1 Kings 17:1 --Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word."
Who was Elijah? Answer: he was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. He came during the reign of king Ahab, who the scriptures say was the worse king that the northern kingdom ever had. The guy was bad, bad news. Now bear in mind that when the nation of Israel split, the land in the northern part of Israel, that the ten tribes claimed was actually the better piece of property. The land was more fertile than that in the Southern Kingdom. Phoenicia bordered the territory of the northern kingdom, and therefore commerce was easier. All in all, the kingdom that Ahab had inherited was set for success; and materially it did succeed. But this prosperity did not cause the people in the northern kingdom to worship the LORD, Yahweh. Instead they descended into depravity, led by their king, Ahab.
But let’s get back to Elijah. What was his background; where did he come from? Well, we are told that he came from Gilead which is one of the outlying areas of the northern kingdom. Most of the action happened in the northern kingdom’s capital, Samaria; that’s where the movers and shakers hung out; that’s where the trendsetters, the beautiful people, led by Ahab and his queen Jezebel, did their thing; and their influence was palpable and spread throughout the kingdom—even to the Podunk area of Gilead--and Elijah noticed.
After reading the above passage, we might think that Elijah is acting on his own initiative. But he isn’t. He is actually telling the folks in the northern kingdom---that Yahweh, The Most High GOD is going to do-- just what He said He was going to do. Now where did Elijah get this from? Let’s look at Deuteronomy 28:15-24--
15 "But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. 16 Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field. 17 Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. 18 Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. 19 Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out. 20 "The LORD will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me. 21 The LORD will make the pestilence stick to you until he has consumed you off the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 22 The LORD will strike you with wasting disease and with fever, inflammation and fiery heat, and with drought and with blight and with mildew. They shall pursue you until you perish. 23 AND THE HEAVENS OVER YOUR HEAD SHALL BE BRONZE, AND THE EARTH UNDER YOU SHALL BE IRON. 24 THE LORD WILL MAKE THE RAIN OF YOUR LAND POWDER. FROM HEAVEN DUST SHALL COME DOWN ON YOU UNTIL YOU ARE DESTROYED.
So what can we say about Elijah? Answer: Elijah read and knew the scriptures and he had prayed about what he had read. Elijah went to the LORD who confirmed to Elijah, that “yes, I am going to do just what I told Moses and your fore-fathers that I was going to do if they would forsake me.” Now let’s not mistake Elijah as a mean-spirited person. No, he is someone who loves his people; and he is someone who loves and trusts GOD. So Elijah, knowing that GOD is going to do what He has said He was going to do, goes to the capital of his country to warn his people. Elijah knows GOD.