January 14, 2018 - Toba 6, 1734
Ascension of Elijah the Prophet
Also, on this day was the departure of the prophet Elijah (Elias), the Tishbite, to heaven, alive. This prophet lived during the time of King Ahab. His heart was filled with sorrow, for he saw the king had turned from the worship of the God of Israel to the worship of idols. He followed Queen Jezebel, who helped the priests of Baalzebub. The worship of idols spread out in his days. Therefore, Elijah stood before the king and said, As the Lord God of Israel lives, before Whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word. (I Kings 17: 1) Immediately the brooks dried up, for there had been no rain in the land, and the grass dried up and the drought set in the whole land. God however did not forsake his zealous servant. He commanded him to go to the brook of Cherith, and the ravens came to him everyday and brought him bread and meat in the morning and in the evening.
The Lord ordered the water of the river to dry, but He did not forsake the prophet Elijah. God commanded him to go to Zarephath, which belonged to Sidon, where he found a widow gathering sticks and he asked her for bread to eat. She said to him, As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks, that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.
Elijah said to her, Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel, 'The bin of flour shall not be used up; nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.' So she went away and did according to the words of Elijah, and she, the prophet, and her household ate for many days.
Elijah stayed with the widow until the drought had ended. She had a son who was sick, and his sickness progressed until he died. The prophet saw the grief of the woman. He took her son from her and carried him to the upper room where he was staying and laid him on his own bed. Then he cried out to the Lord and he stretched himself out on the child three times. The Lord heard the voice of Elijah and the soul of the child came back to him, and he was revived. Elijah took thechild and brought him down and gave him to his mother alive. (I Kings 17:17-23) When Jezebel knew that Elijah executed all the priests of Baal by the sword, she threatened to kill him. When he saw that, he arose and ran for his life. He went to Mount Horeb where he hid himself.
The Lord talked to him, What are you doing here, Elijah? So he said, I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they seek to take my life. The Lord said to him, ... Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal... (I Kings 19:10-18)
When Ahab died and King Ahaziah reigned, he did evil in the sight of the Lord and walked in the way of his father Ahab. Ahaziah fell through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and was injured. He sent messengers to inquire from Baalzebub, the god of Ekron, whether he would recover from his injury. Elijah, the Prophet, met with his messengers and he told them to go and tell the King, Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron? Now therefore, thus says the Lord! You shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die. When they said this to the King, the King knew that it was Elijah the prophet. The King sent to him a captain of fifty, and the prophet was sitting on the top of the hill. He said to Elijah, Man of God, the King has said, 'Come down.' So, Elijah answered and said to the captain, If I am a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men. And the fire came down from heaven and consumed them. Then the King sent another captain of fifty and said to him what the first captain said. And the fire came down from heaven and consumed them. The third captain came to Elijah and fell on his knees before him and pleaded with him. Elijah arose and went down with him to the King whom he rebuked. The King died in his bed. (2 Kings 1:1-18)
After that, Elijah went to the Jordan River and he took with him Elisha, his disciple. He struck the water with his mantle, and the river was divided and the two of them crossed over on dry ground. While they were talking to each other, suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, separated the two of them, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. (2 Kings 2:1-12) May His prayers be with us. Amen.