Devotion: 1 Kings 18:17-19

After Elijah encountered Obadiah and sent word for Ahab to meet him a confrontation is on the way:
“When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, ‘Is it you, you troubler of Israel?’ And he answered, ‘I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the LORD and followed the Baals.” –1 Kings 18:17-18 ESV
I think many of us would do just about anything to avoid this kind of encounter. That person in our life that we feel is responsible for trouble is best avoided, or so we tell ourselves. Elijah, following the Lord’s will, cannot avoid Ahab and so takes the direct approach. The encounter is unpleasant, but necessary.
Ahab becomes the confrontation by insulting Elijah. This is a display of the rotten character of the king of Israel. Ahab has not practiced idolatry, he has given himself over to the idea of his own superiority. Ahab believes that because he is the king, he is the embodiment of the best intentions of Israel. In other words, because Ahab desires/wants/wills it, whatever ‘it’ is, it is what is best for Israel. Ahab does not take into account that there is an external source of what is good, right and holy, namely the Lord. As a result, he honestly views Elijah, the presenting cause of the drought, as the troubler of Israel. Since Elijah called for no rain, and this is contrary to what Ahab wants, Elijah is the problem. Absent from Ahab is any sense of humility or introspection.
Elijah, for his part, tells the truth. While Elijah did call for the drought, at the Lord’s direction, it was not a capricious or arbitrary act. The drought was a direct response to the wickedness of King Ahab (and his predecessors) by the Lord. Ahab, abandoning the clear teaching of God’s Word, had practiced idolatry, even allowing child sacrifice and the martyrdom of the prophets of the Lord. Ahab was the cause of the drought, not Elijah. Elijah’s direct approach does not pull any punches in the confrontation. Perhaps we could follow Elijah’s example when we need to confront others in their sin.
“Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” –1 Kings 18:19 ESV
The text continues with a further plan to settle the matter once and for all. Elijah, the prophet of the Lord will have a contest with the prophets of Baal and Asherah, those who served the queen. Elijah invites the whole nation of Israel to bear witness to this contest at Mount Carmel. The initial confrontation will lead to a resolution that we will begin to explore next week.
In the meantime, take the direct approach, no matter how difficult it may seem, when confrontation is necessary. Speak the truth of the Lord for the sake of the other in love. It may not be easy, but it is the best we can do.

News for You:

Small Groups will be studying Romans 8-16 beginning the week of February 10. Please sign up following worship!

Leave a Reply