As things continue to fall apart with Israel and Judah – we reach what I consider my two favorite chapters in the Bible… 1 Kings 18-19.

For the first time we are introduced to the Prophets. These are mouth pieces of God which He is starting to use to attempt to call His people back to Him. It should have been a sign to the people that things were going badly – yet instead we will watch them ignore, reject, and even kill these prophets. As the evil king Ahab rules in the northern section of Israel (along with his just-as-evil wife Jezebel) – we see the prophet Elijah come onto the scene. Judging by Ahab’s reaction the Elijah – the two of them were well acquainted. (Elijah wasn’t the first prophet – because we see that Obediah had hid and fed 100 prophets in a cave). Still – it quickly becomes apparent that Elijah is well-known and greatly feared due to the demonstrations of power that accompanied his oracles from the Lord.

Also quite obvious is the further descent of God’s people into outright sin and rebellion. The numerous evil kings had done a number on the Israelites – leading them into idol worship and a complete rejection of God’s law. By the time Elijah comes on the scene – Ahab had become king of Israel – taken a foreign wife – committed himself to walking in the same sinful ways as his father – and established the worship of the false-god Baal in the land.

In 1 Kings 18 we see a mighty confrontation between Elijah and 450 prophets of Baal. On Mt. Carmel they set up the showdown – where both God and Baal are called upon to send down fire and consume an altar. Elijah makes fun as the prophets of Baal go first – stirring themselves into a frenzy in an effort to get this false-god to answer them. “Maybe he is using the bathroom?” Elijah quips! After a full day of this nonsense – Elijah has them pour water upon the sacrifice to soak it thoroughly – and then with a simple 63-word prayer – God responds and totally incinerates the entire sacrifice, water, and altar.

AWESOME!

The result of this demonstration is that all of the 450 prophets of Baal are killed – which does very little to endear Ahab/Jezebel to Elijah. In 1 Kings 19 we see Elijah get a report from Jezebel that she is looking to kill him in retaliation. Instead of inquiring of the Lord in what to do – Elijah the Tishbite – Prophet of God… runs. He runs all day to get away from Jezebel. In the end he runs all the way to Mount Horeb (180 miles) – only to have God ask him why he was there in the first place. God turns him right around and send him north (back the way he had just run from) to continue the mission God had for him.

To me – these two chapters present a beautiful juxtaposition. In chapter 18 we see this mighty prophet of God stand in showdown against 450 false-prophets in a mighty display of God’s power. Then right after that in chapter 19 this same man of God reveals just how human he really is by running from a lone woman. He is tired – frustration – and in despair… wanting to quit… yet God simply loves him – feeds him – lets him run a bit – and then gently corrects his panic-filled perspective.

Elijah – you are not the only one left who loves and serves me… I have 7000 other prophets who are serving me just like you are… now wipe your eyes and get back to what we are doing here!”
There are days I feel like the Elijah of Chapter 18… and there are days I feel like the Elijah of Chapter 19. I’m so grateful that God understands both – and graciously walks me through it – lovingly standing me back up and leading me along in His plan.

(If interested… check out this video of a great song rendition of the showdown in 1 Kings 18).

 
Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

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