SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Back in the Bible times they didn't have the Bible, so God couldn't speak to people through the Bible like He does today. He would sometimes choose to speak His message to people through prophets. In this chapter God chooses Elijah for that job.
- We saw in the last chapter of 1 Kings that the people (who had pledged to be faithful to God) had turned away from God and were now worshipping Baal. God sends Elijah to King Ahab, who was leading the people astray, with the message that they would experience a draught for the next few years (verse 1). Baal was supposed to be the god who controlled rain, so this would have shocked all the Baal worshippers.
- This nation was required to take care of its prophets, but because they had turned from God, Elijah is forced to rely on ravens (verses 2-7) and a foreigner (verses 13-16).
- The "people of God" no longer had faith in God, but this widow from a foreign land with a foreign religion puts her faith in Elijah's God by doing what she was told (verse 15), and God blesses her for it (verse 16).
- Elijah raising the widow's son from death to life (verse 17-24) is the first dead person brought back to life in the Bible. In the Bible, when God gave a person a message to share He often gave them the power to do a miracle to authenticate that the person truly represented God.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- We are going to see that Elijah did what God wanted, and it led to lots of extreme ups and downs in his life. Following God doesn't necessarily make life easy; it can be like riding a roller coaster! But, no matter what, God always took care of Elijah. Interestingly, God took care of Elijah by ravens and water from a brook, and everything seemed great, but then the brook dried up. Then God took care of Elijah through the kindness of a widow, and everything seemed great, but then the widow's son died. Jesus taught us to pray for God to provide our "daily" bread. We don't know what will happen tomorrow, and what God used in our lives yesterday may not be what He uses today, but we do know we can trust Him.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Have you ever experienced the ups and downs of following God? How did God take care of you, even when things seemed down?
- What are you dealing with today that worries you? How can looking back on God's faithfulness in the past help you to trust Him now?