Finding God’s Guidance

MEMORY VERSE: “Show me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me.” —Psalm 25:4,5

I KINGS 19:9-18

THIS lesson is based upon some of the experiences of the Prophet Elijah, whom James refers to as being a man “subject to like passions as we are.” He was a man of great faith, as were all those ancient servants of God. He prayed that it might not rain on the earth for three and one-half years, and this prayer was answered. And then he prayed again, “and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”—James 5:17,18

He was used by the Lord to awaken the son of a widow from the sleep of death. Then, by the direction of the Lord, he challenged the priests of Baal, was victorious over them, and they were slain—four hundred and fifty of them. Queen Jezebel, whom these slain priests had served, upon learning of what had occurred, vowed that she would have Elijah slain, and he fled from her.

While he had shown great faith, and had much evidence of the Lord’s protecting care, now he became frustrated and fearful. Perhaps this is why James speaks of him as being a man of like passions as we. When he received the word concerning Jezebel’s intentions “he arose and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die.”—I Kings 19:4

Here Elijah displays a little uncertainty. He was running to escape Jezebel, for she had threatened to kill him, but at the same time he was asking the Lord to let him die. In this state of mind he fell asleep, and when rested, an angel awakened him and supplied him with enough food to journey on to Mt. Horeb (probably Mt. Sinai).

The desert country in this area was very inhospitable and dangerous, and almost the only means of escape from death was usually a cave, and here we find Elijah. But the Lord found his prophet in the cave and said, “What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous [zealous] for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away”

The Lord then instructed him to go forth from the cave and to stand on the mount before him, and when he did, he witnessed three miraculous demonstrations of divine power “which rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.”

The implication here is that the Lord did speak to Elijah through the “still small voice.” Some scholars explain that this expression translates what the Hebrew literally describes as a “voice of stillness.” The thought would be that after the earthquake, the wind, and the fire there was a great silence. The prophet recognized this as God speaking to him, so he wrapped his face in his mantle to keep from seeing God, which, to the ancients, meant death; and indeed, the Bible says that no one can look upon God and live.

Again the Lord asked Elijah what he was doing there, and again he told God how faithful he had been, and that now he was the only one left in the land who served Him. The Lord corrected this by explaining that there were more than seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal.

Then he commissioned Elijah to re-enter his service, directing him to go to Damascus and anoint Hazael king over Syria, and to anoint Jehu to be king over Israel. And he was also to anoint Elisha to succeed him as prophet. The anointing of the two kings mentioned was probably a follow-through of Elijah’s work of reformation.

It was the custom in those days to anoint kings, but not prophets; but for some reason the Lord wanted Elisha to be anointed as Elijah’s successor. We may not always know the Lord’s reasons for what he does, but we know that they are wise, and in the best interests of his people.


Relate some of the outstanding experiences of Elijah as a prophet of God.

How did the Lord direct him?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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