The prophet Elijah lived in Israel and Judah during the 8th century B.C., which is where he appears on the Bible Timeline. This particular prophet was used by God to teach many about the Lord and to confront the evil rulers in the land of Israel and Judah.
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Elijah’s life was full of many challenges, miracles and adventures that were given to him by God.
The Widow and Elijah
King Ahab and Queen Jezebel were Elijah’s greatest Earthly enemies during his life. They were wicked rulers who reigned over the land of Israel. One day God told Elijah to tell King Ahab that a famine would come to the land of Israel, and it did. God then sent Elijah to a widow to Zarephath and the woman had a son. When Elijah discovered who the widow was he wanted to eat a meal with her. She told him that she was going to cook the last of her food before she and her son would die. Elijah told her to make him some bread first and that there would be enough left over for her and her child. Elijah then prophesies to the woman that God will always provide her with enough flour and oil to eat. The Lord said that he would perform this miracle up until he decided to send rain again to the land.
The widow’s son became sick while Elijah stayed with them, and the Prophet brought him back to life by lying on top of him three times and crying out to the Lord. Many people use this particular story from Elijah to explain how God will meet the needs of his people and the great miracles that God can do to help people out in life.
Elijah vs. Baal
During the reign of King Ahab, many followers of God were persecuted for their beliefs. King Ahab allowed Jezebel to kill off God’s prophets, and the situation was so bad that they had to go into hiding just to survive. God eventually had enough of this situation and sent Elijah to stop Jezebel from slaughtering his people.
Obadiah was a follower of God who served King Ahab. There was a famine in the land at the time, and King Ahab told Obadiah to go and find some suitable cattle and horses. While Obadiah was out fulfilling his duty he ran into Elijah. The prophet told Obadiah to tell Ahab that he was going to stop Jezebel and her minions. Obadiah was reluctant and fearful to carry out this command, but he ultimately relented to Elijah because he was a godly prophet. So Obadiah told King Ahab that Elijah had issued a challenge to Baal and his followers. King Ahab and the prophets met Elijah on Mt. Carmel where they performed a contest to see who had the strongest god. Baal’s priests lost the competition, and they were slaughtered by the people. King Ahab was angry, and Jezebel wanted to destroy Elijah for the damage that he had done to her false religious system. God had used Elijah to avenge his followers deaths.
Elijah on the Run
Elijah had to run into the wilderness because Jezebel wanted to spill his blood for discrediting her God. He then encountered God while he was out in the wilderness. Elijah was fed up with fighting against evil, and he wanted to die, but God encouraged him to continue. God then uses a windstorm, an earthquake, and fire to teach people how God speaks. The verses tell us that God was not in those three, but afterward he spoke to Elijah in a still, small voice. God then sent Elijah to Elisha so that he could make him the next leader.
The Cloak of Elijah
Elijah was nearing the end of his journey on Earth and God told him to make a man named Elisha the next leader. Elijah found Elisha plowing in a field and placed his cloak over his shoulders. Elisha then left his family and friends in order to serve the Lord. Elijah had taught Elisha many things about serving God since their initial encounter and eventually the Lord was ready to take Elijah to heaven. God told Elijah to travel to three places before he took him up to heaven. These places were Bethel, Jericho and the Jordan River. Every time that Elijah traveled to one of these places some prophets of God would run up to Elisha and tell him that the Lord is going to take Elija into heaven and each time he would tell them to be quiet because he already knew.
Once Elijah reached the Jordan River, he used his cloak to divide the water in order to cross to the other side. Elisha asked Elijah if he could be the next leader, and Elijah told him he could be the leader if he could see him when God takes him away to heaven. If he doesn’t see him while he is being drawn up to heaven, then he could not be the next leader. So the two men started to walk again and then a chariot from heaven appeared and carried Elijah away. Elisha then cried out “My father! My father! The chariots and charioteers of heaven” before he picked up Elijah cloak to become the next leader of the prophets. Many Jewish and Christians believe that Elijah never experienced death, and he was expected to come back to the world right before it ends.
- 1 Kings 17 Elijah and the widow.
- 1 Kings 18 Elijah challenges the priest who serve Baal.
- 1 Kings 19: 1-13, 1 Kings 19: 19 – 21, 2 Kings 2 Elijah passes on his mantel of leadership.