And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.
1 Kings 17:1
I. There is no finer witness to the marvellous spirit and quenchless "power" of the prophet Elijah than the fact that the impression he made upon his contemporaries retained its clearness and shone as a star of hope on Jewish thought and life after the long period of nearly nine hundred years (see Luke 1:17; John 1:24; Matthew 16:14).
II. Nor was this incalculable influence due in any degree to the creative fancy of the age, suffering from the deliriums of oppression, hungering for conquering heroes, and impatient to see its Redeemer. It grew out of the actual man. Elijah is a mighty man of valour, one of the heroes of God. If Luther's words were half-battles, Elijah's were whole ones, and still carry the force of an unspent ball. Not more surely is "electricity" the key-word of our century, than spiritual energy is the key-word to the place and function of Elijah.
III. What are the sources of this clear-seeing and victory-winning courage? One bright, brief sentence tells all: "As the God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand" This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith in the living God, in whose immediate presence we speak, and stand, and work. Jeremy Taylor specifies three things as the chief instruments of holy living: (1) the care of our time, (2) purity of intention, and (3) the practice of the presence of God. Elijah found, as indeed we all may, that the third includes the first and second. The fact of the real presence of the living God, the idea of an irresistible mandate from God for a specific work, and the enormous power God infuses into solitary souls for His work, carry us to the secret sources of the courageous and powerful ministry of this sturdy, grandly independent, and brave man.
J. Clifford, Daily Strength for Daily Living, p. 223.
From these words we see: (1) that the life of Elijah was a constant vision of God's presence; (2) that his life was echoing with the voice of the Divine command; (3) that his life was full of conscious obedience.
Such a life will find its sole reward where it finds its inspiration and its law. The Master's approval is the servant's best wages.
A. Maclaren, Weekday Evening Addresses, p. 1.
References: 1 Kings 17:1.—W. M. Taylor, Elijah the Prophet, p. 1; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. v., p. 96; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xi., p. 16; J. M. Neale, Sermons in Sackville College, vol. iii., pp. 9 and 17; J. R. Macduff, The Prophet of Fire, pp. 3, 17. 1 Kings 17:1-7.—W. Landels, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxx., p. 376. 1 Kings 17:1-17.—J. R. Macduff, The Prophet of Fire, p. 49. 1 Kings 17:2-6.—W. M. Taylor, Elijah the Prophet, p. 20; J. R. Macduff, The Prophet of Fire, p. 35. 1 Kings 17:7-16.—W. M. Taylor, Elijah the Prophet, p. 38. 1 Kings 17:8, 1 Kings 17:9.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiv., No. 817. 1 Kings 17:8-24.—W. Landels, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxx., p. 393. 1 Kings 17:9.—T. Guthrie, Speaking to the Heart, p. 143. 1 Kings 17:13.—G. Matheson, Moments on the Mount, p. 120; J. M. Neale, Sermons in Sackville College, vol. iii., p. 24. 1 Kings 17:14.—J. Keble, Sermons for the Christian Year: Sundays after Trinity, Part I., p. 363; S. Baring-Gould, One Hundred Sermon Sketches, p. 185. 1 Kings 17:16.—Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 59; Ibid., Sermons, vol. vi., No. 290; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ii., p. 238. 1 Kings 17:17-24.—W. M. Taylor, Elijah the Prophet, p. 55; J. R. Macduff, The Prophet of Fire, p. 71. 1 Kings 17:18.—J. Keble, Sermons Preached in St. Saviour's, Leeds, 1845, p. 59; R. J. Wilberforce, Sermons for Sundays, Festivals, and Fasts, 2nd series, vol. i., p. 327. 1 Kings 17:23, 1 Kings 17:24.—J. M. Neale, Sermons in Sackville College, vol. iii., p. 31. 1 Kings 17:24.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ii., p. 526; J. O. Davies, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxviii., p. 296. 1 Kings 18:1-6.—Parker, Fountain, Feb. 1st, 1877; J. R. Macduff, The Prophet of Fire, p. 85. 1 Kings 18:1-19.—W. M. Taylor, Elijah the Prophet, p. 75. 1 Kings 18:1-46.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. v., p. 20. 1 Kings 18:3.—J. Jackson Wray, Light from the Old Lamp, p. 1.
And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,
Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.
So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.
And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,
Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.
And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.
And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.
And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.
For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.
And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.
And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.
And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him.
And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?
And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed.
And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?
And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again.
And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.
And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth.
And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.