2Ahab, King of IsraelThe son of Omri, Ahab ruled over Israel for 22 years. His reign was so evil that the Bible says it was worse than Jeroboam’s—that’s saying a lot!Ahab married a foreigner—a Phoenician princess named Jezebel. Jezebel would influence much of Ahab’s reign as king of Israel.Ahab worshipped the god, Baal. He built both a temple and an altar to Baal in Samaria.The Bible says that Ahab did more to provoke the Lord’s anger than all of the kings of Israel before him.
3Baal, the god of the Phoenicians Asherah, the Canaanite goddess To the Phoenicians, Baal was the chief god of fertility and rain—the god of life. It was also believed that Asherah affected such things.Asherah poles were wooden poles that marked places where people could worship Asherah.Baal was believed to control the productivity of the soil, flocks, herds and especially the rain!Worshipping these gods involved “sacred” prostitution as well as human (specifically, child) sacrifices as ways to keep the land fruitful.
4The Word of the Lord Comes Through Elijah God raised up the prophet Elijah from Gilead to confront Ahab and Israel about their Baal worship.The message that God delivers through Elijah is that there will be no rain in Israel for several years until the Lord speaks.A long and terrible drought followed in Israel…What do you think that God was tryingto show the Israelites by sendinga drought and a famine?
5God Provides For Elijah God told Elijah to leave and hide from King Ahab. He told Elijah that ravens would feed him there…Sending Elijah away from Samaria was symbolic of God withdrawing His presence (the blessing of rain and fertility) from the people.The Lord was trying to show Israel that her worship was misdirected.What do you think is the significance of God using ravens to feed Elijah? (Hint: “ravenous”)
6Elijah and the WidowThe brook dries up where Elijah is hiding so the Lord sends him to a widow in Zarephath who has been told to give him water and bread.The widow is afraid to help Elijah because she only has a little flour and oil left. She believes that she and her son are going to die eventually…Elijah told her to make bread for him anyway. He promised that God would keep filling up the jars of flour and of oil. The widow did as she was asked.Do you notice a contrast betweenthis widow and the rest of Israel? What is it?
7The Value of OilOlive oil and flour were two basic, simple substances for life in Israel.Olive oil was a precious and valuable commodity.Olive oil was used for cooking food but also for anointing—as a sign of God’s (the Holy Spirit’s) presence.Olive oil was also used as fuel for lamps and as a means of healing. Placing the oil on a wound kept it soft so that the wound would heal better.Olive trees can bear fruit for hundreds of years. Olives are stomped into a pulp to get the oil.
8One Miracle Leads to Another Every day the widow had food for Elijah, her son and herself. Neither the oil or the flour ever ran out—just as God promised!Some time later though, the widow’s son became ill and stopped breathing. The widow accused Elijah of causing this because of her past sins.Elijah took the boy to his room and prayed over him three times. He cried out for the Lord to restore the widow’s son. God answered Elijah’s cry.With this, the widow confessed that Elijah was a true prophet—a man of God whom the Lord spoke through.
9Obadiah’s Courage & Reluctance… Queen Jezebel was very angry with Elijah’s message from God. Since she couldn’t find Elijah and have him killed she tried to have all the prophets of God killed.Obadiah, King Ahab’s right hand man, was also secret follower of Yahweh. He courageously hid and protected 100 prophets in two caves (50 each).When Ahab sent Obadiah to look for any land suitable for grazing, Obadiah met Elijah.Elijah wanted Obadiah to announce his return to Ahab but Obadiah feared for his life and was reluctant to get involved. Elijah’s reassurance changed his mind.
10A Showdown on Mount Carmel Elijah confronts King Ahab and orders him to assemble the 800 prophets of Baal and Asherah on Mount Carmel.Elijah calls out the people to choose once and for all whom they follow—Baal or Yahweh. But the people said nothing—they were silent!Elijah then laid down the challenge to the prophets of Baal to ask their god to call down fire from the sky on a sacrifice of a bull they'd prepared.Elijah’s argument before the people is that if Baal is the true god making this happen won’t be impossible.
11What do you think is the significance of this? The Prophets of BaalFor a whole day, the prophets of Baal cried out to their god. As time went out they got more frantic in their worship—dancing and prophesying around the altar.Nothing happened. Elijah taunted the prophets of Baal to cry louder. The prophets cut themselves to offer blood to Baal but still nothing happened. Eventually no one paid any attention to them.In the evening, Elijah went to work. He rebuilt the altar of the Lord with twelve stones.What do you think is the significance of this?
12Elijah Prays, the Lord Answers Elijah puts the sacrifice on the altar and has the people pour water over it three times.Why do you think he did this?Elijah prays that Yahweh would reveal Himself to the people so that their hearts would turn back to Him.Yahweh sends fire from heaven and it consumes everything on the altar—the wood and stones too.The people fell down and cried, “Yahweh, He is God!”Elijah then had the people seize and put the prophets of Baal to death.Why does Elijah do this? (Deuteronomy 13:12-15).
13What do you think Elijah’s example Let The Rain Fall Down…After the showdown, Elijah was alone on the mountain, he prayed, “Please, O God, send rain to our people. The people now realize that You are the One, True God.”After Elijah prayed he would send his servant to go and see if he could see any rain clouds in the sky. His servant came back and said he could not see any.This happened 7 times! On the seventh time just as He promised Elijah, God brought the rain!Elijah told his servant to go and tell Ahab the news.What do you think Elijah’s exampletells us about prayer?
14What message do you think God was trying to send? Let The Rain Fall Down…The message that Elijah sent to King Ahab was this: “Hitch up your chariot and get down from the mountain before heavy rain stops you.”As the skies poured forth with water, Ahab rode off to Jezreel. But the power of the Lord enabled Elijahto run in front of Ahab’s chariot.What message do you think God was trying to send?Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done. Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, “By this time tomorrow I will make you as dead as those prophets.”Elijah was terrified and ran for his life…
15Homework for Tuesday, October 26th (Due Thursday, October 28th) Read 1 Kings, chapters 19 – 20Update your profile of King Ahab (use the “Something Rotten in Israel” sheet)Completely learn the memory verse (Psalm 89: 2 – 4)