Are you worried that you may never make it through your current challenges? Do you wish you knew more about God and how to get His help? Then you have some things in common with the Old Testament prophet, Elijah, and can take several lessons from his life.
We don’t really know anything about Elijah’s life before he became a prophet. The first we hear of him is when he prophesied that the Lord was about to cause a drought and famine. Perhaps he wondered how he would survive or what he was supposed to do. No doubt each of us feels the same way every now and again.
God quickly taught Elijah that he had no need to fear. He told Elijah to travel to Zarephath, where a widow was ready to provide food for him. But when Elijah found this widow, she told him that she was about to use the last of her food before she and her son starved. Elijah could’ve been angry at God or assumed that God had meant a different widow. Instead, he simply promised that if the widow fed him, God would make sure she didn’t run out of food. And that’s exactly what happened.
But then the widow’s son died shortly thereafter. Again, Elijah had the chance to wonder whether God actually wanted to help these people. Instead, Elijah used God’s power to raise the boy from the dead.
Elijah’s faith that God would provide is what allowed God to provide. We’ll need to remember the same thing when our lives start to get difficult or scary. If we follow God’s commandments no matter what, we can ask for and count on receiving blessings from Him, even if they’re not exactly the ones we would have expected.
Soon afterwards, Elijah was sick of watching the Israelites flip between worshipping the true God and false ones. He challenged the “prophets” of Baal to tell their god to send fire down to burn an offering. When no fire came, Elijah told the Israelites to pay attention. Then he soaked his own altar and offering in water and called down fire from heaven through his God. The Israelites were suitably humbled and worshipped the Lord.
Elijah knew a truth and proved it, both to the Israelites and to all of us: God is more powerful than anything or anyone else. He’s more powerful than illness, more powerful than unemployment, more powerful than depression, and on and on forever. He is the only help we need in order to conquer in any showdown.
But what’s usually hard for us isn’t reaching out to God; it’s recognizing when He reaches back. Elijah learned a thing or two about that as well. One day when Elijah was hiding for his safety, an angel came and told Elijah that God wanted to talk to him. There soon followed an earthquake and a fire, but God was in neither of those. It was only after hearing a still, small voice that Elijah felt God’s presence and began to talk with him.
Most of us realize that God doesn’t often speak to us in big or loud ways. Sometimes that bothers us, and we may insist on a stronger answer than God wants to give us. At other times, we forget to make sure our lives are quiet enough to hear God in the way He does talk to us. We need to take time to study the scriptures, pray, worship at the church and in the temple, and be still. Only then will we begin to feel Him.
We don’t have to challenge anyone to a duel or survive an earthquake to learn what we’ll need to know about God during our own hard times. Instead, we can learn from Elijah. If we obey God, trust Him, and listen for Him, He will use His matchless power to provide for and comfort us. He will be enough.
|What Eljah Did||What We Can Do|
|Went to Zarephath as God had said (1 Kings 17:5)||Obey God even when it doesn’t make sense|
|Promised the widow God would provide (17:14)||Have faith that God will provide for us|
|Asked God to bring back the widow’s son (17:21)||Ask God for the blessings we desire|
|Showed the people God’s power (18:21-38)||Believe that God is more powerful than anything|
|Listened for God’s voice (19:11-13)||Take time to be still and listen to God’s voice|
|Prophesied even when it was risky (21:18-24)||Share testimony even when we are afraid to|