1 Kings 19 - Elijah and Jezebel

Welcome to everyone.

Last week we read the famous story of Elijah confronting the prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel.

He and his fellow Israelites killed ALL of the false prophets of Baal.

God was trying to reach King Ahab through Elijah.
All indications are that he was not willing to repent.

Elijah and Ahab left Mt Carmel headed to Jezreel to confront Queen Jezebel.

[Slide]
Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done
and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.
2 Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah

[he was apparently waiting outside to gain permission to see the Queen]...

Her message to Elijah was,
"May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely,
if by this time tomorrow I do not kill you like you did the prophets of Baal."

3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. 1 Kings 19:1-3

We all love Elijah.
His victory over the prophets of Baal is such a great story.

But he was a man, a human...just like us.

He is at her palace, probably surrounding by soldiers.
It appears that he is afraid Jezebel will kill him...
so he runs.

The amazing thing about the scriptures is the honesty.
Some of you might remember my teaching from
Hebrews 11, the Faith Hall of Fame.

How our heroes of the faith in that chapter are flawed and sinful men and women.

Well, Elijah is such a character.

He has just defeated the prophets of Baal...
and now runs in fear from the Queen.

He runs a days journey directly south - AWAY from the Northern Kingdom into Judah.

This makes sense - Jezebel and any soldiers of Ahab cannot just travel into Judah without conflict.

He comes to a tree and sits down in the shade...
He is tired...hungry and thirsty.

He tells God to just take his life...
and he says, "I am no better than my fathers who lived before me."
WHY does he say this???
An angel appears with food and water, urging him to eat and drink...

He needed strength for the journey.

He is refreshed and then continues on his journey south to Mt Horeb. The text says he traveled 40 days.

The exact location of Mt Horeb is debated, but the distance Elijah traveled...no matter which location is used was between 260-300 miles.

If it took him 40 days he was going at a very slow pace.
The number 40 might be an ancient term used to indicate "a long time."

Kind of like "it took me forever."
Of course, now the youngsters are saying "it's been a minute," when they really mean "a long time."

Let's see what happens once Elijah gets to Mt Horeb.

[Slide]
Then he found a cave and lodged there.
And the word of the Lord came to him, and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"


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PRAYER
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[8 min]

Elijah has defeated the 450 prophets of Baal.
He went to confront Jezebel...probably hoping that both Ahab and the Queen would repent.

Instead, Jezebel yells out that she will have Elijah killed.

So he runs to the southern end of Judah...260 miles away...
to Mt Horeb where Moses received the Law.

When he gets there the Lord asks him "What are you doing here?"

Elijah answers:
"I have been zealous for You.
They are worshipping Baal...and killing Your prophets.
I am the ONLY one left and they are trying to kill me."

Then we have the famous passage where God tells Elijah to go outside of the cave...
A strong wind...maybe a large dust devil comes by...
Then an earthquake happens.
Then a fire...like a prarie fire swept by.

And the text says that God was NOT in any of these physical manifestations.

THEN Elijah hears "a still small voice" - and he hides his face.

At some point Elijah went back inside the cave...

Because the text says When he hears God speak to him...he walks back outside the cave.
Once outside, God asks Elijah again:
"What are doing here?"

This is the second time God asks him this question.
That tells me Elijah's first answer must not have been a good one.

[11 min]

[Slide]
15 The Lord said to him,
"Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus."

Now this is interesting.
Think about what the young prophet was told when the Lord directed him to rebuke King Jeroboam...

"Do not go back the way you came."

God has asked Elijah twice,
"What are you doing here?"

Then God tells him to retrace his steps.
This implies to me that Elijah is NOT supposed to be WHERE he is.

Now listen to what God says,
[Slide]
"When you get to the Desert of Damascus,
anoint Hazael king over Aram.
16 Anoint Jehu...king over Israel,
and anoint Elisha...to succeed you as prophet."


This is God's notice to Elijah that he is done.

When God asked Elijah "Why are you here?"
It is a rebuke.

I think the still, small voice said something to Elijah like, "Why are you afraid of this Queen?"

He hides his face...I think in shame when he hears this still, small voice.

Elijah is not supposed to be in southern Judah.
He is supposed to be Jezreel confronting Jezebel face to face.

Elijah got scared...and ran.

After calling down fire from heaven - Elijah is scared.
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God gives Elijah three things he is to do:

1. Anoint Hazael to be King of Aram
2. Anoint Jehu to be King of Israel

But the final thing stings:
3. Anoint Elisha to succeed you as THE prophet to Israel.

I imagine this cuts the great prophet to the core.
I think he knew he failed to be obedient when he asked God to kill him, saying he was no better than his fore-fathers.

Sadly,
If you read the remainder of 1 and 2 Kings...
Elijah fails to do these three things.

1. Elisha tells Hazael he will be the King - 2 Kings 8
2. Elisha anoints Jehu King of Israel - 2 Kings 9

3. Elijah throws his cloak around Elisha - 1 Kings 19:19
This is significant, but he does not anoint him with oil.

He tries to avoid anointing Elisha, but Elisha will not leave his side.

Finally, Elijah is taken by God in a miraculous way and
Elisha gets his cloak. The Spirit of God falls on Elisha...
which was what God intended.

But Elijah failed to do what God told him.

In 2 Kings 9
This is what Elisha tells Jehu when he is anointed to be the King of Israel:

[Slide]
7 "You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master,
and I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets
and the blood of all the Lord's servants shed by Jezebel.

8 The whole house of Ahab will perish. I will kill every last male in Ahab's line...

10 As for Jezebel, dogs will eat her on a plot of ground in Jezreel, no one will bury her."


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I said some things last week about listening for God's voice...then doing what He asks...or tells us to do.

We should all want to be used by God.

Probably none of us are going to call down fire from heaven.
But He is looking for people who will just do what He asks.

Elijah did something heroic and HUGE...
But it appears that he failed to obey...he was supposed to confront Jezebel
...and it led to his replacement.

God is not looking for you to be hero.
He just wants you to do the simple things He asks.

We get caught up wanting to do the BIG things.
But really the BIG events only come around from time to time.

It's the small, daily tasks - the small disciplines - that make our lives run smoothly.

If you do not straighten up behind yourself...your house becomes a big mess.

If you don't do the simple daily things on your job...
You will find yourself overwhelmed with too much on your plate.

God is looking for us to listen for Him...
and to do the little things.

Matthew 25:23 "Well done, good servant!
You have been faithful with small things;
I will put you in charge of greater things.

Do the small things well...
Listen for God to speak to you.

Let's Pray.

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