Category: Book of 1 Kings

1 Kings 17:17-24

In Luke 17:5, the apostles asked Christ to increase their faith. The Lord told them that if they had faith as small as a mustard seed, they could do great things. God does not enlarge our faith instantly. He begins with what little we have and proceeds to grow it.

Elijah was in a faith-building program. The Lord gave him increasingly difficult challenges of reliance and obedience. Back at the brook, the prophet had to depend on the Lord for his own survival. But at Zarephath, he trusted God to provide for both himself and a widow. And in today’s passage, he served her in an even larger way by raising her son to life.

Each act of believing God and the ensuing step of obedience resulted in increased opportunities for Elijah to serve the Lord and others. Raising the dead may seem like the height of his ministry, but it was to be followed by an even greater opportunity to influence an entire nation for God. Elijah was about to face the biggest spiritual battle of his life (1 Kings 18)—all his previous demonstrations of faith and obedience were the Lord’s way of preparing him.

God wants each of us to be influential in His kingdom. He knows which faith challenges to present so that we can be entrusted with even greater tasks.

The Lord will provide occasions for you to believe Him and respond in obedience. These situations are what we call “problems.” Begin to look at each difficulty as an opportunity designed by God specifically for the purpose of increasing your faith so He can do great things in and through you.

Author: The Book of 1 Kings does not specifically name its  author. The tradition is that it was written by the Prophet  Jeremiah.

Date of Writing: The Book of 1 Kings was  likely written between 560 and 540 B.C.

Purpose of  Writing: This book is the sequel to 1 and 2 Samuel and begins by  tracing Solomon’s rise to kingship after the death of David. The story  begins with a united kingdom, but ends in a nation divided into 2 kingdoms,  known as Judah and Israel. 1 and 2 Kings are combined into one book in the  Hebrew Bible.

Key Verses: 1 Kings  1:30, “I will surely carry out today what I swore to you by the LORD, the  God of Israel: Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my  throne in my place.”

1 Kings 9:3,  “The LORD said to him: ‘I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before  me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name  there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.'”

1 Kings 12:16, “When all  Israel saw that the king refused to listen to them, they answered the king:  ‘What share do we have in David, what part in Jesse’s son? To your tents, O  Israel! Look after your own house, O David!'”

1 Kings 12:28, “After  seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, ‘It is  too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who  brought you up out of Egypt.'”

1 Kings  17:1, “Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the  LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain  in the next few years except at my word.'”

Brief Summary:  The Book of 1 Kings starts with Solomon and ends with Elijah. The  difference between the two gives you an idea as to what lies between. Solomon  was born after a palace scandal between David and Bathsheba. Like his father, he  had a weakness for women that would bring him down. Solomon did well at first,  praying for wisdom and building a temple to God that took seven years. But then  he spent 13 years building a palace for himself. His accumulation of many wives  led him to worship their idols and led him away from God. After Solomon’s death,  Israel was ruled by a series of kings, most of whom were evil and idolatrous.  This, in turn, led the nation away from God and even the preaching of Elijah  could not bring them back. Among the most evil kings was Ahab and his queen,  Jezebel, who brought the worship of Baal to new heights in Israel. Elijah tried  to turn the Israelites back to the worship of Jehovah, even challenging the  idolatrous priests of Baal to a showdown with God on Mount Carmel. Of course God  won. This made Queen Jezebel angry (to say the least). She ordered Elijah’s  death so he ran away and hid in the wilderness. Depressed and exhausted, he  said; “Let me die.” But God sent food and encouragement to the prophet and  whispered to him in a “quiet gentle sound,” and in the process saved his life  for further work.

Foreshadowings: The Temple in  Jerusalem, where God’s Spirit would dwell in the Holy of Holies, foreshadows  believers in Christ in whom the Holy Spirit resides from the moment of our  salvation. Just as the Israelites were to forsake idolatry, so are we to put  away anything that separates us from God. We are His people, the very temple of  the living God. Second Corinthians 6:16 tells us, “What agreement is  there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living  God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be  their God, and they will be my people.’”

Elijah the prophet was for  forerunner of Christ and the Apostles of the New Testament. God enabled Elijah  to do miraculous things in order to prove that he was truly a man of God. He  raised from the dead the son of the widow of Zarephath, causing her to exclaim,  “”Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your  mouth is the truth.” In the same way, men of God who spoke His words through His  power are evident in the New Testament. Not only did Jesus raise Lazarus from  the dead, but He also raised the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:14-15) and Jairus’  daughter (Luke  8:52-56). The Apostle Peter raised Dorcas (Acts 9:40) and  Paul raised Eutychus (Acts  20:9-12).

Practical Application: The Book of 1  Kings has many lessons for believers. We see a warning about the company we  keep, and especially in regard to close associations and marriage. The kings of  Israel who, like Solomon, married foreign women exposed themselves and the  people they ruled to evil. As believers in Christ, we must be very careful about  whom we choose as friends, business associates, and spouses. “Do not be misled:  Bad company corrupts good character” (1  Corinthians 15:33).

Elijah’s experience in the wilderness also  teaches a valuable lesson. After his incredible victory over the 450 prophets of  Baal on Mount Carmel, his joy turned to sorrow when he was pursued by Jezebel  and fled for his life. Such “mountaintop” experiences are often followed by a  letdown and the depression and discouragement that can follow. We have to be on  guard for this type of experience in the Christian life. But our God is faithful  and will never leave or forsake us. The quiet, gentle sound that encouraged  Elijah will encourage us.

Solomon is the third and last king of the united kingdom of Israel,  following King Saul and King David. He was the son of David and Bathsheba, the  former wife of Uriah the Hittite whom David had killed to hide his adultery with  Bathsheba while her husband was on the battle front. Solomon wrote the Song of  Solomon, the book of Ecclesiastes, and much of the book of Proverbs. His  authorship of Ecclesiastes is contested by some, but Solomon is the only “son of  David” to be “king over Israel” (not just Judah) “in Jerusalem” (Ecclesiastes 1:1, 12),  and many of the descriptions of the author fit Solomon perfectly. Solomon  reigned for 40 years (1 Kings  11:42).

What are the highlights of Solomon’s life? When he ascended  to the throne, he sought after God and God gave him opportunity to ask for  whatever he wanted. Solomon humbly acknowledged his inability to rule well and  unselfishly asked God for the wisdom he would need to rule God’s people justly.  God gave him wisdom and wealth besides (1 Kings 3:410:27). In  fact, his riches and wisdom surpassed all of the kings of the earth (1 Kings 10:23). God also  gave him peace on all sides during most of his reign (1 Kings 4:20-25). The  favorite illustration of that wisdom is his judging a dispute over the identity  of the true mother of an infant child (1 Kings  3:16-28). Solomon was not only wise in his rule but had great general wisdom  as well. His wisdom was renowned in his day, and the Queen of Sheba traveled  1,200 miles to verify the rumors of his wisdom and grandeur (1 Kings 10).  Solomon wrote many proverbs and songs (1 Kings  4:32) and completed many building projects (1 Kings  7:1-12, 9:15-23). Solomon also built a fleet of ships and  acquired tons of gold from Ophir with Hiram, king of Tyre, as a partner (1 Kings  9:26-28; 10:11, 22). Solomon had 700 wives  and 300 concubines, many of them foreigners who led him into public idolatry in  his old age, greatly angering God (1 Kings  11:1-13).

There are many lessons we can learn from the life of  Solomon. First, when we seek God with all of our heart, He will be found (1 Kings 3:3-7). Second,  those who honor God will be honored by Him (1 Kings  3:11-13; 1 Samuel  2:30). Third, God will equip us to accomplish the tasks He calls us to if we  will rely on Him (1 Kings 3; Romans  12:3-8; 2 Peter  1:3). Fourth, the spiritual life is a marathon, not a sprint. A good start  is not always enough to finish well (1 Kings 3, 11). Fifth, we can sincerely ask  God to incline our hearts toward Him (1 Kings  8:57-58), but we will wander off the path of righteousness if we choose to  violate His revealed word. Contrary to God’s written word concerning kings,  Solomon multiplied to himself gold, horses, and wives (700 wives and 300  concubines) (Deuteronomy 17:14-17). He also married non-Jewish wives  (Deuteronomy  7:3, 4; Exodus 34:16). Sixth, those  closest to us will affect our spiritual lives (Exodus  34:16; 1 Kings  11:1-8; Daniel 1, 3; 1  Corinthians 15:33), and we must therefore be very careful of the company we  keep. Seventh, life lived apart from God will be meaningless, regardless of  education, fulfilled goals, the greatest of pleasures, and the greatest  abundance of wealth (Ecclesiastes 1:2).