Friday, April 5, 2013

E is for Elijah

Elijah is one of my favorite people in the Bible.  Most likely because he plays a major part in my favorite Bible account.

Elijah was the major prophet during the reign of one of the wickedest kings of Israel.  Most of the kings of the Northern Kingdom were wicked but Ahab takes the cake.  Married to Ahab is the even wickeder Jezebel who has set up Baal worship throughout the land while killing off God's priests and believers.

Elijah starts out by announcing a famine in 1 Kings 17.  God still takes care of him during this time of little food.  First, he feeds him with ravens and then he sends him to a widow to whom he gives a never emptying jar of flour and jug of oil. 

Then comes my favorite story in 1 Kings 18.  It's Elijah at Mount Carmel.  It's a showdown:  God vs. Baal. 

Elijah proposes a test.  Each side will take a bull and offer it and pray to their god and one that is supreme will light the fire on the altar.  He decides to let Baal go first.

The 450 prophets of Baal pray all day, even cutting themselves.  Elijah starts to feel pretty confident in God because he starts taunting them.

1 Kings 18:27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.”

Eventually, the prophets of Baal give up.  Then it's Elijah's turn.  He builds an altar, lays out his sacrificial bull and then douses his altar in 12 large jars of water.  Anyone knows that wet wood does not a fire make.  Elijah then prays to God and God answers by sending a massive pillar of fire that destroys everything about the altar, including the stones and the soil and the water. 

On a side note, I hope they have instant replay in heaven because I want to see that moment.  Moreover, I'd really like to see the faces of the 450 prophets of Baal who have just spent their entire day cutting themselves only to not have their prayers answered.  It had to been a sight to behold.

Anyway, directly after this, God decides to send rain back to the land (there was famine, remember).

After this, Elijah seems to have a hiccup in his faith.  Jezebel is not happy that her priests were all slaughtered after Elijah proved they were frauds and she threatens his life.  Elijah decides to go hide in a cave. God comes to him and asks what Elijah is doing.  After Elijah answers, God decides to come to him.  But he doesn't come to him in a great wind or an earthquake or a fire, he comes in a gentle whisper.  After that, Elijah has his faith restored and leaves the cave and does God's bidding.

Elijah is only one of two people in the Bible  who was taken directly to heaven without dying (the other was Enoch). 

Of all the Old Testament prophets, Elijah and Moses are considered the "greatest."  Neither of them has a grave.  Elijah was taken up in the whirlwind and Moses was buried by God so that no one knew where he was buried.  Very smart move on God's behalf.  With the track record of the Israelites, their gravesites could have easily turned into shrines. 

1 comment:

  1. I got rid of my "anonymous" option too. It really helps. :-) Popping in from the a-z. Very impressed with your theme. You know your stuff! Hope the job situation improves soon. It's a challenge being home w/ little ones...but it's
    the most important job you'll ever have. ;-)
    from The Dugout


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