TODAY’S READING: I KINGS 16-19
OVERVIEW: The corruption of the early kings of Israel; Elijah prophecies the drought; Elijah is fed miraculously; The widow obeys God’s Word; The widow’s son is raised from the dead; Elijah confronts Ahab; Elijah takes on the prophets of Baal; The Lord reveals Himself as the Lord; Elijah flees Jezebel; Elijah hears the still small voice of God; Elijah puts his mantle on Elisha.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
The pattern for the kings of Israel was one of apostasy. Each one turned from God’s way and the Lord brought judgment on each. Although it was a steady line of sinful kings, the crescendo was reached with Ahab. Ahab takes as his wife the infamous Jezebel and begins a reign that somehow is more wicked than all the kings before him (16:33). That is an amazing statement considering the statements made about the other kings in 16:7,13,19,25-26! In the midst of Ahab’s wicked reign God raises up a prophet named Elijah. Elijah prophecies to Ahab that it will not rain until Elijah calls for it. God then provides food and drink for His prophet in two ways. First, by using ravens to bring bread and flesh to Elijah while he drank from the brook Cherith. Second, from a poor widow and her son.
The story of the widow preparing Elijah’s food before she prepared, her own is one of the favorite stories pulled out of context by money-hungry televangelist. They say, you, too, must give to God’s man first (i.e. them), and then God will bless you. They twist the scripture and abuse it for their own profit. The key is not what she did, but why she did it. Notice in their conversation in 17:10-16, the key is verse 14 when Elijah states this is the Word of God – “for thus saith the Lord God of Israel”. The lesson is she obeyed God’s word despite her circumstances. What we often do is disobey God’s Word and use our circumstances as an excuse. We may not treat our spouse the way in which God tells us, but that is somehow our spouses fault (their actions) rather than ours. We can justify murmuring because we don’t like or agree with something that is happening at the church. We walk in the flesh because we’re just so busy! The widow obeyed despite her circumstances, !
and so should we! Then things get worse – her son dies! God reveals she is not a super-saint – she questions God’s prophet – but in her honesty with God, He meets her need. What we many times fail to do is get honest with God. We want to take our frustrations to people who have no business hearing them. God says, “Bring them to Me and I will meet your need!”
In the third year of the drought Elijah goes to confront Ahab. The meeting is set up by one of Ahab’s governors, Obadiah. God’s testimony about Obadiah is he fears the Lord greatly. We would probably assume it impossible to fear God and be one of Ahab’s governors but that is what God said. As Ahab and Elijah meet, Ahab tries to lay the blame on Elijah. Isn’t it amazing how the world, and many times believers walking in the flesh, want to blame people who are simply obeying God for their problems? It’s not new. What is about to follow is the classic showdown between Elijah, calling upon the name of the Lord, and the prophets of Baal. Most of us know the story of how God honors Elijah’s offering and reveals He is the Lord and Baal is nothing. However, before that great victory and revival could take place Elijah had to confront Ahab. We must be ready to deal with the things God wants us to deal with before He will move with revival in our lives.
>From the mountain top experience to fleeing for his life, Elijah is being put through a myriad of emotions. Jezebel wants to kill him for killing her prophets. Elijah flees and starts to feel a little sorry for himself (19:4). The good news is, he’s talking to God about it. God reveals He still has a plan for Elijah and shows him the key is not the “big stuff” – 19:11 – but rather in hearing God’s voice and obeying -19:12. God also reminds Elijah that there are 7,000 in Israel that are true to Him. Isn’t that just like us? We get thinking we’re the only ones doing right and obeying God and God has to remind
just like us? We get thinking we’re the only ones doing right and obeying God, and God has to remind us, we’re not alone!
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As THE FIRE OF GOD consuming the sacrifice. – I Kings 18:38 (Heb. 12:29).