Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 19

Elijah repeats his prayer

1 Kings 19:14

On this very sacred occasion, God himself had come to hear Elijah’s prayer (see 1 Kings 19:11; compare Exodus 33:18-23). So, Elijah covered his face, and he repeated the same prayer as in verse 10. Elijah had come on the long and difficult journey to Horeb, especially to pray this prayer. Let us discuss what the prayer means.

Firstly, Elijah complained that he had been too eager in the work of God. On Carmel, he had stood alone to speak to Israel’s people on God’s behalf (18:22). Now, he was standing alone on Horeb to pray on their behalf. On both occasions, there was nobody else to support him.

Next, Elijah reminded God about how strongly Israel’s people opposed God. Elijah was referring particularly to the people in northern and central Israel, over whom King Ahab ruled. They had not merely neglected the covenant, which is Israel’s special relationship with God. Rather, they turned completely against it; on purpose, they were acting in a wicked and cruel manner, completely against God’s law.

The people had chosen their own false gods. To please those false gods, they destroyed the altars of the true God, the places where people formerly served the true God. Actually, God had directed his people to serve him at Jerusalem, not to build altars wherever they pleased (Deuteronomy 12:4-14). So, to destroy even those altars showed complete hate for the true God.

Israel’s people were clearly in great danger – they were bringing terrible trouble upon themselves. Now, they were murdering the few people who were praying for them. While they were alive, these people’s prayers might save the nation. So, Elijah had to stand alone in prayer for Israel’s people – he prayed as if only he remained alive. Even Sodom could not suffer its punishment while one good man, Lot, was still there (Genesis 19:22). Elijah was deeply afraid about what would happen to Israel, therefore, after his death.

Next part: God chooses Hazael as king of Aram (1 Kings 19:15)


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