Elijah Predicts a Drought
17 Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” And the word of the LORD came to him: “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. 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. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.
The Widow of Zarephath
Then the word of the LORD came to him, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” And she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now 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.” And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.’” And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD that he spoke by Elijah.
Elijah Raises the Widow’s Son
After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill. And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. And she said to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!” And he said to her, “Give me your son.” And he took him from her arms and carried him up into the upper chamber where he lodged, and laid him on his own bed. And he cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?” Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, let this child’s life come into him again.” And the LORD listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house and delivered him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives.” And the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.”
1 Kings 17 Commentary
by Hank Workman
It would be 41 years of spiritual darkness coming upon the people of Israel. With Ahab reigning, the only light that would pierce and be a nuisance to him and the people, was the blinding light of God coming through the prophet Elijah. The light of God was incredibly offensive.
Elijah would be the first in a long line of important prophets who would be led to speak to these faithless leaders. Most of the priests who had been originally in Israel had moved to Judah. The priests that the kings appointed or stayed were corrupt. So with no godly king, no priests to speak and teach the Word, God called these prophets to have the daunting task of speaking hard truth. It was never received well.
The sheer reality was 41 of these dark years was through Ahab. Beginning here, God sent prophets to the darkness for over 300 years! Let your mind consider that a moment. Older than the nation of the United States – spiritual darkness ruled where God was not mentioned except through a lone voice at times; there was no hope; there was no purpose; pagan worship was practiced.
It puts it into perspective a bit.
We don’t know a lot about the background of Elijah. The Bible tells us he simply was a man who was a Tishbite, a region of Gilead. But what we do know is this man had a single-minded commitment to God that would be bold in confrontation with little comfort to the people God directed him to – mainly King Ahab.
Throughout his ministry, he would predict and see it come to pass, a 3-year drought that went in the face of the god Baal, a god of weather. He was used to restore a dead child back to life. Most famously he would confront the prophets of Baal and Asherah in a showdown like none other. He also is one who appeared to Jesus in the scene of transfiguration alongside Moses.
He would be known as one of Israel’s greatest prophets because of the amazing miracles God worked through him. That does not mean it was easy for him. The passages concerning Elijah show a man who struggled greatly. He wrestled with loneliness constantly and we read of times where God confronted Elijah over this, which is interesting. Often choosing to do things on his own, he would feel as though he was the only one doing God’s work, when what revealed was there were other Believers in the land, over 7000 in fact, that were sold out to God. His emotions, however, skewed the reality.
Elijah’s life shows an incredible thing – he had a deep relationship with God regardless of his doubts. God would coax and work in him when he failed or struggled and lead him toward following when it is apparent he was ready to give up.
There are many things we all would like to do for God. What his life shows us though is he first was in tune with his God and worked on that relationship continually. Truly the miracle of all miracles from Elijah’s life was his deeply personal relationship with God. That same miracle is available to each of us.
1 Kings 17 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Since Baal was considered the god of the sky, or “the storm god,” it would be a drought that God would use to grab the people’s attention. God was setting the scene to demolish this false god. This Baal-worship attitude was completely insulting to the Lord and I think it’s amazing that God’s patience was as lengthy as it was.
Let me give you another example. Picture yourself as a father or mother of young children. Maybe you already are a parent or grandparent? You provide your children with everything they need. It is by your work that they are able to sleep in a bed. It is by your hand that they are able to eat a meal. It is by your labor that they are enabled transportation. The list could go on and on.
Now picture what your response would be if they suddenly decided that it wasn’t you who was providing them any of these things, but rather, the small statue that rests on their bedroom dresser. Each day they would ignore your blessings and your love to worship their idol. You would find them in their bedroom constantly bowing down to this idol, asking it to provide dinner for the night. Then when they went to the fridge and found leftovers, they would praise the idol for it’s power to deliver! It’s ridiculous right? Yes. Ridiculous. Insulting. Insane.
God’s patience had worn thin. He was about the burst the bubble of these Baal worshippers and show them that the rain (and everything else in this world) comes from Him and Him alone.
Amazingly, we see God call Elijah and provide for him every step of the way. Even though the drought comes, Elijah is provided for. We see the contrast in this chapter between the people’s choice of idols and Elijah’s reliance on God.