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Elijah was one of the most colorful of all Israel’s prophets. He suffered from bouts of depression and self-doubt, but during times of crisis he showed amazing courage. The Mount Carmel showdown was merely one sign of the high drama going on.
However, Queen Jezebel’s reputation was such that Elijah ran away from her in fear even after God had spectacularly displayed His power on Mount Caramel.
1. Have you ever had a “mid-life crisis” or seen a family member go through it: once? never? several times? Explain what it was like.
2. Had Jezebel been on Carmel, would she be invoking her gods this way (verses 1, 2)? Why?
3. Why is Elijah suddenly afraid (verse 3)? Is he despondent, fearful or just in a post-adrenaline slump?
4. Why did Elijah pray to die?
- he was afraid
- he was depressed
- he was totally drained
- he was having a faith crisis
- he felt all alone and unsupported
5. Why go to Judah? The desert? Why doesn’t God take Elijah’s life (verse 4)?
6. Is the food here an unmediated miracle, or had some “widow of Zarephath” been watching (verse 6; see also 1 Kings 17:9 – 11)?
7. What is significant about the 40 days and nights? About Mount Horeb? For what does Elijah hope (Exodus 3:1, 2; Deuteronomy 4:10 – 14)?
8. With what tone does Elijah answer God in verse 10? Whom is Elijah blaming for all the trouble?
9. What did Elijah need the most?
- physical replenishment
- some peace and quiet
- a spiritual retreat
- an attitude adjustment
- some answers about life
- fellowship with other believers
- a fresh vision from God
10. What’s the point of God’s three “false starts” (verses 11, 12; see also Exodus 19:9, 16 – 19)? How does Elijah’s close encounter differ from Moses’? What is God’s message when He finally does speak?
11. What was God saying through the wind, the earthquake, the fire and the whisper?
- “I’m in control”
- “Stop whining and listen to me”
- Don’t expect Me to be so dramatic all the time”
- You’re not alone
12. What was God saying to Elijah in verses 15 – 18?
- “Your ministry is far from over”
- “Trust me”
- “Stop moping and get moving”
- “You’re not alone”
13. What’s the point of the cloak-throw (verse 19)? Of slaughtering oxen and burning the plow (verse 21)?
14. Has your life taken a discouraging turn lately? Does God seem to care at all in your struggle? How can you be helped?
15. Has God ever asked you “What are you doing here?” What was your answer?
16. What might tempt you to give up in your service of God? What might prompt you to abandon your chosen profession? Have you “burned the plow” in some other way?
17. Has God ever appeared in some spectacular way to you? In some “small” way? How so?
18. Have you admired someone else’s spiritual experiences but found they don’t happen to you? Do you feel like a failure? Inadequate? Angry at God?
19. After a great victory, I usually:
- bask in it
- expect a letdown
- move on to the next challenge
20. Which (if any) of the answers in Question #4 sound like you? Which of the choices in Question #9 do you need the most?
21. In healing from the pain in your past, how do you sense God whispering to you, “You’re not alone” – in terms of God’s presence? In terms of the support of those God has “reserved” for you?
22. When you feel drained by the pressures or injustices of life, what do you do? Is there any action you can take to find God? Or do you have to wait for God to call you out of your “cave”
23. In the midst of all your hard work, are you developing the leadership who will eventually replace you? Who are you a mentoring?