Daily Discipline

by Colleen Donahue

There are times when history seems at its darkest hour that God raises up a person to light a match and cut the deep darkness with even a tiny flame. Israel, God's chosen nation, was at a critical and dark time. Upon the death of King Solomon the kingdom split into two fierce factions - Israel and Judah. Israel's kings after Solomon left the Lord and acted wickedly. But none of them did as much mischief as when Ahab and his wife Jezebel took the throne.

Ahab and Jezebel wanted the old Jewish religion stamped out and forgotten. They set up new gods and new places to worship. It seemed that they almost succeeded when there appeared on the scene, one man.

He had come from Gilead - a big man with great strength but without a following, without noble birth or a high position. What could one man do against all the evil of this time? As this man bursts in upon the royal family we learn one thing about him. He was a man who stood before the Lord and was given up to God. He was...... ELIJAH!

The Background

Day 1 The background of the times in which Elijah lived is to be found in the king that ruled. The king reflected most of the country (as Israel's leader). After reading the verses, pick out at least six things that described the kind of king that Ahab was. I Kings 16:29-34

There are few clues to Elijah's personal background except that he came from the hilly country of Gilead (East of the Jordan) which was good land for large herds of livestock. Elijah dressed in a garment of hair tied with a leather belt. Livestock was probably the business of he and his family. He is not the kind of fellow that you would be expecting to confront a king. A king should be confronted by someone representing the people that has power and eloquence and a qualifying background. Elijah was tough and rugged and from a very ordinary family. His parents are not even mentioned!

Day 2 Who are the men and women that God seems to use in His work? I Corinthians 1:26-28

Day 3 Elijah's only qualification in confronting the wicked times in which he lived was the fact that he knew God, listened to God, believed God and put his whole life to serving God. God's authority was the only authority Elijah claimed and this is what we see expressed in the first confrontation with King Ahab. I Kings 17:1

(But why would God allow a drought? Natural disasters have always been a way for God to get the attention of his people. His children, the Israelites, were far away from Him and He wanted them to stop and look at their lives apart from Him. He wanted them back!)

God's Guidance For Us

Day 4 Listening for God's voice and obeying it is a mark of any true child of God. Proverbs 8:34/ Ecclesiastes 5:1/ I Samuel 15:22/ Deut.5:29

Day 5 But if God told you to hide and let Him feed you via ravens, would you be as prompt as Elijah to obey? I Kings 17:2-6

Day 6 This little incident is a good reminder to us that when God gives us a task to do, He will personally undertake our protection and provisions for His work. Isaiah 41:10/ 46:4/ Psalm 18:35/ I Peter 5:7

God had given Elijah the task of confronting a wicked king. Now He was protecting him from the results.

Day 7 Sometimes a change in our circumstances is an indication to us to be expecially attentive for God's voice. This is what Elijah faced when his water supply dried up due to the drought. God had a new job for Elijah and wanted him to move on. I Kings 17:7-9

Day 8 Have you ever felt that you had heard God's voice - acted upon it - and found that circumstances were now worse? Did you then begin to doubt that you heard God right? This certainly might have passed through Elijah's mind as he went to God's new supply source! I Kings 17:10-12

Day 9 But, man's extremity is always God's opportunity. God had led Elijah to only what appeared a worse situation. The miracle God performed through Elijah's word brought food for many and encouragement to a poor widow. I Kings 17:13-15

Day 10 We see through this miracle and many other situations that we cannot out give God. He is ever generous and longing to give more. I Kings 17:16/ Malachi 3:10/ Luke 6:38/ Philippians 4:19

Day 11 If there is any doubt that God cares for little, ordinary people like ourselves this story certainly illustrates that. Why should God send one of His greatest prophets to live with a poor widow and her son except that His love extends to even the most obscure man or woman. God desired her heart but He knew that despite the miracle of never ending food she still did not truly believe. This was evident by her accusations to Elijah when her son became ill and died. I Kings 17:17-19. Notice the guilt of "her sin" was formost in her mind.

Day 12 Elijah was as much troubled by the son's death as his mother. To pray for the dead boy speaks volumes of Elijah's faith. He believed that God, who gives life, could even give it back. Do you believe that "God is able..." in the situations facing your life? If He is able, are you willing to ask Him? Mark 9:23/ 10:27/ 11:24

Day 13 We are used to "throwing up casual prayers" which we don't think about again or even expect an answer for.But Elijah was urgent. He CRIED out! God wants to answer someone that means business and feels the kind of urgency that Elijah felt. I Kings 17:20/ Psalm 116:1-6

Day 14 Not only did Elijah cry out but he KEPT ASKING until he got his answer. How many of us are serious enough in prayer that we persist until we get an answer? I Kings 17:21-23/ Luke 18:1-8

Day 15 The result of this miracle was even more than a little boy getting his life back. God knew that the situation of sickness and death and resurrection was needed to win the mother's heart. Our kind Heavenly Father goes to any lengths to win the hearts of his children back to Him. I Kings 17:24/ Acts 3:19 / James 5: 19-20

Obadiah

Day 16 Three long years of drought had passed and the Lord speaks to Elijah to find King Ahab. He is to tell him that rain will come. Enroute to finding the king Elijah runs into Obadiah, the king's right hand man. We must take a pause from Elijah to look at Obadiah's character. Please read the whole encounter first. I Kings 18:1-15

Day 17 Obadiah thought of himself as a "devout believer in the Lord", but a secret one. He wanted all the things that the world could offer him through the prestige of his good job...but...he wanted a little of the Lord too. We either serve God or this world, but never both. We are to live "in the world" but not "of the world". James 4:4

Day 18 For the prestige of a good job he willingly worked for a king that encouraged idolatry and cared more for animals than his people. Although Obadiah did a little "good" by hiding the prophets, he still was not willing to stand up for what was right.

Obadiah was a man-pleaser not a God-pleaser. How many of us today live in a web of compromise because we fear men more than God? John 12:42-43/ Proverbs 29:25

Day 19 As a "secret believer" he had to qualify his life to Elijah. How are others to know that we serve the living God? Matthew 10:32/ I John 4:15/ I Peter 3:15

Elijah's Challenge to The People

Day 20 Why had God allowed a 3 year drought to occur in Israel? I Kings 18:16-18

Day 21 Notice the authority that Elijah had over King Ahab. Ahab despised Elijah but there was no doubt that God was in authority.

Day 22 When the people had all assembled on Mount Carmel what piercing questions did Elijah ask? I Kings 18:21

Day 23 This same question had been presented in the past and may be rephrased for us today..."How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if the things and people of this world are your God, then follow them." Deuteronomy 30:15-20/ Joshua 24:15/ Mark 10:21

Day 24 But isn't this a bit extreme? Wouldn't it be better to be a "world citizen" _do a little bit of good and go to church occasionally than nothing at all? Revelations 3:15-16 / I John 2:15-16

Elijah on Mt.Carmel

Day 25 After challenging the people to serve the one true God, Elijah set up an experiment to prove which God was real and true. What was the experiment and the ulitmate test that needed to be met? I Kings 18:22-24

Day 26 The 450 prophets of Baal had the chance to go first. What happened? I Kings 18: 25-29

Day 27 When it came time for Elijah to set up the experiment, what did he do to make it even harder for a fire to start? By doing this he ruled out any possible tricks the people might accuse him of. I Kings 18:30-35

Day 28 It was now Elijah's turn to pray. As you read his prayer--I Kings 18:36-37 -- notice these elements.....

A) It was short. God is not hard of hearing. We don't need to beg and "carry on and on".

B) He prayed to the same God the people had known throughout the centuries.

C) Motivation: To glorify God and turn the people's hearts back to Him.

D) He clarified his own position. He was a servant under God's authority.

E) An answer was needed NOW.

Day 29 God's answer to Elijah's prayer not only met the test but went above and beyond! The people now had NO DOUBT who was God. I Kings 18:38-39

Day 30 The experiment was over but there was still one more thing needed--RAIN. As you read notice the display of real faith. Real faith is based on God's word alone and not by our sight. Elijah told Ahab about the sound of heavy rain before there was even a cloud in the sky! I Kings 18: 41-46

Day 31 Do you know God as Elijah does? Are you confident that He is the one true God? Are you willing to let the world know that He can be counted on? I Kings 8:56/ Romans 4:21/ II Corinthians 1:20 / Mark 11:24/ Luke 17:6

Next month we'll continue to study Elijah as his life makes an abrupt change.

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