Ahab, Meet Elijah
1 Kings 17:1-6
1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”
2 And the word of the Lord came to him:
3 “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan.
4 You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.”
5 So he went and did according to the word of the Lord. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan.
6 And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
As Ahab embraces the gods of his wife, Jezebel, God raises up a prophet who will speak His Words and declare judgment on Ahab and the idolatrous people of Israel. With this first message that Elijah delivers there begins a bitter hatred between Elijah and Ahab which leads to death threats and great conflict between the two. Elijah’s first task is to explain that there will be a drought for as long as God ordains (which had already been going on for about 6 months when this message was delivered.) The god Baal-Marquart was supposed to be responsible for fertility and abundant harvest. The Lord God is about to display for all to see that He alone is in charge of such things.
With this story, we see what type of relationship exists between God and Elijah. Obviously, Elijah is able to hear God’s voice and he is quickly obedient to what he has been told. God also cares for all of Elijah’s needs. While the nation (and the nations around Israel) are struggling with drought and famine, Elijah is ministered to by ravens bearing food and he is directed to camp beside the Cherith brook (a tributary of the River Jordan) so that he has water. Throughout the rest of Elijah’s story we will continue to see this same pattern of God speaking, Elijah acting, and God caring. Ultimately God’s goal is to bring the people back using the voice of Elijah. Because of this goal, we will get to see Elijah do some amazing things!
I have a friend who is desperate to have the Lord speak to him the way He does in the Old Testament. He wants to hear the voice of God directing his path and telling him what to do. I’m not so sure that would be nearly as great as he might think. Sure, it might be cool at first, but as you can see, immediate obedience is expected in those situations. (See also the story of Abraham back in Genesis 12-25. He got to hear from God directly too and was instantly compliant with the instructions he was given, even when it meant sacrificing his own son – which God stopped him from doing.) If God is going to speak with an audible voice, it is probably very important and something you’re going to have to act upon immediately, not simply consider it for a while. I have included a link to a map that will show you where Elijah lived and where the events of his time of prophecy to the nation of Israel took place. It will prove helpful in the days to come.