We were introduced to Ahab and his queen Jezebel in the last chapter. God has decided to confront them, so now we meet his man for the assignment. No one can claim to be ignorant of God’s rules if a man will declare the word of God boldly. Elijah is able to speak as he is directed by God himself. A prophet will be known by the fulfillment of his message. He performs an intervention in the affairs of the nation:
And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. 1 Kings 17:1-5
Who is Elijah to make such a bold claim to the king of Israel? We don’t trust the weatherman today, so Ahab probably thought, “yeah, right weather man!” John and the disciples of Jesus had this boldness, end even more so after the resurrection of Christ. They had relationship experience motivating their excitement. Whether he was young or old Elijah knew the creator of the weather. He did what God told him to do, even if it seemed a bit strange. We had a pet crow, and remember him to be more inclined to steal (shiny things) than to give charity. He liked the shiny handle on my tricycle, and wouldn’t let me play on it! He took a shine to the mirror on the school bus, and went for a ride down town. He never came back from the big city lights.
And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. 1 Kings 17:6-9
Arizona creeks dry up like this every spring, and Israel is not a lot nicer than this. Depending on a vision takes a bit of faith in the desert. Having a woman in the supply chain represents an upgrade so it isn’t hard to move on this direction. It will require a bit of faith for her though.
So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. 1 Kings 17:10-14
This woman is hearing another faith freak begging for her last meal. How could she be so naive? But she really is expecting to die, and has nothing to steal. A violent thief could at least make death faster than starvation. Perhaps only a mother could hold out hope that this is a real intervention of God. She has a little more faith than Ahab has shown, and acts on that faith.
And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah. And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. 1 Kings 17:15-19
The word of God was fulfilled, but illness challenges this woman’s faith again. Worse, he has stopped breathing and the crisis is stressing her out. Elijah is prepared to act on his faith, and that faith seems to be well established. Elijah has a relationship with the living God.
And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again. And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth. 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 17:20-24
I do not relegate God to mere stories or fables of the past. He lives, and continues to give life today. Elijah is being established to witnesses as a voice of God. Ahab will remember his words as the drought wears on. But God is still speaking today. In the news:
Baby pronounced dead lives after hours in cooler
JERUSALEM | Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:19am EDT
(Reuters) – A stillborn Israeli baby who was pronounced dead by doctors “came back to life” on Monday after spending hours in a hospital refrigerator.
The baby, weighing only 600 grams at birth, spent at least five hours inside one of the hospital’s refrigerated storage units, before her parents, who had taken her to be buried, began noticing some movement.
“We unwrapped her and felt she was moving. We didn’t believe it at first. Then she began holding my mother’s hand, and then we saw her open her mouth,” said 26-year-old Faiza Magdoub, the baby’s mother.
The baby was pronounced dead several hours earlier, after doctors at Western Galilee hospital in northern Israel were forced to abort her mother’s pregnancy because of internal bleeding. Magdoub was 23 weeks into her pregnancy.
“We don’t know how to explain this, so when we don’t know how to explain things in the medical world we call it a miracle, and this is probably what happened,” hospital deputy director Moshe Daniel said.
The baby was then taken to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit for further treatment, but doctors were not sure how long she will live.
Motti Ravid, a professor of internal medicine, told Israel’s Channel 10 that the low temperature inside the cooler had slowed down the baby’s metabolism and likely helped her survive.
Aborted babies live in Israel, and Israel will again live as the children of Abraham. The long dry season of Israel will end.
And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Ezekiel 37:3-8