Thoughts for the Day

Monday, 10th June 2024: Elijah 1 - Obeying the living God

Elisha Ahab Elijah 1 Kings 17 Yahweh

Reading : Verses from 1 Kings, Chapter 17

Elijah and the ravens

Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.’ The word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Go from here and turn eastwards, and hide yourself by the Wadi Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the wadi, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.’ So he went and did according to the word of the Lord; he went and lived by the Wadi Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the wadi.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Our lectionary readings now take us back to the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament) to look at the work of the prophet Elijah, whose existence we were reminded of at the Mountain of Transfiguration recently (Mark 9.2-8), and whom the Jews believed would come to herald the Messiah. Elijah lives under the reign of Ahab (who was married to Jezebel) and who was the seventh king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, with its capital at Samaria. The bible says Ahab grew progressively more evil as he introduces the worship of Baal alongside that of Yahweh (God). The only check on his action seems to come from the prophets Elijah and Elisha. Elijah is portrayed as a kind of 'reborn' Moses in his fight to preserve the worship of Yahweh and to abolish the idolatrous worship of Baal.

Elijah lives in the mountainous region to the east of the river Jordan, and we don't read of his actual call by God, but he puts himself in mortal danger by going to king Ahab. He uses the phrase "As the Lord the God of Israel lives". This is a strong oath, bringing with it the pain of death on the one who disobeys, and he is conscious of his status as God's servant. His message from God is that the king and the people have sinned and no rain or dew will fall until things change. Since Baal the Canaanite god is the god of rain, the power of the living God has been established! The drought was to last for over three years, and Elijah initially hid in his home territory by the Wadi Kerith which was less accessible to Ahab.

Whatever we think of the reality of meat being brought by the ravens, we should note Elijah's bravery, his total belief in the message he has received from Yahweh, and the latter's provision and protection of His servant who faithfully carried out the task assigned to him.


Lord God,
may we, like Elijah, listen to Your voice
whether spoken through the scriptures,
through other people,
through circumstances that seem
more than coincidence,
or spoken as a still small voice in our heart.
Then may we have the courage to act!

Follow Up Thoughts

Here is more about Elijah - we shall look at him again over the next couple of weeks, although not every day:

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