1. ELIJAH’S ORIGIN AND CALLING
a. Who was Elijah, and what type of man was he? 1 Kings 17:1; James 5:17.
“Elijah . . . was born among the mountains of Gilead, east of the Jordan, and came from a nation that was overspread with the abominations of the Amorites. But he entered upon his work with the word of faith and power on his lips, and his whole life was devoted to the work of reform.”—The Review and Herald, August 14, 1913.
b. What kind of person does God often pass by, and whom does He call instead? 1 Corinthians 1:26–28.
“In the common walks of life there is many a toiler patiently treading the round of his daily tasks, unconscious of latent powers that, roused to action, would place him among the world’s great leaders. The touch of a skillful hand is needed to arouse and develop those dormant faculties. It was such men whom Jesus connected with Himself; and He gave them the advantages of three years’ training under His own care. No course of study in the schools of the rabbis or the halls of philosophy could have equaled this in value.”—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 511.
2. MEETING APOSTASY
a. Why did Elijah enter into the king’s palace to give a public rebuke of Israel’s apostasy? John 16:8; 3:20; 1 Timothy 5:20.
“To Elijah was entrusted the mission of delivering to Ahab Heaven’s message of judgment. He did not seek to be the Lord’s messenger; the word of the Lord came to him. And jealous for the honor of God’s cause, he did not hesitate to obey the divine summons, though to obey seemed to invite swift destruction at the hand of the wicked king. The prophet set out at once and traveled night and day until he reached Samaria. On reaching the palace, he solicited no admission, nor waited to be formally announced. Clad in the coarse garments usually worn by the prophets of that time, he passed the guards, apparently unnoticed, and stood for a moment before the astonished king.
“Elijah made no apology for his abrupt appearance. A greater than the ruler of Israel had commissioned him to speak, and lifting his hand toward heaven, he solemnly affirmed by the living God that the judgments of the Most High were about to fall upon Israel. ‘There shall not be dew nor rain these years,’ he declared, ‘but according to my word’ (1 Kings 17:1).”—The Review and Herald, August 14, 1913.
b. For what purpose did Elijah later rebuke the King? 1 Kings 18:17, 18; Job 17:8.
“It was disregard of the law of God on the part of Ahab and his people that had brought all their calamities upon them; and Elijah hesitated not to declare the whole truth to the guilty king. The world is full of flatterers and dissemblers, both in palaces and in the ordinary walks of life; but how few there are who have the courage that Elijah manifested—how few who will stand in defense of the broken law of God in opposition to the great men of earth.”—The Signs of the Times, December 18, 1884.
“The Lord seeks to save, not to destroy. He delights in the rescue of sinners. ‘As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked’ (Ezekiel 33:11). . . . He gives His chosen messengers a holy boldness, that those who hear may fear and be brought to repentance.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 105.
3. THE CALL TO CHOOSE
a. When he was on Mount Carmel, calling for reform, what was Elijah’s challenging question? 1 Kings 18:21.
“Elijah, amid the general apostasy, did not seek to hide the fact that he served the God of heaven. Baal’s prophets numbered four hundred and fifty, his priests, four hundred, and his worshipers were thousands; yet Elijah did not try to make it appear that he was on the popular side. He grandly stood alone. . . . Where are the Elijahs of today? . . .
“Nothing is gained by cowardice or by fearing to let it be known that we are God’s commandment-keeping people. Hiding our light, as if ashamed of our faith, will result only in disaster. God will leave us to our own weakness. May the Lord forbid that we should refuse to let our light shine forth in any place to which He may call us. If we venture to go forth of ourselves, following our own ideas, our own plans, and leave Jesus behind, we need not expect to gain fortitude, courage, or spiritual strength. God has had moral heroes, and He has them now—those who are not ashamed of being His peculiar people. Their wills and plans are all subordinate to the law of God. The love of Jesus has led them not to count their lives dear unto themselves. . . .‘Fidelity to God’ is their motto.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 526-528.
b. What did Elijah do as a first step in the work of reform? 1 Kings 18:30.
“Like a dark cloud, deception and blindness had overspread Israel. Not all at once had this fatal apostasy closed about them, but gradually, as from time to time they had failed to heed the words of warning and reproof that the Lord sent them. Each departure from rightdoing, each refusal to repent, had deepened their guilt and driven them farther from Heaven. And now, in this crisis, they persisted in refusing to take their stand for God.
“The Lord abhors indifference and disloyalty in a time of crisis in His work. The whole universe is watching with inexpressible interest the closing scenes of the great controversy between good and evil. The people of God are nearing the borders of the eternal world; what can be of more importance to them than that they be loyal to the God of heaven?”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 147, 148.
4. GOD’S POWER REVEALED
a. Name some reformers from the past. Luke 1:17; Genesis 32:28; Exodus 9:16. How did they obtain the power needed to fulfill their mission? Psalms 27:14; 28:7.
“If men will walk with God, He will hide them in the cleft of the Rock. Thus hidden, they can see God, even as Moses saw Him. By the power and light that He imparts they can comprehend more and accomplish more than their finite judgment had seemed possible.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 363.
“Jacob prevailed because he was persevering and determined. His experience testifies to the power of importunate prayer. It is now that we are to learn this lesson of prevailing prayer, of unyielding faith. The greatest victories to the church of Christ or to the individual Christian are not those that are gained by talent or education, by wealth or the favor of men. They are those victories that are gained in the audience chamber with God, when earnest, agonizing faith lays hold upon the mighty arm of power.
“Those who are unwilling to forsake every sin and to seek earnestly for God’s blessing, will not obtain it. But all who will lay hold of God’s promises as did Jacob, and be as earnest and persevering as he was, will succeed as he succeeded. ‘Shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily’ (Luke 18:7, 8).”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 203.
b. What promises can today’s reformers claim when they see their need of divine power? Psalm 68:35; 2 Samuel 22:32, 33.
“Not alone for men in positions of large responsibility is the lesson of Elijah’s experience in learning anew how to trust God in the hour of trial. He who was Elijah’s strength is strong to uphold every struggling child of His, no matter how weak. Of every one He expects loyalty, and to every- one He grants power according to the need. In his own strength man is strengthless; but in the might of God he may be strong to overcome evil and to help others to overcome. Satan can never gain advantage of him who makes God his defense. ‘Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength. . . . In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.’”—The Review and Herald, October 30, 1913.
5. STANDING ALONE?
a. In vindicating God and His law, was Elijah alone? Why or why not? Psalms 34:7; 91:11; 103:20.
“Facing King Ahab and the false prophets, and surrounded by the assembled hosts of Israel, Elijah stands, the only one who has appeared to vindicate the honor of Jehovah. . . . But Elijah is not alone. Above and around him are the protecting hosts of heaven—angels that excel in strength.”—The Review and Herald, September 18, 1913.
b. When standing alone in defense of truth and righteousness, what should we remember? 1 Kings 19:18.
“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.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 171.
“When you suffer reproach and persecution you are in excellent company; for Jesus endured it all, and much more. If you are faithful sentinels for God, these things are a compliment to you. It is the heroic souls, who will be true if they stand alone, who will win the imperishable crown.”—The Youth’s Instructor, May 28, 1884.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. From where does God often call people and why?
2. Instead of rebuking sin, what do most people do instead?
3. What does it show if we hide our light, and what will be the result?
4. How do we obtain the blessing of having God’s power working in our life?
5. When we are the only ones standing for the truth, why are we not really alone?