Introduction: Do you remember the video game Donkey Kong? Although
it has been a very long time since I’ve played a video game, I still
recall trying to maneuver Mario up the series of inclines. We would
be making great progress, and then suddenly get run over by a series
of barrels or other hazards and find ourselves back at the bottom.
Is your spiritual life a lot like that? Great progress followed by
a great fall? Small progress followed by a small fall? Our study
this week is Elijah, a man who would grasp the principles of Donkey
Kong. Let’s leap into our study of the Bible!
- The Fall
- Read 1 Kings 19:1. What story did Ahab have to tell? (If
you review 1 Kings 18 you will learn that Elijah
challenged Ahab and the prophets of Baal to a duel in
front of all of the people. The challenge was to see who
could bring down fire on the mountain: the 850 false
prophets and their gods or Elijah and his God? Elijah’s
God won, and Elijah killed hundreds of the false
prophets. It was quite the story.)
- Read 1 Kings 19:2. How wise is this response?
- Exactly which “gods” was Jezebel referencing? (This
is an arrogant and audacious response. Elijah’s God
won the duel and hundreds of the prophets of the
defeated gods were killed. Jezebel should have been
hiding under her bed in fear of the true God.)
- Read 1 Kings 19:3-5. If you were God, how would you react
to Jezebel and Elijah?
- Since Jezebel invoked the fear of the gods, why not
just zap her?
- Why does Elijah pray that he might die?
- If he wants to die, it would be logical to march on
Jezebel’s palace! How should God react to foolish
rebellion (Jezebel) and foolish fear (Elijah)?
- Have you an excuse for Elijah? (Killing all those
prophets probably had an emotional impact on him.
The stress of the duel had an impact on his
emotions. He is just tired, stressed and depressed.)
- Is it true that he does not deserve the prophet’s
mantel? That he is no better than his ancestors? (Up
until the fear, he was one of the greatest warriors
for God of all time. He is the human face of God’s
- Read 1 Kings 19:5-6. Elijah let God down. How does God
react? (He doesn’t fire Elijah. He sends help. What a
great God we have!)
- Read 1 Kings 19:7-8. Why is an angel helping Elijah to
- Why not slap him, point him back towards Jezebel,
and say “The battle is back there. Quit running the
- Read 1 Kings 19:9-10. Why do the angel and God seem to
have different responses? (God loves us and cares for us,
but He also challenges us when we are unfaithful.)
- What is Elijah’s excuse? Is he blaming God? (He
believes that he is alone. God needs to get some
- Is this true? (It was not true when fire came
down on the mountain.)
- Have these words come from your mouth when you
thought you needed others to help carrying all
of God’s work?
- Is it “okay” for a great prophet of God to
think and speak like this?
- God and the Fall
- Read 1 Kings 19:11-13. Elijah complains that he is alone
and whipped. God says that Elijah should watch a parade
in which God will be the Grand Marshal. What is God’s
point in this? (God controls the forces of nature.)
- Is that a new lesson for Elijah? (No. The dispute
which brought about the fire duel was that the
people were worshiping Baal (a fertility god), and
God brought a drought upon the land.)
- If the lesson is not new, why does God repeat
it? (How many times do you need God to repeat
His lessons to you?)
- What does it mean that God is not in these powerful
forces of nature?
- Notice that God repeats his “What are you doing here”
question to Elijah at the end of the parade. Why?
- Is God in the gentle whisper? (Yes. The point is
that God controls the forces of nature, but He does
not control His servants!)
- Why would Elijah cover his face with his mantle in
the face of the whisper, but not when rocks were
flying around? (He realized the true power of God.)
- Read 1 Kings 19:14. Should Elijah have repeated his same
old answer? (It does not seem to be nearly as good an
answer after this show of power.)
- What answer do you think God wanted? (“Sorry to let
you down, I don’t know what I was thinking about,
I’ll go back and confront Jezebel.”)
- Read 1 Kings 19:15-18. Put yourself in God’s place. What
would you say to Elijah at this point? Would you fire him
- Did God fire Elijah?(He put him on a retirement
plan. God tells Elijah that he will appoint Elijah’s
- Would you advise telling God that you want to quit?
- Read the first part of 1 Kings 19:19. Is this
significant? (Yes. Elijah may be saying the wrong things,
but he goes where God directs. He chooses God and not
- Read 1 Kings 19:19-21 and Numbers 20:23-29. What is the
significance of Elijah placing his mantle on Elisha? (It
is a sign of the passing of authority.)
- Was it important that it Elijah just threw his
mantle around Elisha, as opposed to giving him all
of his clothes? (Unlike Aaron, God was not
immediately replacing Elijah. Instead, Elisha served
as Elijah’s assistant for some time.)
- Contemplate this sequence for just a minute. If you were
God, would you have immediately replaced Elijah for his
failure of faith?
- Did Elijah’s replacement have more to do with Elijah
saying “I want to quit,” or his failure of faith?
- How do you compare this with Aaron, who did not seem
to want to be replaced? (Aaron had been involved in
serious sins several times. Elijah was very
discouraged – but he decided to take the path of
God. God gave Elijah an assistant to help lift his
load. It would have been better for Elijah to have
prayed for an assistant, not death.)
- The Reward
- Read 2 Kings 2:1-3 and Genesis 5:23-24. What do you think
the prophets thought was going to happen to Elijah?
- What do you think Elisha thought was going to
happen? (He did not want to talk about it. Not since
Enoch had anyone been translated, so I suppose he
thought Elijah was going to die that day.)
- Jump ahead and read 2 Kings 2:16-17. This reveals
that the prophets had no idea that Elijah was going
to be taken to heaven. They must have thought he was
going to die.)
- Read 2 Kings 2:7-10. Why is this a difficult thing?
(Elisha is asking Elijah to control God.)
- What do you think about Elijah’s “let’s see answer?”
(Elijah left it with God.)
- Have you ever asked God for something simple – like
helping you find your keys – and felt guilty because
others were asking Him to cure them from cancer?
- What does this “slap the water and it divides”
suggest about the power of God? (God’s power is
available for small things and large things. It
is not as if God’s power used to help you find
your keys deprives the person with cancer from
- Read 2 Kings 2:11-12. Think back to when Elijah was
discouraged and wanted to quit and die. I think the
prophets thought this would be the day of his death. What
does this say about the love of our God? (He gives us
life, not death! What amazing love!)
- Recall that God challenged Elijah on what he was doing.
Is this the fellow you would reward by taking directly to
heaven? (God knows we are weak humans. Elijah had a great
partnership with God. After his “fall,” he got back on
the right path and continued to serve God faithfully.
What a generous God we have!)
- Notice again 2 Kings 2:12. Is Elisha so excited that
he is speaking nonsense? Is he seeing soldiers?
(What Elisha says is very important. A Spirit-filled
person is more powerful than a first-class army.)
- Read 2 Kings 2:13-15. Elisha takes up the mantel and tore
up his old clothes. What does this symbolize? (The
prophets said it – God’s Spirit is now on Elisha.)
- Friend, do you feel as if you fail God at times? God not
only loves you, but He offers you the greatest power to
advance the Kingdom of God – the power of His Holy
Spirit. Will you pray today to be given that power?
- Next week: In the Shadow of His Wings.