Historical Context: The King of Israel has begun promoting the worship of Baal, the Canaanite god of rain. Elijah, God’s chosen prophet, has declared a drought in order to prove the futility of worshipping this false god. In order to more fully prove God’s sovereignty, Elijah has moved in with a widow and her son in the country of Sidon, the home of Baal worship. The year in which this story takes place is approximately 874 B.C.
Authorship: The Book of the Kings was written mostly by Jeremiah the prophet during Israel’s exile in Babylon. It was later edited and completed by subsequent prophets and Levitical (Israel’s) priests.
Read 1 Kings 17:17-24
“Elijah” – Hebrew for “The Lord is my God”
Miracle – An act of God that causes something to happen in the physical/natural world that would not otherwise have happened
Small Group Questions:
1. In verse 18, why does the widow think that her son died? Does this reasoning have any Biblical basis?
2. What does verse 20 reveal about the extent of Elijah’s knowledge concerning God’s activities?
3. In verse 20, why does Elijah say, “have you brought tragedy…causing her son to die”?
4. In the midst of tragedy, how does Elijah respond? What does he do?
5. What does verse 24 tell us about the real reason for the death of the widow’s son?
6. Name the two miracles that are mentioned in this passage and explain why they are significant.
1. God will ______________________________. All I have to do is _____________.
2. I can __________________ even in life and death situations. He is _______________.
Answers to Questions:
1. The widow thinks that her son died as a punishment for her sin. God often punishes people in order to bring them back to Himself.
2. Elijah’s question shows us that not even Elijah knew the reason for everything that God does.
3. Elijah recognizes God’s sovereignty over life and death. Nothing happens that God does not ultimately cause.
4. Elijah prays. The widow became bitter and accusatory toward God. Elijah maintains his respect for God, praying if faith and not giving up hope.
5. The widow’s son died so that he could be raised. This provided an opportunity for God to increase the faith of Elijah, the widow, and the widow’s son.
6. Miracle one: The Lord heard Elijah’s cry. God answers prayer. He hears us when we pray to Him and He shows that He cares for us by answering us.
Miracle two: God raised the widow’s son from the dead. God is sovereign over life and death. This first resurrection of the Bible points toward future miracles of this nature.
1. God will answer my prayer. All I have to do is pray.
2. I can trust God even in life and death situations. He is in control.
1. Who died at the house where Elijah was staying in Zarephath? The widow’s son
2. How did the widow react to her son’s death? She thought that it was a punishment for her sin and blamed God.
3. What was Elijah’s reaction to the widow’s son’s death? He prayed for a miracle.
4. How many times did Elijah stretch himself out on the widow’s dead son? Three
5. What did God do after Elijah prayed for a miracle? God answered Elijah’s prayer by raising the widow’s son from the dead.