case this time though. Elijah knew enough to be able to tell the things that have God’s presence on and in them and those that don’t. This is something that we all need to be able to do.
■ Many Christians feel that when God moves it will be massive and a big show. That is not the case God moves in all ways but it is mainly in the still quiet ways that he moves the most. The first part of Psalm 46:10 tells us to “Be still and know that I am God.”
■ Are you having trouble “feeling”close to God or seeing him work in your life? Well then maybe you are looking at the wrong things in your life for his work and presence. Just take some time to slow down and seek Him. When we do that He will show up. James tells us to Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you. Being still and seeking God in the calmness is drawing closer to Him. You are focusing on Him and giving Him the chance to meet with you.
■ Wiersbe points out that another thing God was showing Elijah in these displays of power was that He controls everything and that He can work through anything.
* When Elijah heard the still small voice he covered his face and stepped out of the cave to meet with God. At this point God asks him again “What are you doing here?” The prophet repeats his complaint again. Basically he was having a pity party about things and God was not going to have that. In the past when people like Joshua (Joshua 7), and Samuel (1 Samuel 16), got to this point God told them basically to get back to work. Elijah is no different here.
* He first tells him to return to where he came from and along the way to anoint a couple of people to be kings and then to anoint Elisha to take over as prophet for him.
* His work was not done though, Elijah would have the honor of appointing his successor and then working with him for a while before his ministry ended.
* Also God tells him that the work has not been futile. God is raising up 7000 people who had been faithful. Basically he was beginning a revival in the land with these people who have remained faithful.
* This would have been a big encouragement to Elijah to know that the work he has been doing has not been wasted. Also he now knows that his ministry will be ending and that a new person hand picked by God will take his place. It will take a little while but he knows it will happen.
* He is being told to trust God and have faith, and to complete the work he has been called to do. One last thing is to stop feeling bad about failures or things that he thought were failures. We don’t know how God is moving in the faithful things we do for Him.
* So take heart if you are doing work for the Lord and don’t feel like the results are there, trust in God. He will not allow your obedience and faithfulness to go to waste.
○ 1 Kings 19:19-21 19 So Elijah went and found Elisha son of Shaphat plowing a field. There were twelve teams of oxen in the field, and Elisha was plowing with the twelfth team. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak across his shoulders and then walked away. 20 Elisha left the oxen standing there, ran after Elijah, and said to him, “First let me go and kiss my father and mother good-bye, and then I will go with you!”
Elijah replied, “Go on back, but think about what I have done to you.”
21 So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.
○ So Elijah left and went and did all the things that the Lord commanded him to do. He was re-energized in his work and likely felt good that all of his time had not been wasted.
- We don’t see a record of him anointing the kings but we will see later that what God said would happen by those people anointed will come to pass. We see him go and find Elisha and put his cloak on Elisha’s shoulders. Doing this meant that he was passing the torch so to speak. Elisha makes a request that confuses some people.
- Some people feel that Elisha is confused and not wanting to let go of family and his life.
■ This is not the case by him asking this and then killing the oxen, and using the plow as firewood to heat the meal, he is basically destroying everything in his life. We would call this burning his bridges behind him.
■ He did this to show and for him to know for certain that there would be no returning to the former life because it is not there now.
* When we accept Christ we should be “spiritually burning our bridges of our old life. We need to completely leave the old lifestyle of sin and commit to this new life completely.
* Have you done this in your life.
Journey Through The Life Of Elijah
An in depth study of the prophet Elijah
When we last saw Elijah it was the end of chapter 19 of 1 Kings and he had been sent by God to anoint Elisha as his successor. After the victory on Mount Carmel, Jezebel threatened to kill him and he fled in fear to the wilderness. After an angel comes and makes a couple of meals for him for strength a couple of times, he makes his way to Mount Sinai. There he has an encounter with God and receives instructions about some kings to anoint and also Elisha will be a prophet to take the mantle from Elijah.
The next time we see Elijah is in chapter 21. King Ahab has had the country at war with other nations. Elijah is not the only prophet that is here at this time. As God had promised there was people in the land that had not bowed to Baal. Out of those people God raised up some prophets. This prophets are not mentioned by name but we are told about the advise and instructions that they gave King Ahab about the battles that would happen. This all takes place in 1 Kings Chapter 20. I encourage you to read that chapter at some time. We are going to stay with Elijah and put up again in Chapter 21.
In this chapter we see that there is a piece of land that borders the land the land of the palace of King Ahab. The king wants this land and tries to make a deal to get
1 Kings 21:1-16 Now there was a man named Naboth, from Jezreel, who owned a vineyard in Jezreel beside the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. 2 One day Ahab said to Naboth, “Since your vineyard is so convenient to my palace, I would like to buy it to use as a vegetable garden. I will give you a better vineyard in exchange, or if you prefer, I will pay you for it.” 3 But Naboth replied, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance that was passed down by my ancestors.” 4 So Ahab went home angry and sullen because of Naboth’s answer. The king went to bed with his face to the wall and refused to eat! 5 “What’s the matter?” his wife Jezebel asked him. “What’s made you so upset that you’re not eating?” 6 “I asked Naboth to sell me his vineyard or trade it, but he refused!” Ahab told her. 7 “Are you the king of Israel or not?” Jezebel demanded. “Get up and eat something, and don’t worry about it. I’ll get you Naboth’s vineyard!” 8 So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, sealed them with his seal, and sent them to the elders and other leaders of the town where Naboth lived. 9 In her letters she commanded: “Call the citizens together for a time of fasting, and give Naboth a place of honor. 10 And then seat two scoundrels across from him who will accuse him of cursing God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.” 11 So the elders and other town leaders followed the instructions Jezebel had written in the letters. 12 They called for a fast and put Naboth at a prominent place before the people. 13 Then the two scoundrels came and sat down across from him. And they accused Naboth before all the people, saying, “He cursed God and the king.” So he was dragged outside the town and stoned to death. 14 The town leaders then sent word to Jezebel, “Naboth has been stoned to death.” 15 When Jezebel heard the news, she said to Ahab, “You know the vineyard Naboth wouldn’t sell you? Well, you can have it now! He’s dead!” 16 So Ahab immediately went down to the vineyard of Naboth to claim it.
So here we see that King Ahab wanted the land next to the palace so that he could have a garden there close by. He made Naboth a reasonable offer to give him a better vineyard or to pay for it outright. Naboth being a man of character and not concerned about making a profit to disobey God refused it saying that he could not sell it to the king. The property as the Jewish people viewed it was God’s property. He gave it to the people of Israel to use. In Leviticus 25:23-28 the rules are told about property remaining in the family that it was given to the family in the covenant. No member of the family could sell it because it belonged to the whole family and not just 1 person. So no matter how good the offer to buy it was Naboth could not sell it to the king under the rules of God.
The king goes home and pouts about it and Jezebel gets involved and has the man and his family stoned to death so that Ahab can have the land. This shows how wicked the queen was in not respecting the law from God and admiring the man for his conviction to not sell it in violation of the law. She cared nothing for God or for anybody who followed God obediently. So in her having Naboth killed and then King Ahab taking the land for himself they were guilty of murder and stealing the land. Much like what David did to cover his adultery with Bathsheba. David had her husband killed and then took his wife as his own. What the king and queen did here did not go unnoticed by God. Elijah is sent to confront King Ahab about this.
1 Kings 21:17-29 17 But the Lord said to Elijah, 18 “Go down to meet King Ahab of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He will be at Naboth’s vineyard in Jezreel, claiming it for himself. 19 Give him this message: ‘This is what the Lord says: Wasn’t it enough that you killed Naboth? Must you rob him, too? Because you have done this, dogs will lick your blood at the very place where they licked the blood of Naboth!’” 20 “So, my enemy, you have found me!” Ahab exclaimed to Elijah. “Yes,” Elijah answered, “I have come because you have sold yourself to what is evil in the Lord’s sight. 21 So now the Lord says, ‘I will bring disaster on you and consume you. I will destroy every one of your male descendants, slave and free alike, anywhere in Israel! 22 I am going to destroy your family as I did the family of Jeroboam son of Nebat and the family of Baasha son of Ahijah, for you have made me very angry and have led Israel into sin.’ 23 “And regarding Jezebel, the Lord says, ‘Dogs will eat Jezebel’s body at the plot of land in Jezreel.’ 24 “The members of Ahab’s family who die in the city will be eaten by dogs, and those who die in the field will be eaten by vultures.” 25 (No one else so completely sold himself to what was evil in the Lord’s sight as Ahab did under the influence of his wife Jezebel. 26 His worst outrage was worshiping idols just as the Amorites had done—the people whom the Lord had driven out from the land ahead of the Israelites.) 27 But when Ahab heard this message, he tore his clothing, dressed in burlap, and fasted. He even slept in burlap and went about in deep mourning. 28 Then another message from the Lord came to Elijah: 29 “Do you see how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has done this, I will not do what I promised during his lifetime. It will happen to his sons; I will destroy his dynasty.”
So we see that Elijah is given a message to tell King Ahab that him and Jezebel will die and that the dogs will lick up there blood. The whole family will be destroyed because of the wicked acts done by the king and queen. This is the judgment for the acts that they had done. There has been many things that they have done as the leaders of the country to turn it away from God, but this is the last thing that seals their fate. Upon hearing this Ahab repents and seems to be truly sorry about what he has done. God sends another message to Elijah to tell him that since King Ahab has repented He will hold off from destroying the entire family until after Ahab is dead. Ahab was killed on the battle field and the dogs licked him blood at the pool of Samaria (1 Kings 22:37-38). Then Ahab’s son was killed on what was Naboth’s property where the dogs licked his blood. (2 Kings 9:14-37). The repentance did not last long at the next chance to turn from sin and obey God Ahab chose poorly and disobeyed God and His commands. (This can be seen in 1 Kings chapter 22.
The next time we see Elijah it is in 2 Kings. King Ahab has died and his son, Ahaziah is leading the country. We see at the end of 1 Kings that he has been in
power for about 2 years and has followed in the ways of his mother and father. He was a wicked king and worshiped Baal. 1 Kings 22:51 says that he provoked God to anger for doing all the
things his father had done. (Paraphrased). So we see in 2 Kings 1 that the king will have an accident and wants to know if he will survive from the accident.
2 Kings 1:1-18
1 After King Ahab’s death, the land of Moab rebelled against Israel. 2 One day Israel’s new king, Ahaziah, fell through the latticework of an upper room at his palace in Samaria and was seriously injured. So he sent messengers to the temple of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to ask whether he would recover. 3 But the angel of the Lord told Elijah, who was from Tishbe, “Go and confront the messengers of the king of Samaria and ask them, ‘Is there no God in Israel? Why are you going to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to ask whether the king will recover? 4 Now, therefore, this is what the Lord says: You will never leave the bed you are lying on; you will surely die.’” So Elijah went to deliver the message.
5 When the messengers returned to the king, he asked them, “Why have you returned so soon?” 6 They replied, “A man came up to us and told us to go back to the king and give him this message.
‘This is what the Lord says: Is there no God in Israel? Why are you sending men to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to ask whether you will recover? Therefore, because you have done this, you will never
leave the bed you are lying on; you will surely die.’” 7 “What sort of man was he?” the king demanded. “What did he look like?” 8 They replied, “He was a hairy man, and he wore a leather
belt around his waist.” “Elijah from Tishbe!” the king exclaimed. 9 Then he sent an army captain with fifty soldiers to arrest him. They found him sitting on top of a hill. The captain said to
him, “Man of God, the king has commanded you to come down with us.” 10 But Elijah replied to the captain, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and destroy you and your fifty
men!” Then fire fell from heaven and killed them all. 11 So the king sent another captain with fifty men. The captain said to him, “Man of God, the king demands that you come down at
once.” 12 Elijah replied, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and destroy you and your fifty men!” And again the fire of God fell from heaven and killed them all. 13
Once more the king sent a third captain with fifty men. But this time the captain went up the hill and fell to his knees before Elijah. He pleaded with him, “O man of God, please spare my life and
the lives of these, your fifty servants.
14 See how the fire from heaven came down and destroyed the first two groups. But now please spare my life!” 15 Then the angel of the Lord said to Elijah, “Go down with him, and don’t be afraid of him.” So Elijah got up and went with him to the king. 16 And Elijah said to the king, “This is what the Lord says: Why did you send messengers to Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, to ask whether you will recover? Is there no God in Israel to answer your question? Therefore, because you have done this, you will never leave the bed you are lying on; you will surely die.” 17 So Ahaziah died, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah. Since Ahaziah did not have a son to succeed him, his brother Joram became the next king. This took place in the second year of the reign of Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. 18 The rest of the events in Ahaziah’s reign and everything he did are recorded in The Book of the History of the Kings of Israel.
There is a few things here to talk about. The king has his accident and sends people to inquire of the prophets of Baal-Zebub if he will recover or not. The Lord God of Israel sends Elijah to find the messengers and answer the question that he will not survive. The king did wrong by asking of a false god what would happen to him. Many people today still do this they will talk to a physic, or consult tarot cards to ask about the future. We should be asking of the true living God who created us and loves us. He knows the answers and will show us the way through life. He knows what is best for us and does things that are best for us even when we don’t think so at the time. Also he will not always show us the thing that we what to know because knowing the answer to that is not best for us. We need to trust Him. The message that God was sending to the king through Elijah was that the king needed to seek the one true God. Upon receiving the news of his death and that it was from Elijah and not the prophets that he sent them to seek the answer from the king sent men to basically arrest Elijah. The first 2 captains that went to arrest him with 50 men each where consumed by fire. They called Elijah “a man of God” which was basically calling him a prophet. This was not a confession of faith by any means for the captain. They both came with the attitude to follow them because they were in charge because they had orders from the king. God showed them who was truly in charge and it should been a lesson to all the people of the land and most importantly to the king. A king who when hearing of his soon death did not repent of his actions but instead wanted to capture the messenger.
The third captain came with a believing heart and submitting to Elijah asked Elijah to spare his life and the lives of his men. We are to approach God with a submissive heart and spirit, giving Him the respect He deserves. Elijah went with this captain and his men at the direction of the Angel of the Lord. The message did not change from what he said the first time with the messengers to what he said face to face with the king. He delivered his message and the the king did die from his injury as Elijah had said. If the king had repented and turned from his wicked ways then God might have changed his mind and allowed him to recover. The message does not change but it should change us.
Now we will see about the great ride that Elijah is about to take. Elisha has been with Elijah now for some time and has learned a great deal from the prophet. It is
now time for Elijah to be taken from him.
2 Kings 2:1-12 1 When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were traveling from Gilgal. 2 And Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, for the Lord has told me to go to Bethel.” But Elisha replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you!” So they went down together to Bethel. 3 The group of prophets from Bethel came to Elisha and asked him, “Did you know that the Lord is going to take your master away from you today?” “Of course I know,” Elisha answered. “But be quiet about it.” 4 Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, for the Lord has told me to go to Jericho.” But Elisha replied again, “As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you.” So they went on together to Jericho. 5 Then the group of prophets from Jericho came to Elisha and asked him, “Did you know that the Lord is going to take your master away from you today?” “Of course I know,” Elisha answered. “But be quiet about it.” 6 Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, for the Lord has told me to go to the Jordan River.” But again Elisha replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you.” So they went on together. 7 Fifty men from the group of prophets also went and watched from a distance as Elijah and Elisha stopped beside the Jordan River. 8 Then Elijah folded his cloak together and struck the water with it. The river divided, and the two of them went across on dry ground! 9 When they came to the other side, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I can do for you before I am taken away.” And Elisha replied, “Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit and become your successor.” 10 “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah replied. “If you see me when I am taken from you, then you will get your request. But if not, then you won’t.” 11 As they were walking along and talking, suddenly a chariot of fire appeared, drawn by horses of fire. It drove between the two men, separating them, and Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 Elisha saw it and cried out, “My father! My father! I see the chariots and charioteers of Israel!” And as they disappeared from sight, Elisha tore his clothes in distress.
Both men know what is coming. It is time for God to take His servant home and for Elisha to fully begin his ministry. Wiersbe points out that the places that the men went to were significant to the people of Israel. Bethel is where Abraham made an alter to the Lord, the nation had to cross the Jordan River to enter into the promised land. Jericho was the first city that Joshua needed to conquer as they took possession of the land. Elijah was also encouraging followers of God there at each place. Paul did a similar thing when he went to cities on his way to Rome. Paul knowing he would not see them again wanted to encourage them to stay strong and say good bye. Elijah did something similar here.
Each time he told Elisha to stay while he continued on and Elisha refused. This was a fulfillment of the promise that Elisha made to stay with Elijah and follow him no matter what. Also by crossing the Jordan it meant that when Elisha came back he would have to cross the Jordan river as Joshua had to conquer the land. Elisha would have to cross the Jordan to start his ministry. Elijah asked Elisha what he wanted from him before he left and Elisha said a double portion of the spirit of his master Elijah. Wiersbe points out in his commentary that, this was not and arrogant request, he was asking for double the
courage, faithfulness, faith in God, and obedience to God’s will. He knew the challenges that would come and he wanted to be strong enough to handle all of them the way God would want him to. Do you feel that this is something you should be asking God to give you?
Elijah told him that it was not his to grant but that gave him a clear sign as to if the request would be granted or not. When Elijah was taken to heaven Elisha saw it and the request was granted of him.
In the verses that follow Elisha picks up the cloak of Elijah and begins his ministry. He uses it to cross the Jordan river to where the other prophets are waiting. They must not have seen the chariot take Elijah up to heaven because they want to search for Elijah. Elisha tries to discourage them but finally allows them to look and then tells them when they can’t find him that he told them not to go.
This is not the last that we see of Elijah. He is seen by Peter, James, and John on the mount of transfiguration in Matthew 17. Also many believe that Eijah is one of the 2 witnesses that will be in Isreal during the days of the tribulation from the book of Revelation. This is a common belief but the witnesses are not identified in the book of Revelation. One of them may be Elijah but nobody is completely sure.
The man things that we need to see from the life of the prophet Elijah is that he followed The Lord greatly. He suffered from fatigue and made mistakes like giving into fear and ran from Jezebel. He was willing to follow God and do what God asked of him.