King Ahab has thumbed his nose at God long enough. God sends Elijah to confront him. God WILL get his attention and prove His power.
I’m SO glad to be leaving the ‘one and done’ stories of the first kings. We get to look a little deeper at Ahab’s time. We aren’t really seeing what Ahab is doing himself but we see the impact on the kingdom. And we see how God is NOT through with His people.
The people of Israel are faithfully following their king. Not everyone but enough of the people that when God sends His corrective punishment it falls on ALL the guilty. God sent correction to Jeroboam and to Baasha. God was judging the leaders only at that point. That didn’t get the leaders or the people to turn from their sin so now it is the whole nation that will feel His rod.
I wonder about those who weren’t turning to idols. Did God protect them from this drought like He does Elijah? I hope so. I believe so too.
Something else I wonder about is where Elijah got his start. How did he come to have such a deep relationship with God while living in a society that turned their back on Him? Did Elijah’s parents follow the Lord and the Law? Did the Holy Spirit call him personally? Did his walk and relationship start small and grow or did God reach down and touch him personally? When he confronts Ahab, he has already established himself in the eyes of the people as a prophet of God. How did he build this ‘reputation’? I guess I’ll have to ask to see “Elijah, the early years” scrapbook when I sit with Jesus on our bench.
When Elijah confronts Ahab he needs no introduction, or none that we are told of. Ahab knows who he is and Who he speaks for. Ahab’s dismissal of Elijah and his words tell us right where his heart was.
Ahab no longer acknowledged God. He didn’t believe he ‘needed’ God nor did he want to share his power with God. His idols asked so much less of him in return for their ‘favor’. He could do as he pleased in front of his gods. And he could fool himself into believing that his gods were actually doing his will.
God had, and still has, standards that He requires of those who are His people. He STILL had His name on the nation of Israel and it was time they were reminded of that. Their fathers had made an “Everlasting Covenant” with Him and He would hold them to it in both the good and the bad clauses. Remember back in Deuteronomy 28 where God lays out the blessings and curses for Israel’s adherence to the Covenant? Contained in the curses is a verse that speaks of Elijah’s pronounced judgment. “The Lord will make the rain of your land powder” (Deuteronomy 28:24a). God doesn’t specify a drought in the curses but it is certainly implied as part of His judgment in response to Israel’s behavior.
Elijah didn’t plead with Ahab to listen. He stated God’s words and left. I just realized that we are not told if Ahab pleaded with Elijah. I don’t believe he did because of all the acts we have been told he performed.
We also are not told how long Elijah stayed in the city after delivering his message to Ahab. It is possible that Elijah was told where to go before coming to Ahab with his message. It is also possible that God let him be in Ahab’s sight to sink the thorn deeper for a time then hid him once Ahab had become frustrated. I have NO doubt that Ahab appealed to his gods to end the drought Elijah spoke of. Is it possible that God hid Elijah at the moment when Ahab was starting to consider turning to Elijah for relief? He ‘turning’ would probably not have been pleasant for Elijah.
God cared for Elijah’s needs as he did God’s will. He wasn’t required to; He chose to. And Elijah had learned to listen and rely on God. He went exactly where he was told to go. No argument. No delays. No preparations of his own. He fully trusted God with his life.
I wonder what Elijah’s days were like there by the brook Cherith. Did he spend his days in prayer? Did God give him a project to work on while he waited? Did he construct some kind of dwelling? Did he watch the skies for the ravens? Did he wait patiently?
I can see him sitting by the brook in the shade of a tree. He is weaving a basket when a raven lands just to his right. In the raven’s beak is a chunk of bread. The raven hops over to where Elijah is working and drops the bread beside him. Elijah looks up from his hands and notices the bird.
“Is it dinner time already my friend? Thank you for reminding me. Would you like a piece too?”
The bird bobs its head as if answering Elijah’s words. Elijah tears a small corner off the bread the bird has given him and holds it out for the taking. The raven hops over to his hand and gently takes the crumb Elijah holds. Elijah repeats this process with the other ravens that provide the remainder of his meal. Both man and birds eat well each meal. It may not be a banquet but neither is it starvation. And Elijah gratefully shares what God has provided.
Father God, I would love to be so confident in Your hands on my life that I ‘forget’ to worry. Not so comfortable that I forget to pray and spend time with You but so certain of Your hand in my life that I don’t keep ‘checking the skies for ravens’. I don’t want to lose the ‘WOW’ factor when You touch my life but I want to leave behind (hopefully forever) the fear that You aren’t listening this time or that my sin is causing my prayers to ‘hit the celling and bounce back’ instead of reaching Your ears. Thank You that You NEVER give up on me and will do whatever it takes to get my attention.