1 Kings 15-19; this is such a packed passage of reading, it seems almost unfair to only blog once on the passage. In the midst of the revolving door of kings both for Judah and Israel; God brings a mighty prophet to the forefront to deal with a most derogatory person in Ahab and his wife Jezebel. The spiraling down spiritually for Israel has hit an all time low; Jezebel is the real ruler, all one has to do is read about the wimp of a man he is with respect to the belligerent Jezebel. The Northern Tribes have been entrenched in Baal worship, even Jezebel is credited with killing God’s prophets. Enter Elijah – from Tishbite, but no other advanced information is known about him. We do know that he was a powerful prayer warrior [James 5:17], to be able to pray and it not rain for 3 years. The phrase “and the word of the Lord came to him” is repeated in these chapters. At a time when it seems that everything has gone completely paganistic, there is an Elijah.
Elijah confronts Ahab, then disappears into the wilderness. Elijah is feed by ravens – they bring him daily bread and meat and he drinks from a brook. To be sure, ravens are carnage feeding birds – the eat road kill. I’m not sure how many of us actually catch the fact that for a time Elijah had a diet from the LORD of road kill! Soon he is aligned with the widow of Zarephath, and her son. I find the story a bit appalling in that on her way to fix a last meal, Elijah says feed me first. Her obedience as a non-Jew is particularly significant. As a result, the three of them live off a miracle of multiplication from the Lord [see the feeding of five thousand, another place where God multiplies little to feed His people]. Of course there is more to the story, the son dies and Elijah prays over him and lies on him and the “life” is returned. I found it humorous that the widow only after the son is revived that she knows that Elijah is a man of God. How soon she forgot the daily provision from an empty jar! The story of Elijah is a short one, his dealing with the Widow, the thorn in the side of Ahab and Jezebel and the Battle on Mt. Carmel. Just as quickly he comes on the scene, he departs leaving one called Elisha in his place. Before that, the rains come and Elijah hides from Jezebel in a cave, not just any cave, but a cave on Mt. Horeb i.e. Sinai. The story of Obadiah is a significant reminder to all pastors and ministers – we are not alone, we are not all that God has at His disposal. Elijah winds up running from Jezebel after a monumental victory on the Mountain. How often is that true in ministry? When there has been a great victory and blessing from God, we become fearful and faithless in the face of conflict. The conversation between Elijah and Obadiah is sort of funny, but I guess that would only be true if you were Elijah. “Go tell Ahab I am here” – Obadiah “yeah right” just as soon as I say that, you’ll disappear and Ahab will kill me! The Spirit had a habit of whisking Elijah off to various places avoiding being caught – I thought of Phillip in Acts being whisked off to Gaza to meet the Eunuch.
We have the amazing display of God’s fire/power on Mt. Carmel in chapter 18. The confidence Elijah displays is in measure of his fear later with Jezebel. Elijah runs away, hides for 40 days on Mt. Horeb, the same place Moses had audience with God and received the Tablets of stone. In Chapter 19, Elijah is subjected to various natural phenomenon, yet God is not in any of the boisterous displays – it is in the “still small voice, rustling of wind that God is heard. I don’t have any idea how many times this scene has been encountered in reminding mankind that God is in the still small voice, that we must almost strain to hear. Elijah, is as James says a man like unto us. We become fearful in the face of opposition, often forgetting what God has already brought us through. Elijah brings a valid excuse or reason from why he was there, but God doesn’t listen to the excuse and asks Elijah again “What are you doing here?” The same excuse is stated. I mentioned how slow the Widow of Zarephath was – Elijah has a memory problem too. God tells him, “get back to work” – so he returns and sets Hazael as king, Jehu as king and anoints Elisha as his successor. So are the days of Elijah. Huh, that’s it? Yep – Elijah is known for three or so years and then is ushered off the pages of history and scripture. This should remind us that our worth to God is not always in a long tenure, but being in the right place at the right time for the Glory of God! We live in a day where we need to have some Elijah’s to stand against the Ahab’s and Jezebel’s.
1 Kings 10-14; David the King of Judah is gone, the man who was after God’s own heart, gone. Solomon now reigns in his place, but not without conflict. Solomon as we read last week was an extravagant king. All the luxury he enjoyed came with a price. Solomon had too many women/wives. To keep them content and happy he constructed idols of their gods. The wisest man ever, in his last days forsook God. While there was peace on all the borders, there was an up rise brewing in the people. Now we read that Solomon did not use the people of Israel to do the work of construction, but the taxing seems to be the issue Israel objected to. When Solomon fades on the scene, Rehoboam his son asks for advise from two groups of people. I talked with the elders, and the elders told him to give relief from the taxation. Rehoboam then talked with his peers [younger generation] and they advised him to not to relief the burden, but increase it. I’m not much on looking at polls and surveys, but this is one time Rehoboam should have listened to the Elders. Enter Jeroboam – who rebels against the king. The people were ready [i.e. Israel] to leave. Rehoboam had other adversaries raised up by God. God was going to do a work – Jeroboam would rule over ten tribes and Rehoboam over two [Benjamin and Judah] only because of God’s word given to David. We have issues today with listening to various generations. Pastors and leaders are encouraged to give full audience to the Millennials and Gen X and Z people. I can’t think of a more volatile time in history. So many polls/surveys are being conducted to find out what people want and what they will support. Our own political system appears to be bankrupt, with socialism gaining more and more support. It is a sad few chapters we have to read this week. From a glorious reign of a king, to a divided kingdom. Jeroboam is so arrogant that he rejects God who gave him the ten tribes. He raises up Baal and Asherah idols for fear that the people will return to Jerusalem to worship and wind up staying. Our passage says that Jeroboam did more evil than all the fathers before him. There is a ray of hope – we hear the prophecy of Josiah being born. Albeit, the revival will only be temporary and superficial. This divided kingdoms of North and South, Judah and Israel will continue on until, the fall of Israel and Samaria around 722 BC. We will have kings like Hezekiah, Ammon, Ahab and the like. The idolatry and immorality will become so entrenched into the life of both kingdoms, God will scatter Israel, and send Judah into Babylonian captivity. 19 kings and one dynasty [Davidic] for Judah, but 19 kings and 19 dynasties for Israel in the North. How could such a blessed people forget so soon the blessings they received from Jehovah? I guess America could ask the same question. This point in history is filled with politics, immorality, deception and fear. Except the fear is not of the LORD, but of man. When I think of all the Father did to establish Israel as His people, and we as His Bride the Church, I am saddened because people knew better and still chose to satisfy their own fleshly appetites, rejecting God who literally “birthed” them into a people. Warning after warning is given for people to repent, yet the warning goes unheeded. We pray today for revival – revival of the Church, of the people of God. Yet there seems to be a demonic hold on mankind to continually reject the Savior Jesus. I wonder how log-suffering and merciful with God continue to be with us; Personally and collectively before He acts in judgment?