Sunday, August 19, 2012

Elijah on the run

Good evening friends,
We skip ahead quite a bit to the divided kingdoms of Israel (Northern Kingdom with Samaria as its capital) and Judah (Southern Kingdom with Jerusalem as its capital.) Ahab has become King of Israel and, along with his wife, Jezebel, has led Israel deeper into sin. The passage refers to Jezebel killing the Lord's prophets, but doesn't tell us that story. It seems that overall, Jezebel promoted the worship of another god, Baal, and persecuted those who worshiped the Lord. At the same time, many still worshiped the God of their ancestors.

The most famous prophet of that time was Elijah. He had prophesied a drought as a sign of God's anger for Israel's unfaithfulness. When we get to this passage, it has been more than three years since the last rain. We get a sense in this passage that Elijah spent much of his life on the run, fleeing from Ahab and other rulers upset by God's judgment. There are many great stories of the prophets from this part of scripture, and this is one of them.

God bless,


1 Kings 18:1-16
After many days the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year of the drought, saying, “Go, present yourself to Ahab; I will send rain on the earth.” 2So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab. The famine was severe in Samaria. 3Ahab summoned Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace. (Now Obadiah revered the Lord greatly; 4when Jezebel was killing off the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah took a hundred prophets, hid them fifty to a cave, and provided them with bread and water.) 5Then Ahab said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs of water and to all the wadis; perhaps we may find grass to keep the horses and mules alive, and not lose some of the animals.” 6So they divided the land between them to pass through it; Ahab went in one direction by himself, and Obadiah went in another direction by himself.

7As Obadiah was on the way, Elijah met him; Obadiah recognized him, fell on his face, and said, “Is it you, my lord Elijah?” 8He answered him, “It is I. Go, tell your lord that Elijah is here.” 9And he said, “How have I sinned, that you would hand your servant over to Ahab, to kill me? 10As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom to which my lord has not sent to seek you; and when they would say, ‘He is not here,’ he would require an oath of the kingdom or nation, that they had not found you. 11But now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord that Elijah is here.’ 12As soon as I have gone from you, the spirit of the Lord will carry you I know not where; so, when I come and tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will kill me, although I your servant have revered the Lord from my youth. 13Has it not been told my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord, how I hid a hundred of the Lord’s prophets fifty to a cave, and provided them with bread and water? 14Yet now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord that Elijah is here’; he will surely kill me.” 15Elijah said, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today.” 16So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah.

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