TRUTH FOR TODAY

Lesson 1: September 30-October 6
Lesson 2: October 7-13
Lesson 3: October 14-20
Lesson 4: October 21-27
Lesson 5: October 28-November 3
Lesson 6: November 4-10
Lesson 7: November 11-17
Lesson 8: November 18-24
Lesson 9: November 25-December 1
Lesson 10: December 2-8
Lesson 11: December 9-15
Lesson 12: December 16-22
Lesson 13: December 23-29

Lesson 1: September 30-October 6

‘The word of the Lord came unto him’

 

MEMORY VERSE: ‘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.’ 1 Kings 17:24.

STUDY HELP: Prophets & Kings, pages 119-132.

LESSON SCRIPTURE: 1 Kings 17.

LESSON AIM: To understand the early days of Elijah’s ministry.

 

Introduction

 

‘Elijah’s whole life was devoted to the work of reform. He was a voice crying in the wilderness to rebuke sin and press back the tide of moral evil. And while he came to the people as a reprover of sin, his message offered the Balm of Gilead for the sin-sick souls of all who would be healed. His zeal for God’s glory and his deep love for the house of Israel present lessons for the instruction of all who stand today as representatives of God’s work in the earth.’ Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 15, page 5.

 

‘A man subject to like passions as we are’

 

  1. How did Elijah burst on the scene? 1 Kings 17:1.

NOTE: We know nothing of Elijah before his sudden emergence with a prophecy of the coming drought. We are told nothing of his birth or parentage. We are not even told of his call to the prophetic office. Mount Gilead was east of the River Jordan in the land given to the tribe of Gad. It has even been suggested (by Michaelis) that the phrase ‘of the inhabitants of Gilead’ might mean that he was not an Israelite by race, but an Ishmaelite, many of whom lived within the land of Gilead. If this is so, it would be a standing rebuke and shame to the apostate people of Israel that the Lord would employ a believing Gentile to rebuke and shame them. His name Elijah, which means Jehovah is my God, testifies to his worship of the true God. He is called ‘the Tishbite’ and some have linked this name with Thisbe, the exact location of which is unknown, though it has been suggested that it was in the territory of Naphthali.

‘Among the mountains of Gilead, east of the Jordan, there dwelt in the days of Ahab a man of faith and prayer whose fearless ministry was destined to check the rapid spread of apostasy in Israel. Far removed from any city of renown, and occupying no high station in life, Elijah the Tishbite nevertheless entered upon his mission confident in God’s purpose to prepare the way before him and to give him abundant success. The word of faith and power was upon his lips, and his whole life was devoted to the work of reform. His was the voice of one crying in the wilderness to rebuke sin and press back the tide of evil. And while he came to the people as a reprover of sin, his message offered the balm of Gilead to the sin-sick souls of all who desired to be healed. To Elijah was entrusted the mission of delivering to Ahab Heaven’s message of judgment. He did not seek to be the Lord’s messenger; the word of the Lord came to him. And jealous for the honour of God’s cause, he did not hesitate to obey the divine summons, though to obey seemed to invite swift destruction at the hand of the wicked king.’ Conflict & Courage, page 205.

 

  1. What light does James shed on Elijah’s prophecy? James 5:17.

NOTE: ‘It was only by the exercise of strong faith in the unfailing power of God’s word that Elijah delivered his message. Had he not possessed implicit confidence in the One whom he served, he would never have appeared before Ahab. On his way to Samaria, Elijah had passed by ever-flowing streams, hills covered with verdure, and stately forests that seemed beyond the reach of drought. Everything on which the eye rested was clothed with beauty. The prophet might have wondered how the streams that had never ceased their flow could become dry, or how those hills and valleys could be burned with drought. But he gave no place to unbelief. He fully believed that God would humble apostate Israel, and that through judgments they would be brought to repentance. The fiat of Heaven had gone forth; God’s word could not fail; and at the peril of his life Elijah fearlessly fulfilled his commission. Like a thunderbolt from a clear sky, the message of impending judgment fell upon the ears of the wicked king; but before Ahab could recover from his astonishment, or frame a reply, Elijah disappeared as abruptly as he had come, without waiting to witness the effect of his message. And the Lord went before him, making plain the way.’ Prophets & Kings, page 121.

‘It was because Elijah was a man of large faith that God could use him in this grave crisis in the history of Israel. As he prayed, his faith reached out and grasped the promises of Heaven, and he persevered in prayer until his petitions were answered. He did not wait for the full evidence that God had heard him, but was willing to venture all on the slightest token of divine favour. And yet what he was enabled to do under God, all may do in their sphere of activity in God’s service; for of the prophet from the mountains of Gilead it is written: “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.” James 5:17.’ Prophets & Kings, page 156.

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