how does a miracle happen

Rev. Prof. Jacob Abraham
Associate Professor of English St. Cyril’s College, Adoor
Mizpah, Canan Nagar, Manakala P.O, Adoor, Kerala, India – 691551. Phone: 9961330751. Email: jacobrev@gmail.com
28032010

Elijah the Tishbite

1 Kings 17 :1 And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

The history of this great man is introduced very abruptly His origin is enveloped in perfect obscurity. He is here said to be a Tishbite. Tishbeh was a city beyond Jordan, in the tribe of Gad, and in the land of Gilead. Who was his father, or from what tribe he sprang, is not intimated He seems to have been the prophet of Israel peculiarly, as we never find him prophesying in Judah.

Apocryphal Writers And His Parentage

1. A number of apocryphal writers have trifled at large about his parentage, miraculous birth, of his continual celibacy, his academy of the prophets, etc. 2. One opinion is that he had no earthly parentage known to any man i. ii. He was an angel of God, united for a time to a human body He came in order to call men back to perfect purity, both in doctrine and manners, from which they had totally swerved.

3. His Hebrew name is Eliyahu 4. It signifies “he is my God”. 5. He could not be the Messiah - for we find him with Moses on the mount of transfiguration with Christ.

6. The conjecture that he was an angel seems countenanced by the manner of his departure from this world 7. In James 5:17 - he is said to be a man of like passions, or rather with real human propensities 8. So he was a real man.

James 5:17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. {subject...: of the same nature, that is, a fellow mortal} {earnestly: or, in his prayer}

Why No Rain

Deuteronomy 11 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Moses exhorts them to obedience by rehearsing God's works (1-7). By describing the goodness of the land (8-12). By promises and threats (13-17). An exhortation to teach their children, closed with a promise (18-2). A blessing and a curse (26-32).

Deuteronomy 11:13 - 17 13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14 That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. 15 And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full. 16 Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; 17 And then the LORD'S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.

6. Elijah was releasing this curse on the people through his words.

1 Kings 17:1 And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.

Elijah at Cherith

1. Elijah was asked by God to hid at Cherith 2. He went and dwelt by the brook Cherith 1 Kings 17: 4 And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. 3. Ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. 4. And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. 1 Kings 17:7 And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.

5. So Elijah was asked to move to Zarephath

1 Kings 17: 9 Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.

6. God's providing for his prophet, first, by an unclean bird, and then by a Gentile, whom the Jews esteemed unclean 7. Zarephath was a pagan city in the country of Sidon 8. It was a presage of the calling of the Gentiles, and rejection of the Jews. 9. So Elijah was the first prophet of the Gentiles.

10. The visit of Elijah sustained the widow and her son 11. God had no intention of sustaining any one in Israel

Three Factors Necessary For A Miracle

I. AN URGE OR IMMEDIATE NEED FOR IT
1 King 17:10 – 12 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. 11 And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. 12 And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.

1. This widow was not an Israel 2. She belonged to the gentile country of Jezebel, Ahab’s wife

1 Kings 16: 28 – 31 - And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he also took Jezebel, the daughter of Eth-baal king of the Sidonians, for a wife. And he went and served Baal, and worshiped him.

3. Many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, and some, would have bidden him welcome 4. He is sent to honour and bless with his presence a city of Sidon, a Gentile city, and so becomes the first prophet of the Gentiles. 5. Jezebel was Elijah's greatest enemy 6. To show how powerless was her malice God found a hiding-place for him in her own country 7. The person appointed to entertain Elijah is not one of the rich or great men of Sidon; but a poor widow woman, in want, and desolate, is made both able and willing to sustain him.

HER CIRCUMSTANCE DEMANDS A MIRACLE

1 King 17: 12 And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.

1. Two sticks - A few sticks that number being often used indefinitely for any small number. 2. And die - For having no more provision, we must needs perish with hunger. 3. For though the famine was chiefly in the land of Israel, yet the effects of it were in Tyre and Sidon, which were fed by the corn of that land. 4. But what a poor supporter was this likely to be? who had no fuel, but what she gathered in the streets, and nothing to live upon herself, but an handful of meal and a little oil! 5. To her Elijah is sent that he might live upon providence, as much as he had done when the ravens fed him.

A HEARTFELT CRY CAN HAPPEN A MIRACLE

Genesis 15: 1 – 4 1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram, I am your shield and your exceeding great reward. 2 And Abram said, Lord God, what will You give me, since I am going childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? 3 And Abram said, Behold, You have given no seed to me. And behold, one born in my house is my heir. 4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him saying, This one shall not be your heir. But he that shall come forth out of your own bowels shall be your heir. 1. Abraham asks for something higher than the mere increase of his outward estate. 2. He here pours out before the Lord, and shows before him his trouble 3. Though we must never complain of God, yet we have leave to complain to him

4. His complaint is four fold: i. That he had no child a. Not only no son, but no seed b. If he had had a daughter, from her the promised Messiah might have come, who was to be the seed of the woman; but he had neither son nor daughter. c. He seems to lay an emphasis on that, to me. d. His neighbours were full of children, his servants had children born in his house.

ii. That he was never likely to have any, intimated in that I go

"I am going, childless, going into years, going down the hill apace; nay, I am going out of the world, going the way of all the earth. I die childless," "I leave the world, and leave no child behind me."

iii. His servants were for the present and were likely to be to him instead of sons a. While he lived, the steward of his house was Eliezer of Damascus; to him he committed the care of his family and estate, who might be faithful, but only as a servant, not as a son. b. When he died, one born in his house would be his heir, and would bear rule over all that for which he had laboured.

Delayed promises are not denied promises

iv. The want of a son was so great a trouble to him that it took away the comfort of all his enjoyments "Lord, what wilt thou give me? All is nothing to me, if I have not a son." a. b. c. d. e. Abram looked further than a temporal comfort God had, by his providence, given him some good things, and more by his promise Abram makes no account of them, because he has not a son. God gave him an express promise of a son This that is born in thy house shall not be thy heir, as thou fearest, but one that shall come forth out of thy own bowels shall be thy heir.

f. God makes heirs - he says: "This shall not, and this shall" g. Whatever men devise and design, in settling their estates, God's counsel shall stand.

JACOB’S STORY

Genesis 30: 25 – 30 25 And when Rachel had borne Joseph, it happened that Jacob said to Laban, Send me away so that I may go into my own place and to my country. 26 Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served you, and let me go. For you know my service which I have done you. 27 And Laban said to him, I pray you, if I have found favor in your eyes, stay. For I have seen omens, that the LORD has blessed me for your sake. 28 And he said, Appoint your wages and I will give. 29 He said to him, You know how I have served you, and what your cattle has become with me. 30 For you had little before I came, and it has now increased to a multitude. And the LORD has blessed you since my coming. And now when shall I provide for my own house also?

1. Jacob had already served fourteen years; and had got no patrimony whatever 2. He had now a family of twelve children, eleven sons and one daughter, besides his two wives, and their two maids, and several servants. 3. It was high time that he should get some property for these

Genesis 30: 35, 36 35 And that day he took out the he-goats that were striped and spotted, and all the shegoats that were speckled and spotted, every one that had white in it, and all the black from among the lambs, and gave them into the hand of his sons. 36 And he set three days' journey between himself and Jacob. And Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks.

Later Jacob prays to God:

Genesis 32:10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have done to Your servant. For with my staff I passed over this Jordan, and now I have become two bands.

1. 2. 3. 4.

For with my staff I passed over this Jordan Myself alone, without any attendants Poor and desolate, like a forlorn and despised pilgrim - He had no guides, no companions, no attendants. And now I am become two bands - Now I am surrounded with a numerous retinue of children and servants.

II. AN ELIJAH TO PRONOUNCE IT

1 King 17:10, 11 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. 11 And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. 1. 2. 3. 4. He did not question the command of God to go to Zarephath, but obeyed it This is the walk of faith. How unlikely it seemed that this widow who herself is preparing to die would be able to sustain the prophet Yet Elijah confidently addressed himself to her.

1 King 17:13, 14 13 And Elijah said to her, Do not fear, go. Do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it, and bring it to me. And then make for you and for your son. 14 For so says the LORD God of Israel, The pitcher of meal shall not be emptied, nor shall the jar of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sends rain on the earth.

1. This was certainly putting the widow's faith to an extraordinary trial 2. To take and give to a stranger, of whom she knew nothing, the small pittance requisite to keep her child from perishing, was too much to be expected. 3. This is a trial of her faith, and obedience, which he knew God would plentifully reward 4. She was to exercise obedient faith first, and then her needs would be supplied. Many tried to reverse this order. (Spurgen) 5. God receives no benefit for the use of his own, but he promises an ample recompence for them.

III. A WIDOW OF ZAREPHATH TO ACT TO THE WORD OF GOD

1 King 17:15, 16 15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah. And she and he and her house ate many days; 16 The pitcher of meal was not consumed, and the jar of oil did not fail, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke by Elijah.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

She had no hope of any more sustenance She gave up all hope to live She took the prophet's word that she should not lose by it. The good woman had recognized Jehovah's servant, and was ready enough to serve him She was jumped to catch the opportunity – did not took time weigh the possibility His request for bread touched her in a tender place, for she had barely enough meal for one scanty repast, and then she expected to die with her child.

7. Those who can venture upon the promise of God will make no difficulty to expose and empty them in his service, by giving him his part first. 8. Happy are all who can thus, against hope, believe and obey in hope. 9. One poor meal's meat this poor widow gave the prophet 10. In recompense of it, she and her son did eat above two years, in a time of famine. 11. It is promised to those who trust in God, that they shall not be ashamed in evil time; in days of famine they shall be satisfied. __________________________________
Here are some other Bible Teaching Materials Prophet and Warrior (English) http://www.scribd.com/doc/71703567 Blessings and Patriarchs (Malayalam) www.scribd.com/doc/67701692 Revival: Rain or Fire (Malayalam) http://www.scribd.com/doc/68754746 Identify Your Deliverer (Malayalam) http://www.scribd.com/doc/70068315 The Spirit of Jezebel (Malayalam) http://www.scribd.com Please download. Read it. Comment on it and tell your friends.

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