Here’s a Scripture trivia question: Who was the first person in the Bible to raise the dead, though he himself never died?
And though he’s the most frequently mentioned in Scripture, he didn’t write one word of the Bible.
The answer is Elijah – the rugged prophet who dominates much of 1 Kings.
The books of 1 and 2 Kings open with the story of how God blessed Israel during the days of Solomon, yet how the nation split apart and declined after Solomon’s death.
As you read 1 Kings, notice that chapters 1 through 11 describe the glory of Solomon’s reign, but the remaining chapters tell of the growing failures of the successive kings in both North and South.
Despite occasional lurches toward obedience, the priests, princes, and people of God spiraled downward like water through a drain until bot were wiped away by neighboring empires.
Throughout the story, Elijah and his fellow prophets – men like Nathan, Ahijah, and Jehu – vainly called their nations to repentance.
God’s people today are still warning, cautioning, and proclaiming His message. At times, like Elijah, we see little outward success. But there’s never reason to be discouraged where God is concerned.
In reading 1 Kings, we learn that even the downward twists and turns of history serve the ultimate purposes of God, and the story of Elijah and his times reminds us that God is still on His throne as king of Israel and as Lord of all.
The decline of Israel during and after the days of Solomon warns us of the dangers of complacency, but also teaches us to practice the boldness of Elijah.
“And keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself” (1 Kgs 2:3).
We must be as cautious in times of prosperity as in times of peril, lest we relax our guard as Solomon did and allow our spiritual passion to grow lukewarm.