Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 26: Tuesday
The LORD said to him, “Go, return on your way
to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have
arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram;
and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king
over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-
meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place.
“It shall come about, the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall put to death. Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
1 Kings 19:15–18
Tuesday’s Bible reading is 1 Kings 19–22. These chapters introduce us to Elisha and record the demise of Ahab and new kings in Judah and in Israel.
Chapter 19 is the aftermath of Elijah’s great confrontation with the prophets of Baal and God’s incontrovertible demonstration that He alone is God.
In this chapter we glimpse how much Elijah truly was a man with a nature like ours. For after his boldness and the great victory over Baal’s prophets, Elijah flees in fear of his life from Jezebel, and in the wilderness he asks the Lord to take his life. He falls asleep, and then the angel of the Lord wakens him and gives him bread and water. Elijah falls asleep once more, and again is fed by the angel of the Lord.
He then travels forty days and forty nights to Mount Horeb, the same mountain upon which God appeared to Moses in the burning bush.
Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”
So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Then he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”
1 Kings 19:9–14
William LaSor writes:
“What are you doing here, Elijah? Is this a rebuke, or is Yahweh simply giving Elijah an occasion to express his feeling? If the latter, his reply is one of despair, or possibly even a rebuke that Yahweh has allowed such things to happen….The appearance of Yahweh is in part a reply to the unvoiced criticism of Elijah. The wind, the earthquake and the fire were modes that Yahweh used on occasion; certainly this was according to Elijah’s nature, but on this occasion the Lord was not in them. A still small voice: this expression is beautiful and has become classical. The Hebrew is even more picturesque: ‘the sound of gentle quietness’, or even ‘gentle silence’….Elijah’s implied rebuke of Yahweh’s inactivity is answered by the still, small voice and the events it foretells, specifically in vv.16, 17. God is slow to anger, but He does not contain His wrath for ever.”1
I have some more comments I want to make on this post—I haven’t been able to get to them yet because of other priorities.
Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
The Prophet Elijah, Daniele da Volterra: Public Domain.
1William Sanford LaSor, “1 and 2 Kings,” The New Bible Commentary: Revised, D. Guthrie,
J. A. Motyer, eds., A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, contributing eds., p. 345.
Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter