1. ELIJAH’S FAITH SEVERELY TESTED
a. When Jezebel, the idolatrous queen, heard of the slaying of the false prophets, what message did she send Elijah? 1 Kings 19:1, 2.
“Jezebel, hardened and impenitent, became infuriated. She refused to recognize in the events on Carmel the overruling providence of God, and, still defiant, she boldly declared that Elijah should die.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 159.
b. After revealing undaunted courage in the contest on Mount Carmel, how did Elijah show human weakness? 1 Kings 19:3.
“Elijah should not have fled from his post of duty. He should have met the threat of Jezebel with an appeal for protection to the One who had commissioned him to vindicate the honor of Jehovah. He should have told the messenger that the God in whom he trusted would protect him against the hatred of the queen.”—Ibid., p. 160.
c. To what admonition should every worker in the cause of God give serious consideration? 1 Corinthians 10:12.
a. Utterly discouraged, what did Elijah request in his prayer to God? 1 Kings 19:4. What must every witness in the cause of God expect to endure? 2 Corinthians 4:8, 9.
“Into the experience of all there come times of keen disappointment and utter discouragement—days when sorrow is the portion, and it is hard to believe that God is still the kind benefactor of His earthborn children; days when troubles harass the soul, till death seems preferable to life. It is then that many lose their hold on God and are brought into the slavery of doubt, the bondage of unbelief.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 162.
“The servants of the Lord must expect every kind of discouragement. They will be tried, not only by the anger, contempt, and cruelty of enemies, but by the indolence, inconsistency, lukewarmness, and treachery of friends and helpers. . . . Even some who seem to desire the work of God to prosper, will yet weaken the hands of His servants by hearing, reporting, and half believing the slanders, boasts, and menaces of their adversaries.”—Christian Service, pp. 239, 240.
b. What is the remedy for discouragement? Luke 21:36; 1 Thessalonians 5:8, 17. How did the apostle Paul fight off discouragement? 2 Corinthians 12:10.
“For the disheartened there is a sure remedy—faith, prayer, work. Faith and activity will impart assurance and satisfaction that will increase day by day. Are you tempted to give way to feelings of anxious foreboding or utter despondency? In the darkest days, when appearances seem most forbidding, fear not. Have faith in God. He knows your need. He has all power. His infinite love and compassion never weary. Fear not that He will fail of fulfilling His promise.”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 164, 165.
c. Instead of granting the thoughtless request of His servant, how did God show him that his work was not yet finished? 1 Kings 19:5–8.
3. A POINTED QUESTION
a. What did the Lord ask Elijah after he took refuge in a cave? 1 Kings 19:9. What rebuke was contained in the question?
“‘[The Lord God of hosts] sent you to the brook Cherith and afterward to the widow of Sarepta. I commissioned you to return to Israel and to stand before the idolatrous priests on Carmel, and I girded you with strength to guide the chariot of the king to the gate of Jezreel. But who sent you on this hasty flight into the wilderness?’”—Prophets and Kings, p. 168.
b. In bitterness of soul, what complaint did Elijah make? 1 Kings 19:10. What lesson do you think God was teaching His servant through this experience?
“[God] desired to teach Elijah that it is not always the work that makes the greatest demonstration that is most successful in accomplishing His purpose. . . .
“While Elijah waited for the revelation of the Lord, a tempest rolled, the lightnings flashed, and a devouring fire swept by; but God was not in all this. Then there came a still, small voice, and the prophet covered his head before the presence of the Lord. His petulance was silenced, his spirit softened and subdued. He now knew that a quiet trust, a firm reliance on God, would ever find for him a present help in time of need.” —Ibid., pp. 168, 169.
c. How had Elijah expected the Lord would reveal His power? 1 Kings 19:11, 12. What did Elijah finally understand when he considered the way of the Lord to convert souls? Zechariah 4:6.
“It is not always the most learned presentation of God’s truth that convicts and converts the soul. Not by eloquence or logic are men’s hearts reached but by the sweet influences of the Holy Spirit, which operate quietly yet surely in transforming and developing character. It is the still, small voice of the Spirit of God that has power to change the heart.”—Ibid., p. 169.
4. THE BEGINNING OF A DECIDED REFORM
a. What question did the Lord repeat to Elijah, and what complaint did Elijah repeat to the Lord? 1 Kings 19:13, 14. How did God assure Elijah that the unrepentant rebels in Israel would be punished? 1 Kings 19:15–17.
“The Lord answered Elijah that the wrongdoers in Israel should not go unpunished. Men were to be especially chosen to fulfill the divine purpose in the punishment of the idolatrous kingdom. There was stern work to be done, that all might be given opportunity to take their position on the side of the true God. Elijah himself was to return to Israel and share with others the burden of bringing about a reformation.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 169.
b. Who, among others, was chosen to help Elijah promote the reformation that had commenced? 1 Kings 19:19–21.
c. What parallel can be drawn between the apostasy prevalent in Israel in the days of Elijah and the apostasy which is spreading in the world today? 2 Peter 3:3–5.
“The law of God, the divine standard of righteousness, is declared [in this age] to be of no effect. The enemy of all truth is working with deceptive power to cause men and women to place human institutions where God should be, and to forget that which was ordained for the happiness and salvation of mankind.
“Yet this apostasy, widespread as it has come to be, is not universal. Not all in the world are lawless and sinful; not all have taken sides with the enemy God has many thousands who have not bowed the knee to Baal, many who long to understand more fully in regard to Christ and the law, many who are hoping against hope that Jesus will come soon to end the reign of sin and death. And there are many who have been worshiping Baal ignorantly, but with whom the Spirit of God is still striving.
“These need the personal help of those who have learned to know God and the power of His word. In such a time as this, every child of God should be actively engaged in helping others.”—Ibid., pp. 170, 171.
5. OUR EVANGELISTIC RESPONSIBILITY TODAY
a. When Elijah complained that he alone was left, what did the Lord reveal to him? 1 Kings 19:18.
“What strange work Elijah would have done in numbering Israel at the time when God’s judgments were falling upon the backsliding people! He could count only one on the Lord’s side.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 189.
b. What is our duty in view of the fact that “God has many thousands who have not bowed the knee to Baal” and “with whom the Spirit of God is still striving”? Matthew 28:19, 20.
“Among earth’s inhabitants, scattered in every land, there are those who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Like the stars of heaven, which appear only at night, these faithful ones will shine forth when darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people. . . . God has in reserve a firmament of chosen ones that will yet shine forth amidst the darkness, revealing clearly to an apostate world the transforming power of obedience to His law. . . . The darker the night, the more brilliantly will they shine. . . .
“Then let no man attempt to number Israel today, but let everyone have a heart of flesh, a heart of tender sympathy, a heart that, like the heart of Christ, reaches out for the salvation of a lost world.”—Ibid. pp. 188, 189.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How did Elijah show spiritual cowardice after demonstrating great moral strength?
2. What admonition should be seriously pondered by every believer—as each of us has been called to witness for Christ?
3. What is the remedy for discouragement?
4. When Elijah complained of being alone, what did God declare?
5. What is our duty to all who have never bowed the knee to Baal?