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Mighty Assyria feels God's hand - Again and Again and Again and........

              Deeds of God Thru Elijah

              The actual name of God, some scholars say, is 'Yahweh'.  Elijah means 'Yaweh is my God', which tells me I should study up on ancient languages.  Elijah was from a place called Tishbe in Gilead, on the east side of the Jordan, and was a prophet in the days when Israel the promised land had long been divided into two kingdoms:  Judah and Benjamin in the south, called Judah, and all others in the north, called Israel.  The Levites tribe (the priestly tribe) was divided between the two.

              The northern tribes had become increasingly wicked, falling away from God, worshipping false gods, marrying into other pagan nations, not following the laws of Moses, and God had definately taken note.  After a long string of Kings, most of whom displeased God, there came two of the most displeasing :  Omri (some believe the ancient Welsh received their name Cuomrie from this King) and then his son Ahab, who together reigned for about 36 years.  Both are listed in 1 Kings 16 as being worse Kings than any before them.  God was bringing Assyria, a rising world power during this time, into increasing conflict with the northern tribes. 

              Elijah came to King Ahab from God and informed the King that God had directed that no rain would come to the land for the coming years except at by the word of Elijah.  Certainly these were not words a King wanted to hear.

              Then God told Elijah to go to a desert wadi (gully/canyon) east of the Jordan River and stay there in the desert.  Elijah went, and lived by the small stream of the wadi and drank from it. 

1st deed:    1 Kings  Chap 17

             

              God had ravens bring food to Elijah all during this time.  Ravens brought his meals!

Eventually the stream ran dry.  God then told Elijah to go to Zarephath in Sidon, and that there a certain widow would provide for him.  1Kings 17

2nd deed:    1 Kings Chap 17

             

              At Zaraphath, at the city gate, Elijah encounters a woman gathering sticks to make a fire.  He called to her asking her to get him a little water to drink.  As she turned to do so Elijah called to her and said to bring him a little bread to eat as well.  (Remember, this was a time of famine and drought.) 

              The widow, no doubt frusterated and feeling hopeless replied that she only had a tiny amount of flour in a bowl and a small amount of oil in a jar, and she was out here gathering a little wood so that she and her son could eat one last time and then die.

              Elijah told her not to be afraid.  He said she should go make him a little cake of bread to eat, and then afterwards cook some for herself and her son.  Then he told her that God would not let the bowl become empty of flour nor the jar empty of oil until the day that rain fell again, ending the drought.  And, in faith, the woman did as he told her.  God then provided her with exactly what he promised - a bowl of flour that did not go empty, and a jar that would not be drained of oil.  And for a great many days she was fed, as well as her household and Elijah, by the direct power of God.  (Manna of Moses' day was by no means a singular instance of God producing food directly for his people.  There were Jesus's "miracle of the loaves" instances, as well as this one, and others.)

3rd deed:    1 Kings  Chap 17

             

              After this, the woman's son became ill, and then died.  In grief, she asked if Elijah had come to bring punishment on her for her sins, that her son should die.  Elijah carried the boy's dead body upstairs and cried out to God asking why He had allowed this calamity to happen to the son of the widow with whom he was staying.  Then Elijah laid down three times upon the form of the boy, crying out to God to restore the lad's life. 

              God allowed the boy's life to return to him.  Elijah came down with the living child and said to the mother "See, your son is alive."  The rejoicing mother said that she now knew Elijah was a man of God and that the word of truth from the Lord was in his mouth.  (OK, but wasn't the flour and oil thing a pretty good clue too, Mom?  But we probably would have said something about the same.)

4th deed:    1 Kings  Chap 18    

             

              God then sent Elijah to Ahab, king of Israel.  Elijah was persona non grata as he had brought a very severe famine on Ahab's whole land (through God's will) and Ahab had sent people looking for Elijah, but they hadn't found him.

              Over King Ahab's household was a man named Obadiah, who feared God, though Ahab did not.  Ahab had married Jezebel, an exceedingly wicked princess of the nearby Sidonian people, and Jezebel had ordered the murder of the followers of God who were known in Israel as the 'prophets of God'.  Not all were destroyed, though.  Obadiah had managed to hide 100 of God's prophets secretly, in a cave, and keep them fed.  It was Obadiah, performing a survey of the droughted land for the King, who came upon Elijah.

              Elijah told him to go and inform the King that God had sent Elijah to speak with him. Obadiah objected, saying Elijah was a master at disappearing and that if he brought the King and there was no Elijah, that he, Obadiah, was likely to die.  But Elijah told him not to worry, he would be waiting there when the King came.

              Ahab came and saw Elijah, his enemy.  "What do you want, you troubler of Israel?" he asked.  But Elijah said that Israel's troubles were because of Ahab and his father's house, who had spread ba'al worship throughout Israel.  Elijah said to bring 450 of the priests of Ba'al and 400 of the priests of another false Goddess, Asherah, and all of the people of Israel as well, and meet Elijah on top of Mt. Carmel.  It was to be a showdown - Elijah's God head to head against their false god's.

             

              When everyone assembled, Elijah said that if Israel was going to follow Ba'al then fine, or the real God, then fine also.  But they needed to decide which they would follow, right now.   But no one answered him.  So Elijah proposed a test.  He would stack wood.  The ba'al priests would make a separate stack of wood.  He would cut up an ox and place its pieces on the stack of wood.  The ba'al priests would cut up another ox and place it upon their own stack of wood.  Then both would ask their God to start the fire burning, and whichever God could do so would win, and be proven the real God.  The challenge was accepted.

              Elijah told the Ba'al priests that there were 450 of them, so they could go first.  So they did, and all morning, and all through the afternoon they circled the wood and jumped and shouted and cried out, and cut themselves with blades as was their habit - but nothing happened as the people of Israel sat watching.  (Perhaps a crowd of over a million watched, as it says that all of Israel was called to watch in 1 Kings 18:19.  And Israel's population should have exceeded that quite easily.  And because the drought was so severe, and was attributed to Elijah withholding rain at God's command, this certainly would have qualified as a momentous clash between Ba'al and God. No doubt a great portion of the people did attend to watch.)    

              Eventually, as the afternoon wore on and it became obvious that this so called God Ba'al could not even light a fire, Elijah began to jeer the priests of Ba'al, suggesting that they needed to yell louder because Ba'al might be sleeping, or maybe he was away on an errand.   But nothing happened.

              When it came time for the evening sacrifice, Elijah called everyone close.  He gathered twelve stones and made a little alter for his sacrifice (a stone for each tribe).  He built a moat around the stones.  He piled on the wood and then the cut meat of the ox, and then he poured water all over it all.  Lots of water. He poured it all over the wood, and until there was water in the little moat around his sacrifice.  He wetted it all.  12 pitchers full of water were poured. 

              Then he called out to God asking that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel would let it be known that He was God, Elijah was his servant, and that He was here to turn idolatrous Israel's heart back to Him - the true God!

              Then fire from God fell downwards from the sky, and it consumed the ox meat, the wood, the stones and even the water.  And all of the people watching fell to the ground and cried out startled, and said "The Lord, He is God!!  The Lord, He is God!!"  And Elijah ordered the false priests of the false god Ba'al to be seized and Elijah took them down to the brook called Kishon and slew them there.  As God's followers had been slain, so were these false priests. 

               

5th deed:    1 Kings  Chap 18

              Immediately after this Eljah told King Ahab to go up and eat and drink because he could hear the sound of heavy showers.  This was welcome news to all Israel, yet there were no clouds in sight.  But Elijah went up to the top of Mt. Carmel and sunk down to the dirt placing his head between his knees.  After a time he told his servant to walk over and look towards the sea. They came back and said they saw nothing.  He lowered his head, then in a while asked them to look again.  Again they saw nothing.  Seven times they looked and finally on the 7th trip they saw a tiny cloud - they called it 'no bigger than a man's hand' - coming up from the sea.

              Elijah told his servants to tell the King to hurry off the mountain before the storm overtook him.  And very soon the sky was filled with black clouds and the rain fell heavily.  The King was hurrying off in his chariot to the town of Jezreel, but Elijah, seized by the spirit of the Lord, tucked in his garment and took off running through the rain, passing the King's chariot as he arrived at Jezreel, traveling more quickly on foot than the King's horses could run.              1Kings 18: 41 - 46.

                 

             

6th deed:    2 Kings  Chap 1 

              Time passed and Ahab and Jezebel met their ends as God determined.  Ahab's son, Ahaziah became King.  Ahaziah worshiped false gods like his father had, learning nothing from all that had happened on Mt. Carmel.  But he had an accident, falling through a lattice, and lay very ill.  He sent his mesengers to enquire of the false god Baal-zebub in Ekron, to see if he would recover. 

              The Angel of the Lord then appeared to Elijah and told him to meet those messengers on their way and ask them why they were going to a false god to enquire for the King.  So Elijah met those messengers and asked them.  And he told them to return to their King and tell him that because he asked a false god instead of asking the true God of Israel that here was the answer: he was going to die.  He would not recover.

              When they returned and told the King he asked what the man looked like.  Very hairy with a leather belt around his waist, he was told.  The King said it was surely Elijah the Tishbite.  He sent a captain with 50 men to bring back Elijah.

              The captain came with his band of 50 soldiers with which he thought to coerce this chosen prophet of God, and he found him sitting on a hill and called up, "O man of God, the King says come down." 

           

              Elijah answered that if he was indeed a man of God then let fire from the Lord come down and consume the man and his 50 soldiers.  And fire did come down and consumed them all. 

              A second commander with a troup of 50 men came, and he acted in the same authoritative manner towards Elijah.  So again fire came down and consumed them all.

              A third cohort was sent, and you can imagine their feelings as they rode towards Elijah.  When they arrived at the foot of the hill upon which Elijah sat, this wiser captain knelt down and begged Elijah to find his life and his soldiers' lives precious, and not to call down fire.  And he asked Elijah to please come with him to the King.  The Angel of the Lord then appeared to Elijah and told him to go to the King without fear, so he did.

              So, Elijah went to the injured King and told him the truth - that soon the King would die because he had enquired about his chances of surviving from a false god instead of his own real God.  And soon Ahaziah did die, and the next King was named Jehoram.  2 Kings Chap 1

              You may not like the news the Lord sends you, but when it is God's news that is sent to you then you had better not kill the messenger.  In other times spoken of in the Bible, Kings sometimes had to hear very, very unwelcome news from prophets, but most of the time they just took their medecine, fearing to harm the one sent by God.  A wise choice.  And stories like this probably had a lot to do with those Kings adopting that philosophy.  Yet it is also true that many of the major prophets of the scriptures were killed for speaking truth from God that those in power simply didn't want to hear.   

             

7th deed:    2 Kings  Chap 2

              Elijah had been told by God to take a certain man named Elisha for his servant, so he did find Elisha, who sold all and followed him.  Soon Elijah was told to travel to a place where he would be taken up, alive, to God.  His servant Elisha, hearing this, kept insisting that he would follow along despite Elijah telling him to stay.  They went to Jericho, then on to the Jordan River, Elisha following.  When they came to the Jordan, Elijah rolled up his cloak and struck the waters of the Jordan River with it, and the waters of the Jordan rolled back, so that both Elijah and Elisha crossed over on dry river bed. 

              Elijah said to Elisha "Ask something of me before I leave."  So Elisha asked for a double portion of the spirit of his master Elijah.  Elijah told him it was a hard thing to promise, but, if Elisha was allowed to actually see with his eyes as Elijah was taken up, then it would be granted.  Soon, walking along, the fiery chariot of the Lord (chariots of fire and horses of fire) appeared, and Elijah was taken up in the whirlwind to heaven.

              Elisha saw it with his eyes, and also he picked up the fallen cloak of Elijah, which had been left behind, then he turned to go back across the Jordan.  He would soon enough be doing his own mighty deeds through God. 

              And these were deeds God wrought through Elijah.

©2017 Daniel Curry & 'Deeds of God' Website