1 Kings 18:36 MEANING

1 Kings 18:36
(36) Lord God of Abraham.--In this solemn and earnest invocation of God, as in Exodus 3:15; Exodus 6:2-3, the name JEHOVAH, describing God as He is in Himself--the One eternal self-existent Being--is united with the name which shows His special covenant with "Abraham, and Isaac, and Israel." In His own nature incomprehensible to finite being, He yet reveals Himself in moral and spiritual relations with His people, through which they "know that which passeth knowledge." The prominence of the name "Jehovah," thrice repeated in this short prayer of Elijah, is significant as of the special mission, symbolised in his very name, so also of his immediate purpose. He desires to efface himself. The God of Israel is to show Himself as the true worker, not only in the outer sphere by miracle, but in the inner sphere by that conversion of the hearts of the people, which to the prophet's eye is already effected. Like his antitype in the New Testament, Elijah is but a voice calling on men "to prepare the way of the Lord."

Verse 36. - And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice [see note on ver. 29], that Elijah the prophet [this designation of Elijah is unusual. Cf. Malachi 4:5. Elsewhere he is "the Tishbite," or the "man of God"] came near, and said, Lord [Heb. Jehovah. Not only does the sacred name stand at the head of his prayer, it is also mentioned thrice (LXX. four times)] God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel [Two things are to be noticed here: first, that this formula had only once before been used, and that by God Himself, before the giving of law, at the burning bush. It was when God revealed Himself in flaming fire that He had proclaimed Himself the God of Abraham, etc. Secondly, that the variation "Israel" is made designedly (cf. ver. 31), not only to proclaim the Lord as the "God of Israel" (cf. 1 Kings 17:1), but also to suggest that the name and privileges of Israel belonged to all the sons of Jacob. The LXX. adds, "Hear me, O Lord, hear me this day by fire" - most of which is clearly borrowed from the next verse], let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel [according to ver. 24, "the God that answereth by fire, etc.], and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things according to thy word. [LXX. διὰ σε. Not only the earlier proceedings of the day, but the three years' drought, etc. Keil would include the miracle about to be performed, but the people could hardly doubt that that, when done, was done according to the Divine word. It is interesting to compare with these words 1 Kings 17:2, 3, 8, 16, 24, and 1 Kings 18:1, all of which mention the "word of the Lord."]

18:21-40 Many of the people wavered in their judgment, and varied in their practice. Elijah called upon them to determine whether Jehovah or Baal was the self-existent, supreme God, the Creator, Governor, and Judge of the world, and to follow him alone. It is dangerous to halt between the service of God and the service of sin, the dominion of Christ and the dominion of our lusts. If Jesus be the only Saviour, let us cleave to him alone for every thing; if the Bible be the world of God, let us reverence and receive the whole of it, and submit our understanding to the Divine teaching it contains. Elijah proposed to bring the matter to a trial. Baal had all the outward advantages, but the event encourages all God's witnesses and advocates never to fear the face of man. The God that answers by fire, let him be God: the atonement was to be made by sacrifice, before the judgment could be removed in mercy. The God therefore that has power to pardon sin, and to signify it by consuming the sin-offering, must needs be the God that can relieve from the calamity. God never required his worshippers to honour him in the manner of the worshippers of Baal; but the service of the devil, though sometimes it pleases and pampers the body, yet, in other things, really is cruel to it, as in envy and drunkenness. God requires that we mortify our lusts and corruptions; but bodily penances and severities are no pleasure to him. Who has required these things at your hands? A few words uttered in assured faith, and with fervent affection for the glory of God, and love to the souls of men, or thirstings after the Lord's image and his favour, form the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous man, which availeth much. Elijah sought not his own glory, but that of God, for the good of the people. The people are all agreed, convinced, and satisfied; Jehovah, he is the God. Some, we hope, had their hearts turned, but most of them were convinced only, not converted. Blessed are they that have not seen what these saw, yet have believed, and have been wrought upon by it, more than they that saw it.And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice,.... Which the people of God at Jerusalem were now attending to:

that Elijah the prophet came near; to the altar he had built, and on which he had laid the sacrifice:

and said; in prayer to God:

Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the covenant God of the ancestors of his people, though they had now so fully departed from him:

let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel; and that there is no other:

and that I am thy servant; a true worshipper of him, and his faithful prophet and minister:

and that I have done all these things at thy word; restrained rain from the earth for some years past, and now had convened Israel, and the false prophets, together, that by a visible sign from heaven it might be known who was the true God; all which he did not of himself, but by the impulse, direction, and, commandment of the Lord.

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