Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Saturday, August 4, 2018

“After the Fire a Still Small Voice”


*Scripture references have been highlighted in red and are hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window. Please click to read!  
  Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end of the blog.


Elder Thomas S. Monson tells and incredible story of a young man preparing for a mission: 
“Born in poverty but nurtured in faith, [José García] prepared for a mission call. I was present the day his recommendation was received. There appeared the statement: ‘Brother García will serve at great sacrifice to his family, for he is the means of much of the family support. He has but one possession—a treasured stamp collection—which he is willing to sell, if necessary, to help finance his mission.’  “President [Spencer W.] Kimball listened attentively as this statement was read to him, and then he responded: ‘Have him sell his stamp collection. Such sacrifice will be to him a blessing.’”
How do you think you would react if you were asked to give up all your possessions to serve the Lord? Would you do it? Would you give up the home you have now, the car, your phone, those little things that you love so much.  The young man in the story above did and this is how it turned out:  
“Then, with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face, this loving prophet said, ‘Each month at Church headquarters we receive thousands of letters from all parts of the world. See that we save these stamps and provide them to José at the conclusion of his mission. He will have, without cost, the finest stamp collection of any young man in Mexico’ (Conference Report, Oct. 1978, 83; or Ensign, Nov. 1978, 56)
When we put the things of God first in our lives, the rewards we receive are far greater than anything we may have to sacrifice along the way and this is something that I for sure have experienced first hand.  When I chose to put the Lord and all he asked me to do first, though there were trials and struggles, he blessed me more than I could ever have imagined.  Elijah and the widow of Zarephath from Old Testament 1 Kings 17 is a great teaching example to us of receiving great blessings because they were willing to follow God even when it was difficult to do so.
Historical update
After Jeroboam, from our last lesson, led the kingdom of Israel into idolatry, he and his descendants were destroyed. They were followed by another succession of idolatrous kings. Of those rulers, Ahab was the king who “did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him 1 Kings 16:33. He married Jezebel, adopted her practice of Baal worship, and encouraged his people to join him in the worship of this false god. The prophet Elijah delivered words of warning to Ahab and his kingdom as we move into 1 Kings 17.  
Ahab, who outdid his father's records for evil, is also better known than his father, Omri. Six chapters tell of his evils despite warnings by the great prophet Elijah. That prophet's mission continued throughout Ahab's life and after his death (1 Kgs. 17-222 Kgs. 1-2).  One fateful move by King Ahab was to marry Jezebel, daughter of a king of Zidon (1 Kgs. 16:31). She was an avid worshipper of Baal and powerfully influenced Ahab. Their marriage, their descendants, and the way of life they engendered had evil effects upon both Israel and Judah for the next fifty years.  Recall the prophecy of Joshua about the man who would rebuild Jericho (1 Kgs. 16:34a).  (Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament Ellis Rasmussen) 
Part 1: Elijah seals up the heavens, is miraculously sustained, and raises a widow’s son from the dead. 1 Kings 17
1 Kings 17  is the first mention of the prophet Elijah, who's name means "Jehovah is God",  appropriate to his mission to bring Israel back to God. The next three chapters and 2 Kings 1 and 2  are largely devoted to the accomplishments of this great man.  
In this chapter Elijah seals the heavens against rain, flees from Ahab and Jezebel, and is miraculously sustained in the wilderness (17:1–6). The Lord sends Elijah to a widow who gives him food and water (17:7–16). Elijah raises the widow’s son from the dead 17:17–24


Who was Elijah

What would you think about a man who had the power to raise the dead, call down fire from heaven, cause the heavens to withhold rain, and render a barrel of flour inexhaustible?  Elijah was such a man, a man of power, a man of miracles, a prophet so worthy that he was translated and taken from the earth in a chariot of fire.  Small wonder that Elijah became one of the great heroes in Israel’s history. Small wonder, too, that in Jewish households a place is set for him at every Passover feast in anticipation of his return as predicted by the prophet Malachi.  

He was a rugged and dramatic prophet from Gilead, from the city of Tishbe, first called by the Lord to warn King Ahab and Israel. His first attempt to awaken people to their need for the Lord and to teach them their duty to Him came during a drought and famine, which lasted nearly three years.  

The supernatural powers exhibited by Elijah in this chapter clearly demonstrate that he possessed the power of God. Joseph Fielding Smith taught that the Melchizedek Priesthood held by Elijah was also possessed by other prophets in the Old Testament.  
All the ordinances which could be performed by the Aaronic Priesthood remained with Israel in the dark days of her disobedience. It was necessary, under these conditions, that there be someone with authority to perform ordinances, such as confirmation, for we know that the prophets of old had the gift of the Holy Ghost. [2 Peter 1:21.] 
We read in [1] Kings, chapter 17, that power had been given to Elijah to close the heavens that there would be no rain except by his word. He had power given him to bless the widow's oil and meal and to bring down fire from heaven to consume his offering and destroy the false doctrines of the priests of Baal. The fact that Elijah had this great power and authority did not prevent other prophets from also holding some divine authority in the Melchizedek Priesthood which was essential to the faithful in the House of Israel. 
We should also remember the fact that in the days of the Savior's ministry this authority held by Elijah was bestowed by Elijah, and the authority held by Moses was restored by Moses to Peter, James, and John. (Companion to Your Study of the Old Testament Daniel H Ludlow)
Because of the wickedness of Ahab and his people, Elijah declared, “There shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word1 Kings 17:1
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.
Why was Elijah able to make such a statement? Elijah was a faithful prophet, some scholars refer to him as the Nephi of the time.   Helaman 10:4–5  He was mighty, and bold with the word of the Lord, but the Lord could trust him, He knew that Elijah would not do that which was contrary to His word.  Elijah was endowed with powers from on high to fulfill the Lord's will and knew that his word would be honored.  

As we know from the scriptures Elijah's first attempt to call Israel to repentance came with a drought when he declared that no rain would fall in the kingdom, this lasted for three years. 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.

During this time the Lord commanded him to flee. 1 Kings 17:2–5  


2 And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying,
3 Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
4 And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.5 So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
How did Elijah respond to the Lord’s command? He did as the Lord commanded without question. 
 What can we learn from Elijah’s response?  Elder Gordon B. Hinckley said:  “I draw strength from a simple statement made concerning the Prophet Elijah, who warned King Ahab of drought and famine to come upon the land. But Ahab scoffed. And the Lord told Elijah to go and hide himself by the brook Cherith, that there he should drink of the brook, and that he would be fed by the ravens. And the scripture records a simple and wonderful statement: ‘So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord.’ (1 Kings 17:5.)  “There was no arguing. There was no excusing. There was no equivocating. Elijah simply ‘went and did according unto the word of the Lord.’ And he was saved from the terrible calamities that befell those who scoffed and argued and questioned” (Conference Report, Oct. 1971, 159; or Ensign, Dec. 1971, 123–24). 

How did Elijah survive in the wilderness after the drought began? 1 Kings 17:4, 6
4 And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.
6 And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.
What experiences have you had when the Lord has sustained you physically or spiritually?  Record your thoughts in your journal or gospel doctrine notebook! 
Whom had the Lord prepared to help Elijah after the brook in the wilderness dried up?  1 Kings 17:7–13
7 And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
8 And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying,
9 Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
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.
13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.

What can this teach us about how the Lord helps those in need?  The Lord often helps those in need through the service of other people.

How have you seen the Lord help those in need through the service of other people? The church is a great example of helping through service, Mormon Helping Hands is one example another is Just Serve.org, along with ministering programs, welfare programs and more, it is clear that the Lord's miracles come many times through the hands of others.  

What can we do to help others who are in need?  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said: “I know we can each do something, however small that act may seem to be. We can pay an honest tithe and give our fast and freewill offerings. … And we can watch for other ways to help. To worthy causes and needy people, we can give time if we don’t have money, and we can give love when our time runs out. We can share the loaves we have and trust God that the cruse of oil will not fail” (Conference Report, Apr. 1996, 41; or Ensign, May 1996, 31)

How did the widow respond to Elijah’s request for some water to drink? 1 Kings 17:10–11. She went without hesitation.
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.

Just as the Lord had spiritually prepared Elijah to meet the widow, he surely spiritually prepared her for the coming encounter as well. Due to this preparation and the general nature of Near Eastern hospitality, it is not too surprising that, when Elijah arrived at the gate of the city and asked the widow for a little water to drink, she went "to fetch it" (1 Kings 17:10-11). What is more surprising is that there was any water to fetch! The famine had extended beyond the borders of Israel to affect this surrounding area as well. The Lord likely sent Elijah to this city because there was still water there. The poor widow's obedient response to Elijah's request reminds us of similar biblical narratives: Abraham's servant, seeking a wife for his master's son Isaac, asked water of a stranger named Rebekah in Nahor (see Genesis 24:10-28); and Jesus requested a drink from a woman at a well in Samaria (see John 4:1-30). The generous response of all three womenthe widow, Rebekah, and the Samaritanin giving water to a stranger is indicative of oriental culture. But in each of these three cases, an additional, greater request was also made, one requiring faith. In the widow's case, it was a specific request for her last morsel of food.  (Elijah Yesterday Today and Tomorrow Byron R Merrill) 



What did the widow say when Elijah asked her for food? 1 Kings 17:11–12.
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.


What did Elijah promise her? 1 Kings 17:13–14

13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.
14 For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.

Elijah’s request for the widow to prepare his food was not a selfish request but rather a test of her faith. Because she passed the test, Elijah’s promise that her barrel of flour and cruse of oil would not fail for the duration of the famine was fulfilled. This widow not only provided for her own needs in a time of great distress but provided for others an example of great faith.

What did the widow then do? 1 Kings 17:15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.
There is no record of any verbal retort from her to the prophet's request, but, exhibiting faith in the power and promise of God's prophet, she simply "went and did according to the saying of Elijah" (1 Kings 17:15). What greater tribute could be paid to any of us than the one paid to the widow, that she "went and did"? This demonstration of her faith in action resulted in a rich reward, for "she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah." (1 Kings 17:15-16.)   (Elijah Yesterday Today and Tomorrow Byron R Merrill) 

What can we learn from the widow’s response?  Elder Jeffery R. Holland said that the widow's response was "an expression of faith--as great, under these circumstances, as any I know in the scriptures.... Perhaps uncertain what the cost of her faith would be..., she first took her small loaf to Elijah, obviously trusting that if there were not enough bread left over, at least she and her son would have died in an act of pure charity." (Ensign, May 1996, p29)
Why do you think God commanded the widow to feed Elijah when she had so little? 
What blessing did the widow receive for her obedience? 1 Kings 17:16  And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.

What are some things that God asks of us that might be difficult? 
In what ways are we blessed when we put God first, doing what he asks even when it is difficult?  President Ezra Taft Benson taught:  When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities. …“May God bless us to put [him] first and, as a result, reap peace in this life and eternal life with a fulness of joy in the life to come” (Conference Report, Apr. 1988, 3, 6; or Ensign, May 1988, 4, 6)

What did Elijah do when the widow’s son became sick and died? 1 Kings 17:17–22
17 And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him.
18 And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?
19 And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed.
20 And he cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son?
21 And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again.
22 And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.

Notice the widow's reaction to this tragedy as she spoke to Elijah: "What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?" (1 Kings 17:18.) A careful reading of her response indicates that she did not blame Elijah for her son's death as much as herself. Perhaps some secret, hidden sin from her past resurfaced in her feelings, filling her with grief. Or maybe Elijah's righteousness prompted her to perceive her general unworthiness. Such feelings are reminiscent of Peter's exclamation to the Master, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord" (Luke 5:8). In any case, her sense of guilt caused her to turn inward with an accusatory attitude. Had she instead blamed someone or something other than herself for this calamity, it is to be wondered if the Lord would have blessed her with the miracle Elijah would soon perform. Godly sorrow for sin produces miracles, both spiritual healing and restoration of life. Note that humble people usually look inward for the source of their problems instead of abandoning personal responsibility and seeking to place blame elsewhere. It is surprising to many students of the scriptures to realize that the inspired leaders of the Nephites in the Book of Mormon never attributed the problems of their people to the Lamanites, but to the sins and omissions of the Nephites themselves (see Alma 59:11-12; Helaman 12:2, 4-6; 3 Nephi 3:15-16). Their prophetic writings reflect the attitude that many of our calamities are self-generated. They understood that with agency comes responsibility for our own actions and attitudes, that eventually we will reap what we sow.   (Elijah Yesterday Today and Tomorrow Byron R Merrill) 

By what power was Elijah able to bring the widow’s son back to life? This is the fourth miracle mentioned in this chapter which Elijah performed by means of his priesthood power. First he brought famine by his word.  Then he was fed by ravens, then he caused the widow’s food supply to miraculously continue. Then he worked another mighty miracle through the power of God. The widow’s cry was more a plea for help than a criticism. In essence she was saying, “I thought sheltering a prophet would bring blessings and protection; instead, tragedy has struck my home.”  

How has your life been blessed through the power of the priesthood?
Part 2:  Elijah challenges the priests of Baal and opens the heavens for rain 1 Kings 18
1 Kings 18. After more than two years of famine, Elijah meets with Ahab and challenges the priests of Baal to call down fire from heaven to consume their sacrifice (18:1–2, 17–24). The priests of Baal fail in their attempts, but Elijah prays and the Lord sends down fire to consume the sacrifice he has prepared (18:25–40). Elijah prays to end the famine, and the Lord sends rain (18:41–46).

In the third year of the famine, the Lord commanded Elijah, “Go [show] thyself to Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth” 1 Kings 18:1   And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.
How did Ahab react when he saw Elijah? 1 Kings 18:17  And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?  
Ahab blamed Elijah for the famine however, the wicked usually blame someone else for their misfortunes. Elijah had no power by himself to bring on the famine. He was only the agent of the Lord.
 What was the real cause of the famine?  Kings 18:18   Ahab and his policies were the true cause of Israel’s distress, but the king refused to accept that responsibility.
18 And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim.
1 Kings 18:19–20  As Elijah had requested, Ahab gathered all of Israel and 850 false priests at Mount Carmel . 
19 Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table.
20 So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.
When the people gathered to hear Elijah speak, he asked them, “How long halt ye between two opinions?” 1 Kings 18:21
21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
What do you think it means to halt between two opinions?  Clarke offered the following comment on Israel’s indecision: “Literally, [the phrase means] ‘How long hop ye about upon two boughs?’ This is a metaphor taken from birds hopping about from bough to bough, not knowing on which to settle. Perhaps the idea of limping through lameness should not be overlooked. They were halt, they could not walk uprightly; they dreaded Jehovah, and therefore could not totally abandon him; they feared the king and queen, and therefore thought they must embrace the religion of the state. Their conscience forbade them to do the former; their fear of man persuaded them to do the latter; but in neither were they heartily engaged; and at this juncture their minds seemed in equipoise, and they were waiting for a favourable opportunity to make their decision. Such an opportunity now, through the mercy of God, presented itself.” (Quoted from Old Testament Student Manual)
How do we sometimes halt between two opinions?  Matthew 6:24. (the word mammon refers to worldliness.)  No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell said: “The stirring words of various prophets … urge us to choose, to decide, and not to halt. … Elijah’s message has tremendous relevancy today, for all must finally choose between the gods of this world and the God of eternity” (That My Family Should Partake [1974], 22)

The Challenge 1 Kings 18:22–24. 

Elijah meets with Ahab and challenges the priests of Baal to call down fire from heaven to consume their sacrifice.  The contest that Elijah proposed should have appealed to the prophets of Baal, since their god, the “Sun-god,” could surely send down fire if anyone could. Added to the four hundred and fifty priests of Baal were four hundred priests of his female counterpart, Ashtoreth, or Venus, whom Jezebel worshiped. Elijah commented on the number of prophets of Baal in contrast to the number of prophets of the Lord
22 Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.
23 Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under:
24 And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.
How Long Did the Priests of Baal Call upon Their God? Why? 1 Kings 18:25–29. Elijah’s mocking words recorded in verse 27 furnished cause for a renewed frenzy among Baal’s prophets. Elijah was really saying, “Cry louder; if he is a god, he can surely hear you. But then, perhaps, he’s away on a trip, or he’s out hunting (pursuing game), or maybe he’s asleep.” Such taunting kept the priests of Baal in action all day long. Clarke commented: “From morning even until noon. It seems that the priests of Baal employed the whole day in their desperate rites. The time is divided into two periods: 1. From morning until noon; this was employed in preparing and offering the sacrifice, and in earnest supplication for the celestial fire. Still there was no answer, and at noon Elijah began to mock and ridicule them, and this excited them to commence anew. And, 2. They continued from noon till the time of offering the evening sacrifice, dancing up and down, cutting themselves with knives, mingling their own blood with their sacrifice, praying, supplicating, and acting the most frantic manner.” (Quoted from Old Testament Student Manual) 

25 And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under
26 And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.
27 And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.
28 And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.
29 And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.

Why Did Elijah Have the Place of Sacrifice Drenched with Water? 1 Kings 18:30-35 The priests of Baal were so unscrupulous that they rigged their altars with fires beneath them to make the sacrifices appear to ignite spontaneously. One ancient writer said he “had seen under the altars of the heathens, holes dug in the earth with funnels proceeding from them, and communicating with openings on the tops of the altars. In the former the priests concealed fire, which, communicating through the funnels with the holes, set fire to the wood and consumed the sacrifice; and thus the simple people were led to believe that the sacrifice was consumed by a miraculous fire.” (Clarke, Commentary, Old Testament Student Manual)

Elijah undoubtedly drenched the altar and sacrifice with water as much for the heathen priests as for the people. He wanted to convince them that there was no trickery and to show them that the power of the Lord was manifest. It was a bold and dramatic move that demonstrated his absolute confidence in the power of the true God.
30 And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down.
31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the Lord came, saying, Israel shall be thy name:

32 And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.


33 And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.


34 And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time.
35 And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.
What was Elijah’s purpose in challenging the priests of Baal?  1 Kings 18:36–37
36 And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.
37 Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.

How did the people react to the Lord’s display of power? 1 Kings 18:38–39
38 Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God.
What Was the Fire of the Lord?  “The fire proceeding from Jehovah, was not a natural flash of lightning, which could not produce any such effect, but miraculous fire falling from heaven, as in [1 Chronicles 21:26; 2 Chronicles 7:1] (see [Leviticus 9:24]), the supernatural origin of which was manifested in the fact, that it not only consumed the sacrifice with the pile of wood upon the altar, but also burned up … the stones of the altar and the earth that was thrown up to form the trench, and licked up the water in the trench. Through this miracle Jehovah not only accredited Elijah as His servant and prophet, but proved Himself to be the living God, whom Israel was to serve; so that all the people who were present fell down upon their faces in worship, as they had done once before, viz. at the consecration of the altar in [Leviticus 9:24], and confessed ‘Jehovah is God.’” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, quoted in Old Testament Student Manual)

How were they blessed for acknowledging the Lord and his power?  1 Kings 18:45
45 And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel.

How can we more fully acknowledge the Lord and his power? 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18; Alma 34:38; Moroni 7:33–39

16 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
38 That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.

Part 3: Elijah is comforted by the Holy Ghost and instructed to continue in God’s work 1 Kings 19

1 Kings 19. Jezebel tries to kill Elijah (19:1–2). Elijah flees into the wilderness and is fed by an angel (19:3–8). Elijah goes to Horeb, where he is comforted by the Holy Ghost and instructed to continue in God’s work (19:9–19).

After the miraculous fire from heaven, Jezebel was moved only to anger and swore she would take Elijah’s life in revenge. Elijah fled, first into the territory of Judah (at Beersheba) and then to Mount Horeb (or Sinai) 150 miles further south and cried to the Lord, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life” 1 Kings 19:4 

4 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; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

The Lord blessed Elijah by sending an angel with food and water but we see here is that even prophets can experience despair and need the comfort and guidance that only God can provide.

Why was Elijah discouraged? 1 Kings 19:10, 14. Despite the people’s response to God’s spectacular display of power, Elijah felt that he was the only Israelite left who worshiped the true God.
10 And he said, I have been very jealous 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.
14 And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because 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.
It must have been very lonely for Elijah during this period. Men were seeking his life, he felt himself to be the only faithful prophet left in Israel, and he was hiding in a cave. President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote: “When he was there, the Lord called upon him and asked him what he was doing there; and in his sorrow, because of the hardness of the hearts of the people, he told the Lord the condition, that he alone remained, that they sought his life to take it away. But the Lord showed him that there were others who had remained true unto him, even 7,000.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:106.)
What did he do to gain peace? 1 Kings 19:4, 8. He prayed and fasted.
8 And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.
What can we learn from Elijah’s experience to help us if we feel discouraged, depressed, or despairing? 
How did God comfort Elijah on Mount Horeb? 1 Kings 19:9–13
9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
10 And he said, I have been very jealous 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.
11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind 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:
12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
What can we learn from this about how God communicates with us?   Those who listen for God’s voice know that it is not in the power to break rocks and earth, nor in the fire, but in the “still small voice” that speaks to the heart of man. When Elijah heard the still small voice, he “went out” to converse with the Lord.  Encouraged, Elijah returned at the Lord’s request and completed his assigned mission. 
Harold B. Lee has indicated that a person must be sensitive to the Spirit of the Lord to hear the "still small voice" when it speaks:  Prophets of old learned, as all must know, how to communicate with the Lord by prayer, to talk with and then receive answers in the Lord's own way. . . .All too often when God speaks in this still, small voice, as he did to Elijah in the cave, it may not be audible to our physical hearing because, like a faulty radio, we may be out of tune with the infinite. (Conference Report, Oct. 1966, p. 115.)
Why do you think God communicates more often through the “still small voice” of the Holy Ghost than through loud and spectacular displays of power?
How can we discern the whisperings of the Holy Ghost?  When a news reporter asked President Hinckley how he communicates with God, the prophet responded, “I think the best way I could describe the process is to liken it to the experience of Elijah as set forth in the book of First Kings. Elijah spoke to the Lord, and there was a wind, a great wind, and the Lord was not in the wind. And there was an earthquake, and the Lord was not in the earthquake. And there was a fire, and the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire a still, small voice, which I describe as the whisperings of the Spirit” (Conference Report, Oct. 1996, 71; or Ensign, Nov. 1996, 51).
President Ezra Taft Benson taught: “Do you take time to listen to the promptings of the Spirit? Answers to prayer come most often by a still voice and are discerned by our deepest, innermost feelings. I tell you that you can know the will of God concerning yourselves if you will take the time to pray and to listen” (Conference Report, Oct. 1977, 46; or Ensign, Nov. 1977, 32).
Besides being the Comforter, the Holy Ghost is also a teacher John 14:26; 2 Nephi 32:5 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
5 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.
What did the Lord—through the Holy Ghost—instruct Elijah to do? 1 Kings 19:15–16.
15 And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria:
16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.
How can serving the Lord help us when we are discouraged? 
One way the Lord comforted Elijah was by telling him that there were still many Israelites who had not adopted the worship of Baal 1 Kings 19:18
18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
How can fellowship with other faithful Latter-day Saints comfort us? 
What influences do you have around you that help you know you are not alone? 
What can you do to help others when they feel alone?
The Spirit of Elijah
Latter-day Saints often talk about the Spirit of Elijah. This phrase refers to the work we do “to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers” (D&C 110:15). This work includes family history research and temple work for the living and the dead. We call it the Spirit of Elijah because Elijah restored the keys of the sealing power of the priesthood to Joseph Smith (D&C 110:13–16). Through this power, sealing ordinances can be performed that unite families for eternity.
Joseph Smith said:  The spirit, power, and calling of Elijah is, that ye have power to hold the key of the revelations, ordinances, oracles, powers and endowments of the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood and of the kingdom of God on the earth; and to receive, obtain, and perform all the ordinances belonging to the kingdom of God, even unto the turning of the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the hearts of the children unto the fathers, even those who are in heaven. …
“I wish you to understand this subject, for it is important; and if you receive it, this is the spirit of Elijah, that we redeem our dead, and connect ourselves with our fathers which are in heaven, and seal up our dead to come forth in the first resurrection; and here we want the power of Elijah to seal those who dwell on earth to those who dwell in heaven. This is the power of Elijah and the keys of the kingdom of Jehovah” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 337–38).
Conclusion

Some who read the Old Testament have a tendency to shake their heads sorrowfully over those proud and rebellious people. But the great value of our studying this work is that it provides a clear standard for measuring our own behavior.  Do we say we honor the prophets and yet not follow their instructions from the last general conference? Have you heard people praise the teachings of Joseph Smith but murmur and criticize current Church leaders for a statement or stand they take that contradicts the individual’s personal ideas or preference? 

The great value of our studying this work is that it provides a clear standard for measuring our own behavior.  It is easy to look back and see how foolish Ahab, Jezebel, and the Israelites who halted between two opinions were. But what of today? Are men still inclined to bobble between serving God and serving the devil? Do they still want to hear only good things about their evil choices? Do they still tend to place the blame for life’s reversals on someone else? Or will they learn the eternal fact that men reap precisely what they sow? “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” Galatians 6:8
Elder Bruce R. McConkie said that “the great need in the world today is not for the Lord to send a prophet to reveal his mind and will. He has done that; we have a prophet; we are guided by many men who have the spirit of inspiration. The great need today is for men to have a listening ear and to give heed to the words that fall from the lips of those who wear the prophetic mantle.” (Conference Report, Apr. 1974, p. 104; or Ensign, May 1974, p. 73.)
As we do this, as we have a listening ear and give heed to the words of our Prophet, we will be comforted and guided.  As we put God first and heed the whisperings of the Holy Ghost we too will be as Elijah and the widow, we will have great faith, we will see miracles and we will be comforted, and provided for in our times of sorrow and need and we will gain the greatest gift of all, that of eternal life.  

Resources:
Companion to Your Study of the Old Testament Daniel H Ludlow
Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament Ellis Rasmussen
Elijah Yesterday Today and Tomorrow Byron R Merrill
Old Testament Student Manual
That My Family Should Partake [1974], 22
Doctrines of Salvation Vol 2
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith 
Conference Reports
Ensign




















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