Elijah, Ravens and a Widow

(I Kings 17:2-16)

The days of the prophets of old were days of unprecedented supernatural happenings, when God visibly acted for or against His people – Israel. Elijah’s life, for example, was one with stories to tell, perhaps not all registered in the Bible, causing us to wonder why doesn’t God continue manifesting Himself in our days as He did then. Israel had the direct spoken word from God through the prophets, but they did not heed to them, instead they killed God’s messengers. In Luke 13:34-35 YAHSHUA utters a warning to Jerusalem for having done that: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who continue to kill the prophets and to stone those who are sent to you! How often I have desired and yearned to gather your children together, as a hen her young under her wings, but you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see Me again until the time when you shall say, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!

Elijah had a message from God to give King Ahab that would cause his anger to arouse, persecute and kill him. However, it is the duty of a prophet to be God’s mouth and Elijah courageously took the podium and proclaimed the word from the Lord to King Ahab: As the Lord lives, before Whom I stand, there shall not be dew or rain these years but according to My word (vs.1). However, before that happened, God provided not only a hiding place for Elijah, but also sustenance.  He told him, Go from here, He said, and turn east and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, east of the Jordan. You shall drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there (vs.3-4).

The raven is the largest of the perching birds. It resembles a crow; it is all black, with a 4ft. wing span, measuring over two feet from head to toe. It is one of the most intelligent of all birds; it communicates warning, threats, taunting and cheer to all other birds by changing the sounds it makes. Amazingly how all birds understand the meaning of the various sounds it makes! It is like police to us humans with his siring car. So, God chose ravens to feed Elijah with bread and flesh in the morning and bread and flesh in the evening. For a few days Elijah depended on those ravens to bring him food from heaven, already prepared by God Himself. It must have been the tastiest food ever tried by Elijah. Ah the faithfulness of our God! The Prophet Elijah neither question God, nor doubted His provision, but “did according to the word of the Lord.” Obedience first, then the fulfillment of God’s promises in one’s life. Elijah, was a man of courage and faith; his name has a wonderful meaning: YAHWEH is my God; he is also called Elias. His ministry extended to the northern kingdom of Israel (the remnant of Joseph); his ministry was during the reigns of Ahab, and Ahaziah. In his zeal for the only true God, he commanded the slaughter of all 850 false prophets and prophetess of the northern kingdom in one day. Nothing stopped him from performing the word of the Lord. Taken to heaven without experiencing death, Elijah was one of the two witnesses of the Lord’s death and resurrection; in the future, he will come as one of the two witnesses to turn the hearts of the nation of Israel toward God during the tribulation.  

Moses and Elijah on Mount Sinai and Mount Herman

(Exodus 19; 33; I Kings 19:8-14; Luke 9: 28-33)

Moses, as Israel’s leader to the Promised Land, was a remarkable man. No one that has ever lived, has ever experienced God the way he did. He was not only a leader for the nation Israel, but a prophet, who spoke with God face to face, although he did not see His face. From the signs and wonders seen in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, water coming from the rocks, mana coming from heaven as food for the people while in their journey of forty years through the wilderness, and much more, Moses’ life shines over all others.

As a baby, Moses was taken from the water when his mother tried to hide him in the time of the king’s command to kill all the Jews’ babies to control their population. He was rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter, who later adopted him. She named him Moses because she said, “I drew him out of the water.” For forty years he lived in the royal palace, however, he preferred to suffer with his brothers, as Hebrews 11:24-25 confirms: By faith Moses, when he had grown to maturity and become great, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter because he preferred to share the oppression and bear the shame of the people of God rather than to have the fleeting enjoyment of a sinful life.

One day, while checking out the slavery condition of his people, he saw an Egyptian beating one of his brothers. He then killed the Egyptian and buried him (Ex. 2). His zeal for the wellbeing of his people was a sign of what he was to become in the future. From that time on, he become a refugee in the land of Median, where he married and worked as a shepherd for his father- in-law. Moses had his first encounter with God at Mount Horeb, or Sinai, the mount of God, forty years after his ordeal that caused him to flee for his life. The Lord God appeared to him in a fire out of the midst of a bush. Curious about what was happening, he turned aside to see why the bush would not burn, when he heard the Lord’s voice saying, do not come near; put your shoes off your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground (Ex. 3:2-5). In that encounter, God revealed Himself to Moses as the God of his fathers- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Moses then hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God (Ex. 3:6). God spoke to him from the fire saying, come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring forth My people…out of Egypt. Moses’ conscious burned with guilt and fear of his past in the presence of that fire that symbolized the unapproachable holiness of God. Mount Sinai, the pivot point of Moses’ life, stood before him with a divine call to redeem his people from bondage.

Days of Elijah

(I Kings 18)

The days of Elijah foreshadowed today’s day in the increase of apostasy, immorality and idolatry. When Israel was under the control of evil kings, including Ahab and Jezebel, who reigned its northern kingdom, they persecuted and killed God’s prophets. They were intolerable of anything related to the Living God. Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, was a Phoenician princess, a prostitute and a killer. She worshiped Baal, the god of fertility, practiced in her native land, Tyre. Her name, symbolic of shame and wickedness, was visible in many aspects of her life.  The name Jezebel remains alive and active today in its synonymous with evil.

In those days, God raised up a prophet called Elijah, who confronted both Ahab and Jezebel for their wickedness. A prophet filled with power and determination against the evil Ahab and Jezebel was on display. To start with, he killed all Israel’s 850 false prophets and prophetesses in a single day. A courageous prophet for the hour, at the time when darkness was abundant in the nation of Israel, for the nation had lost the sense of their true God in their worshipping of Baal, Jezebel’s god, and other gods as well. We find the report of Elijah’s amazing courage in I Kings 18, when he confronted all 850 of Baal’s false prophets and prophetess and challenged them to a test in which to prove YAHWEH to be the only true God. As a result, the slaughter of those false prophets took place, cleansing the nation of idolatry. A necessary cleansing for the nation to be blessed once again.

Where there are leftover roots of evil, good cannot prevail. Elijah, under God’s anointing, destroyed the root causes of the nation’s idolatrous evil. When the people who had come to the meeting Elijah organized at Mount Carmel, saw God’s consuming fire coming down over the offering on the altar, they repented and turned to the Lord by falling on their faces, and saying, The Lord, He is God, He is God!  (I Kings 18:39b).

In the Wilderness of Temptation

No nation has ever experienced the physical wilderness as the nation of Israel. Theirs were the trials, the thirst, the hunger for meat, for the onions and other things Egypt offered. To them were given forty years wandering through the desert for the purpose of being formed as a nation under God Himself. Many died; a large number of them; they did not make it through the wilderness to their destination, because they fell to temptation, while their hearts became hardened as they were tested. The signs and wonders they witnessed when God provided for their needs did not serve as a guide to exercise faith in Him. So their journey became a wilderness of temptation in every aspect: physical, emotional and spiritual. That constituted an open door to fail in every time a need arrived. Without waiting for God to provide for their needs, as He promised He was going to, they murmured and complained, even when manna- food from heaven was given them.  They longed the world’s food instead. In Psalm 95 the Psalmist remembers those days with a warning: Harden not your hearts as at Meribah and Massah in the day of temptation in the wilderness, when your fathers tried My patience and tested Me proved Me and saw His work. Forty years long was I grieved and was disgusted with that generation, and I said, It is a people that do err in their hearts, and they do not approve, acknowledge or regard My ways. Therefore I swore in My wrath that they would not enter My rest (95: 8-11), and again in Hebrews 3: 7-11.