Elijah and Elisha are two of the most well-known prophets of Israel. They both served in the northern kingdom of Israel. Elijah is first introduced in 1 Kings 17 as the prophet who predicted a three-year drought in the land. After being miraculously fed by ravens, he later stayed with a widow and her son, and that family experienced God’s supernatural provision of food.
After Elijah’s defeat of the prophets of Baal when he called down fire from heaven, the drought ended. Rain fell, and Elijah fled from the evil Queen Jezebel, who had vowed to kill him (1 Kings 19). Reaching Mount Horeb, Elijah heard the voice of God tell him to anoint two kings as well as Elisha as a prophet. He did this, and Elisha immediately joined him (1 Kings 19:19–21).
Elijah later condemned King Ahab for murder and the theft of a vineyard and predicted Ahab’s death and that of his wife, Jezebel (1 Kings 21:17–24).
In 2 Kings 1, Elijah called down fire from heaven to destroy two groups of 50 men sent from King Ahaziah. A third group of men was led by a captain who begged for mercy and was spared judgment. Elijah went to Ahaziah and proclaimed the king would die from his sickness, a prophecy that was soon fulfilled.
In 2 Kings 2, Elijah and Elisha crossed the Jordan River on dry land, and Elisha, knowing that Elijah would not be with him much longer, asked to be blessed with a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. Elijah was taken directly into heaven by a chariot of fire. Elisha picked up Elijah’s mantle and used it to cross the Jordan again on dry land. He received the double portion he had asked for and performed many miracles in Israel. Some of Elisha’s miracles were the turning of bad water into clean water (2 Kings 2:19–22), causing a widow’s oil to fill many jars (2 Kings 4:1–7), and even raising a boy from the dead (2 Kings 4:32–37).
Before he was taken to heaven, Elijah left a letter for King Jehoram of Judah that spoke of judgment against him. It stated, in part, “The LORD will bring a great plague on your people, your children, your wives, and all your possessions, and you yourself will have a severe sickness with a disease of your bowels, until your bowels come out because of the disease, day by day” (2 Chronicles 21:14–15). The prophecy soon came true (verses 18–20).
The Prophet Elijah is one of the most interesting and colorful of all biblical characters, yet his life was so filled with turmoil that today we might say he was up one day and down the next. Because Elijah was at times bold and decisive and at other times fearful and tentative, we have much to learn from him. In the narratives in which Elijah is the central character, we find principles that demonstrate the victory in the life of a believer as well as defeat and recovery. There are ways in which Elijah demonstrated the power of God and an instance where he plumbed the depths of depression.
Just as for Elijah, when the believer focuses on the noise and the tumult of life in this world, we may get our eyes off of the LORD. However, if we listen for His still, small voice and walk in obedience to His Word, we find victory and reward. Each biblical character we study has a lesson for us to use in our walk as believers. Elijah was filled with human frailties yet was used mightily of God.
Elijah and Elisha were both greatly respected by those in the “school of prophets” (2 Kings 2 and 4:38–41) as well as by the kings of their nation. Their impact led to revival among some of the Israelites during a dark stage of Israel’s history. During the wicked reigns of Ahab and Ahaziah, God had His men leading the charge for righteousness.
Elijah and Elisha’s combined legacy continued to influence Israel for some time. Even the New Testament speaks of the expected return of Elijah, a role fulfilled by John the Baptist, the forerunner or the one to announce the coming of the Messiah (Mark 1).
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This Series is all about the Holy Bible, God and Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. This is Chapter 6 of #13.