“the word of the Lord came to Elijah” (1 Kings 18:1).“The word of the Lord” is a phrase that appears numerous times in the Bible. The concept, not new to Elijah. had been spoken often to his ancestors in Israel. The nation’s founder, Abraham, had been promised a son by the word of the Lord”(Gen. 15:4). “The word of the Lord” struck fear into Israel’s captor Egypt (Exodus 9:20). Other prophets had heard the word of the Lord (1 Sam. 3:7, 1 Chron. 17:3, 2 Sam. 24:11). The word of the Lord was communicated through Moses as the Ten Commandments and the law (Deut. 5:5).
“The word of the Lord” comes to Elijah often. That word leads him through every decision. He is sent by “the word” to Cherith, then further on to Zarephath, His word is spoken and verified by the widow. The Lord’s word sends him back into public. The word comforts him as he flees from Jezebel, and sends him again to Ahab with a strong message of judgment. He hears the word again to tell Ahab God has seen his repentance. He predicts the death of Israel’s next king. (2 Kings 1:17) The word of the Lord passes on to his successor Elisha (2 Kings 3:12).Extensive Bible study reveals that “the word of the Lord” operates in three different realms. The first realm by that word delivered by God’s prophets.
The second realm God speaks through is His recorded word. Moses heard the word of God given as the law and Ten Commandments (Deut. 5:5). That verbal word transcribed is just as much God’s word as a message from him in a more dramatic fashion. The prophetic and the written are identical in that they are both inspired by Him.The written “word of the Lord” became more normal as His revelation progressed. God’s word became arranged in books that the church recognized as inspired by Him. This began with the early books of the Old Testament and led gradually to the gospels and letters of the New. This is how we came to have the Bible--the written guide for Christians today. The Bible itself tells us that “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong with our lives.” (2 Timothy 3:16 NLT)
Thirdly, “the word of the Lord” refers to the gospel preached. Paul encouraged Barnabas return to where “we have preached the word of the Lord.” (Acts 15:36). To a distressed jailer Paul and Silas “spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all in his house.” Praising the Thessalonian church Paul said “the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place.” (1 Thess. 1:8).
Contemplating the three aspects of the word of the Lord, the most serious lesson of all is that we can reject it. Samuel’s harsh message to King Saul was, ‘you have rejected the word of the Lord.” (1 Samuel 15:23)We can reject the fact that God speaks to us. We can reject the Bible. We can reject the Gospel.
Today, if the word of the Lord comes to you in any form, obey it as Elijah did.