1 Kings 18:1-46 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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The Fire of the Lord Fell on Mt. Carmel
Comments for Study 15

1 Kings 18:1-46
Memory Verse: 14

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I. Obadiah, A Faithful Man (1-15)

>1. At the end of the third year, what instruction did God give to Elijah? (1)

* 1 Kings 18:1 "After a long time, in the third year, the word of the LORD came to Elijah: "Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land."

* "After a long time" -Nothing happened of importance in Elijah's life and in Israel's history, nothing worth noting. The people did not repent. They did not give up their idols. They did not return to the Lord.

* "in the third year" -This is the third year of the drought. The drought lasted three and a half years. (Luke 4:25; James 5:17)

* Famines in the middle east often lasted seven years. (Genesis 41:27; 2 Kings 8:1). Perhaps this famine was believed to last seven years too. Elijah might have been surprised when this word came to him. The Lord was obviously going to stop the famine after seven years.

* "the word of the Lord came to Elijah" -One of the main function of a prophet was to deliver God's word to the people. Haggai's message concerned the temple project that had been started and the suspended years earlier. The temple was finally finished in the sixth year of King Darius (516 B.C.) and dedicated in 515 B.C. (Ezra 6:15-18)

* "came to Elijah" -2 Peter 1:19-21 states, "And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

* "Elijah" -Elijah means in Hebrew "The Lord is my God." He did many great miracles like Jesus would (i.e. feeding many with a few loaves of bread.) He was from Tishbe in Gilead (17:1) in the northern Transjordan region of Samaria. Elijah has always been considered the greatest prophet of the Old Testament. After the events of 1 Kings 18 he reinstated a school of prophets. Samuel seems to have started a school of prophets. (1 Samuel 7:15-17, 9:6-9, 10:5) In Elijah's days Baal worship was at it's peak in Israel. The king of the time worshipped Baal. He and especially his wife killed many of the prophets of the Lord. After the Lord's fire on Mount Carmel, Elijah had the prophets of Baal killed. The Lord instructed him to find Elisha to he his servant and successor. Then they started to find the few prophets of the Lord left and start a school of prophets of the Lord.

* "present yourself to Ahab" -Ahab and especially his wife had been hunting all the prophets of the Lord and killing them. To obey the Lord at this time took faith in God. To obey the Lord is not easy. To obey takes faith, hope, and love. These three things will be the only thing in us that will remain at the judgement. (1 Corinthians 13:13)

* "I will send rain on the land" -The Lord sent the rain even though the people did not repent of their sins.

>What was the extent of the famine at that time? (2-6)

* 1 Kings 18:2-6 "So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Samaria, and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of his palace. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the LORD. While Jezebel was killing off the LORD's prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.) Ahab had said to Obadiah, "Go through the land to all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grass to keep the horses and mules alive so we will not have to kill any of our animals." So they divided the land they were to cover, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another."

* "So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab" -Elijah did not complain nor object. He just did as the Lord instructed him. Was he afraid? Perhaps, we are not told how he felt about this mission.

* "the famine was severe" -This was no ordinary dry period. The sins of the people and the extent of Baal worship made brought a severe drought. Samaria experienced the brunt of the famine because it had become the center of Baal worship. One of the reasons trouble can come to a persons life is unrepentant sin. Though this is not the only reason troubles come, a person should always examine their life, thoughts, and actions against the word of the Lord, especially when trouble comes.

* "Samaria" -The northern kingdom of Israel was also known as Ephraim and Samaria after the split when Solomon died. Samaria was the name of the city established by King Omri around fifty years after Solomon died for the sole purpose of making it the northern kingdom's capital.

* "Go through the land to all the springs and valleys" -The king did not know where water was available, something he must have kept track of during the long three years of drought.

* "Maybe we can find some grass to keep the horses and mules alive so we will not have to kill any of our animals." -The king's stores of feed for his animals had run out.

* "horses and mules" -Horses and mules were not used by common people at the time. Rulers used them for their armies and officials. According to the annals of the Assyrian ruler Shalmanesser III, Ahab had a force of at least two thousand chariots.

* "Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another" -The king taking a person intrest in the famine showed the extreme nature of the drought.

* The king apparently was more concerned with his animals than those in his kingdom.

>2. Who was Obadiah? (3)

* 1 Kings 18:3 "and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of his palace. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the LORD."

* "Obadiah" -Obadiah is a common name in the Old Testament showing up eleven more times including the prophet whose book bears this name. Obadiah in Hebrew means "servant of the Lord." The Bible does not says if this Obadiah was the prophet who wrote the short book bearing this name, though it is probable.

* "who was in charge of his palace" -A very high position in society and the kingdom. Only competent, trusted, and proven servants would be given this job.

* "Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves" -Feeding and caring for one hundred prophets and perhaps their families was very costly. Obadiah must have been wealthy and/or known wealthy people.

* "a devout believer in the LORD" -A devout believer is one who is dedicated to the Lord. A devout believer's actions reveal his faith, though not to everyone all the time. Obadiah is the first in the Bible to be called a devout believer. Simeon who took baby Jesus into his arms and praised God is also called a devout believer. (Luke 2:25) Cornelius, the first Gentle recorded to believe in Jesus is also called a devout believer. (Acts 10:2) Ananias, who the Lord Jesus sent to Paul shortly after his conversion is also called a devout believer. (Acts 22:12)

* Obadiah must have been clever because Ahab did not consider him a believer in the Lord.

>How did he fear God? (4, 13)

* 1 Kings 18:4 "While Jezebel was killing off the LORD's prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.)"

* 1 Kings 18:13 "Haven't you heard, my lord, what I did while Jezebel was killing the prophets of the LORD? I hid a hundred of the LORD's prophets in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water."

* "Haven't you heard" -Obadiah assumed that all the prophets, and perhaps all of true believers knew what he had done for the other prophets.

* Obadiah feared God more than Jezebel and the king. He even was willing to go against their commands to report all prophets of the Lord to them for execution.

* Obadiah worked with and under ungodly people, but still served the Lord and the Lord's people.

* Elijah couldn't help the one hundred prophets because he was being hunted and had to hide. Obadiah was in a perfect place to hide and care for them. He would have had been free to travel about and people wouldn't suspect him taking care of food and provisions. Each person has his place in the service of the Lord.

>What can we learn from a layman like Obadiah? (Luke 16:9)

* Luke 16:9 "I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings."

* Obadiah didn't leave his job because his boss was a evil man. Jesus prayed that his disciples not be taken out of the world, but that we be protected from the evil one as we are lights in the world. (John 17:15) Obadiah wasn't a monk.

* Jesus taught that we should use our worldly wealth to gain friends. This is just not money. It is also our possessions, time, talents, and anything in this world the Lord has given us.

* We should not judge others who serve the Lord. The Lord was with Obadiah and used him according to the place where he put him.

* Everyone has a mission given by the Lord. The Lord makes it possible for all to serve him as he has determined. We should seek how we can serve the Lord in the place in life the Lord has placed us. Paul said, "Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him." Even we are a slave we should serve the Lord. (1 Corinthians 7:21-24)

>3. What mission did Elijah give Obadiah? (7-8)

* 1 Kings 18:7-8 "As Obadiah was walking along, Elijah met him. Obadiah recognized him, bowed down to the ground, and said, "Is it really you, my lord Elijah?" "Yes," he replied. "Go tell your master, 'Elijah is here.'"

* "As Obadiah was walking along" -He was not riding a donkey or a horse as he might have done if there was no drought.

* "Elijah met him" -Elijah was on his way to the king. The Lord had lead him to meet Obadiah. There are no accidental meetings for the Lord directs all and everything.

* "Obadiah recognized him" -Obadiah must have meet Elijah earlier, perhaps as at a gathering of God people before the persecutions under the king and queen.

* "bowed down to the ground" -Obadiah realized Elijah's place in God's work was greater than his. We are taught in humility to consider all others greater than ourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

* "Go tell your master" -Either Elijah knew Obadiah or recognized Obadiah's position.

* "Elijah is here." -This message would not have been easy to deliver for it would not be accepted well. Why did Elijah think his visit to the evil king needed to be announced? Did Elijah know that the king was moving in the opposite direction and not at the palace in Samaria? Perhaps not. Perhaps Elijah wanted to talk to the king without the queen present.

>How much did Ahad hate Elijah? (9-11)

* 1 Kings 18:9-11 "What have I done wrong," asked Obadiah, "that you are handing your servant over to Ahab to be put to death? As surely as the LORD your God lives, there is not a nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to look for you. And whenever a nation or kingdom claimed you were not there, he made them swear they could not find you. But now you tell me to go to my master and say, 'Elijah is here.'"

* "What have I done wrong" -Obadiah was conscience about keeping the law of the Lord.

* "you are handing your servant" -Obadiah calls himself Elijah's servant. He is the type of servant that questions his master's decision.

* "over to Ahab to be put to death" -Ahab's threat was real. Ahab was notorious for killing people, especially those who had faith in the Lord God of Israel.

* "there is not a nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to look for you" -Think of all the money, time and effort waisted on looking for Elijah. Similarly, Saul looked for David. During the seven last years of this age, the Antichrist will do the same, sparing nothing to kill all those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

* "sent someone to look for you" -The king made people look everywhere and constantly. He sent people to look not only to find Elijah, but it may have been a test to see if they would say something about Elijah.

* "He will kill me" -Obadiah knew the king hated Elijah and all of God's people so much that he killed them without blinking an eye.

* Elijah was public enemy number one because he was the leader of the prophets.

* Even though people were sent to look for Elijah he did not leave Israel. The Lord protected Elijah just like David was protected from Saul. Saul killed a lot of priests and Ahab killed a lot of prophets, but the Lord kept some of his people safe. Similarly, the Antichrist will kill some of Jesus' followers, but some will remain alive until Jesus second coming.

* Ahab's rebellion and hate for God was taken out on Elijah. Saul and the Antichrist are the same. Throughout the years and centuries the enemies of God have persecuted God's people because they hate God. In my lifetime more Christians have been killed than in any generation before it. Every week I hear of fellow believers being killed because they confess the name of Jesus.

* Obadiah had fear, but he overcame his fear and obeyed.

>4. What did Elijah tell Obadiah? (12-14)

* 1 Kings 18:12-14 "I don't know where the Spirit of the LORD may carry you when I leave you. If I go and tell Ahab and he doesn't find you, he will kill me. Yet I your servant have worshiped the LORD since my youth. Haven't you heard, my lord, what I did while Jezebel was killing the prophets of the LORD? I hid a hundred of the LORD's prophets in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water. And now you tell me to go to my master and say, 'Elijah is here.' He will kill me!"

* "I don't know where the Spirit of the LORD may carry you when I leave you" -Obadiah knew how the Holy Spirit leads and guides a prophet perhaps because he spent so much time with the prophets of the Lord. The Holy Spirit is in all believers now. However, not all believers are filled with the Spirit. What is meant by this statement is that often God's people resist the Spirit's leading and guiding. The prophet Jonah did this. Peter told Ananias that he lied to the Holy Spirit." (Acts 1:3) We need to ask ourselves, "Am I a believer in Jesus who is not full of the Holy Spirit? Do I follow the Holy Spirit's leading? Or do I resist?"

* "he will kill me" -Ahab would not hesitate in killing a man for simply misinforming him. Such is the way of leaders who resist God's work. I have even seen some leaders in a congregation of believers treat those under their care this way. Jesus told a parable about servants who beat and mistreated his fellow servants meaning religious leaders within the body of Christ. (Matthew 24:49)

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>What can be learn from Elijah who confronted Ahab? (15; Mark 8:38)

* 1 Kings 18:15 "Elijah said, "As the LORD Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today."

* Mark 8:38 "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."

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>II. Elijah on Mount Carmel (16-46)

>5. What did Elijah boldly tell Ahab to do? (16-19)

* 1 Kings 18:16-19 "So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. When he saw Elijah, he said to him, "Is that you, you troubler of Israel?" "I have not made trouble for Israel," Elijah replied. "But you and your father's family have. You have abandoned the LORD's commands and have followed the Baals. Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table.""

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>What did Elijah demand the people of Israel to do? (20-21; Josh. 24:14-15)

* 1 Kings 18:20-21 "So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. Elijah went before the people and said, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." But the people said nothing."

* Joshua 24:14-15 "Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

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>How did Elijah challenge the prophets of Baal? (22-24; Luke 1:17)

* 1 Kings 18:22-24 "Then Elijah said to them, "I am the only one of the LORD's prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. Get two bulls for us. Let them choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire--he is God." Then all the people said, "What you say is good."

* Luke 1:17 "And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

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>6. What did the prophets of Baal do in order to get a response from Baal? (25-29)

* 1 Kings 18:27-29 "At noon Elijah began to taunt them. "Shout louder!" he said. "Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened." So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention."

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>Why was there no answer? (1 Cor. 8:4-6)

* 1 Corinthians 8:4-8 "So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

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>7. What did Elijah do to prepare the environment before he prayed? (30-35)

* 1 Kings 18:30-35 "Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come here to me." They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which was in ruins. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, "Your name shall be Israel." With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, "Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood." "Do it again," he said, and they did it again. "Do it a third time," he ordered, and they did it the third time. The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench."

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>8. What were Elijah's earnest prayer topics? (36-37)

* 1 Kings 18:36-37 "At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again."

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>Who is God that Elijah could depend on him?

* John 14:1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me."

* Matthew 26:63-64 "But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God." "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

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>What can we learn about being God's servant from Elijah? (1 Tim. 6:11-12)

* 1 Timothy 6:11-16 "But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time--God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

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>9. What signs did God use to show that he is the LORD? (38-39)

* 1 Kings 18:38-39 "Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD--he is God! The LORD--he is God!"

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>How did Elijah deal with the prophets of Baal? (40)

* 1 Kings 18:40 "Then Elijah commanded them, "Seize the prophets of Baal. Don't let anyone get away!" They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there."

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>10. How did God answer Elijah's prayer? (41-46)

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>10. What does the fact that he had to prayer more than once tells us about the source of power?

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