Grow Deep - Heroes Edition Week 1

Week 1 - June 24-30

The Prophet Elijah

“… Elijah the prophet came near and said, ‘O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel, and that I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word.’” 1 Kings 18:36

A friend of mine shared a story recently of some trouble he experienced while in the Peace Corps assisting with humanitarian efforts in Africa. My friend was a beacon of hope in areas oppressed with economic struggle, famine and political unrest and formed close friendships with many local residents. As a result of one of those close friendships, he was invited to attend a tribal wedding in a small village. As a Midwestern farm boy, he immediately stood out as an outsider upon his arrival. Though he quickly found the friend who extended the invitation, his welcome was cut short. Two cattle died the night before, and the villagers immediately accused “the outsider” of being responsible. He was detained and charged with witchcraft. He became afraid and hope was uncertain.

Listening to this story reminded me of the epic times and tribulations surrounding the life of Elijah. As one of the Old Testament's greatest prophets, Elijah was God's beacon of light living in a dark time among a tough and calloused people who had turned away from Him. At times, Elijah was brave and showed heroic faith by standing up to these people and risking his own life. He discredited false gods and proved our Heavenly Father as the one true God. This enraged local rulers who placed a death sentence on Elijah. He became fearful, hungry and depressed. But God, who is faithful, consoled, fed and took care of Elijah. Elijah (faithful servant) trusted God, and God rescued him over and over again.

As we study Elijah this week and read about his heroic faith during tumultuous times, let us think about how God may be working through us to complete His work. God rescues, and He continues to work through us to place beacons of light and hope in areas that need it the most. Let us also reflect on God's love and care for Elijah and His ultimate rescue.
(For those wondering, my friend's imprisonment ended when tribal elders were informed of his faith in God and his weekly attendance in church.)

Sunday, June 24

Read: 1 Kings 16:29-17:2
Ahab rejects and provokes the Lord. Elijah is called upon to bring the judgment of drought and famine.

Reflect: God punishes the immoral actions of a wicked king and hid Elijah to take care of his needs and to keep him safe. What does God expect from us when we witness immoral and corrupt behavior? How does God continue to take care of our needs?

For the Family: Who did God send to King Ahab to warn him about all the evil things that he was doing? How does God warn us when we are doing wrong? When we realize something that we are doing is wrong, what does God want us to do?

Monday, June 25

Read: 1 Kings 17:7-24
The Lord guided Elijah to a faithful widow. By His grace through faith, the widow and her family experienced God’s provision. He provided food to them during the famine.

Reflect: Sometimes, our struggles are overwhelming. Can you think of a time when faith and trust in God helped guide you through a dark time? How specifically did God help you in those times?

For the Family: The widow did not have enough food for her family or herself, but she made food for Elijah. Why did she do that? The widow had faith that Elijah’s words were true. How can we know that God’s words are true?

Tuesday, June 26
Read: 1 Kings 18:1-24
Elijah encounters Ahab and challenges all the false prophets to a showdown. Elijah's courage to stand directly in the presence of his enemies and confidence to challenge them to a showdown is nothing short of amazing. Some people may call that true grit 

Reflect: Can you think of a time when your faith in God helped you to confidently face an obstacle? Have you ever considered your faith to be such an effective tool in this world? Why or why not?

For the Family: What was Obadiah afraid would happen to him after he spoke with Elijah? What words did Elijah say to him that took away his fears? What words of God can you remember when you are afraid?

Wednesday, June 27

Read: 1 Kings 18:25-46
The Lord uses Elijah to defeat the prophets of Baal. Elijah taunts the false prophets of Baal and then doubles the ante by dousing his offering to God with water. It is a bold move that God blessed with abundance.

Reflect: Have you ever received an abundant answer to prayer? If so, is this the first time you've recognized or acknowledged that abundant answer? Take time now to give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!

For the Family: These verses describe a battle. Who was the winner of the battle? What did victory prove about God? How can you know that our God is the one true God?

Thursday, June 28

Read: 1 Kings 19:1-18
Elijah flees when his life is threatened. The Lord sends angels to attend to His faithful servant. Elijah is afraid, confused and depressed. The wickedness of the rulers has not diminished despite his heroic actions. The Lord sustains Elijah during this struggle.

Reflect: Think about a time when the Lord sustained you or others around you. Could the Lord be asking you to care for someone in need right now? Ask God to show you how.

For the Family: What was Elijah feeling in the first few verses? Have you ever been afraid? Can you or anyone in your family think of a Bible verse that might help to comfort you when you are afraid? Share that verse. Try to memorize it.

Friday, June 29
Read: 1 Kings 19:19-21
By God’s power and wisdom, Elijah is led to call Elisha to follow him. Elisha responds to this call with a significant sacrifice. His sacrifice symbolizes the end of his old life and the beginning of a new direction and path for his life.

Reflect: Has your faith ever led you to pursue a new path? What did you sacrifice? How did the Lord bless your actions?

For the Family: What did God tell Elijah to do? Why? How did Elisha respond to Elijah? How should we respond when God asks us to do something?

Saturday, June 30

Read: 2 Kings 2:1-14
Elijah is taken to heaven in a fiery chariot to be with God. Elisha is blessed with an abundant gift to continue God's plans.

Reflect: Oh, to witness such an event! Elijah's ascent to heaven must have been an amazing sight. Elisha feels the loss and sadness of Elijah's departure but has the wisdom to ask for help to bless and guide his future endeavors. How can Elisha's actions help guide us during times of grief? Could his actions help us to refocus?

For the Family: What happened to Elijah? How did it happen? What did Elisha ask to receive before Elijah went up to heaven? Why was that a good thing for him to request?