1 Kings 19 Ė 20 part 13
In our last lesson we were introduced to Elijah, Ahab and
his wife Jezebel. Ahab was the king of
Kings 19:1 And
Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the
prophets with the sword.† 2
Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, "So let the gods do to
me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by
tomorrow about this time."† 3
And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to
Now we need to remember that Elijah had just finished showing all kinds of courage and confidence when he faced off with those 450 prophets but now his is tired and he is losing his confidence. When he receives the message that Jezebel is going to have him killed he runs for his life and hides himself in remote location and he just begs God to let him die. Elijah just didnít have any ambition left in him and so he wanted to give up. But, notice what happens next.
1 Kings 19:5 Then as
he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to
him, "Arise and eat."† 6
Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a
jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again.† 7 And the angel of the LORD came
back the second time, and touched him, and said, "Arise and eat,
because the journey is too great for you."† 8 So he arose, and ate and drank;
and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as
Even though Elijah was ready to give up and didnít think he had anything left in him God knew that he could do more and so God provided for him giving him food and water by the hand of this angel. Elijah used this food and water to walk another 40 days just to hide a little bit better. This time he hid in a cave and God wants to know why are here? Elijah gives God what he thinks is a good answer for being hidden. Elijah believes that he is the only prophet left that loves God and that everyone else has turned against the Lord and wants him dead. So, He sees no good reason to leave this private protected cave. But watch what God does in response to this in,
1 Kings 19:11 Then He
said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD." And
behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains
and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not
in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not
in the earthquake;† 12 and
after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire;
and after the fire a still small voice.† 13
So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle
and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to
him, and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"† 14 And he said, "I have been
very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; because the children of
This was Godís way of showing Elijah that he could press on and face the enemies of God. He shows him the three miracles of wind, earth and fire which shows the power that he can bring forth to destroy his enemies but God himself wasnít in those events. Instead He revealed himself to Elijah in very soft voice. Now many different meanings could be seen from this event but I personally see that God is showing his power in the 3 miracles and he is showing his loving care to Elijah as he whispers to Him.
Then we see Elijah showing his respect for God by wrapping his face with his mantel. Once again God ask him again why are you here and once again Elijah gives the same answer but watch what God says next.
1 Kings 19:15 Then
the LORD said to him: "Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of
God gives Elijah 3 task
to perform. He is to anoint Hazael king of
One thing I think we can learn from this is just how important for us to have goals in our life. If we donít have a goal to strive for then most likely we will end up like Elijah and start having self pity for ourselves. As we set our goals for what we want to do for God we need to make sure they are attainable goals or we will find ourselves discouraged once again. It also important that we donít make our goals so easy that there is no challenge or we will never grow. Let me give you a few examples. 1. You could set a goal of reading your 2 chapters a day of your Bible. 2 You could try and invite 3 people a week to church. When you meet your goals set new ones so that you always have something to work toward and remind yourself that God is with you and you can draw strength from him.
We also see that God reveals to Elijah that he is not alone in this world because there are 7000 other people who are faithful to God as well. Sometimes Christians feel Elijah does. They think that they are the only ones that are going through a difficult time and so they start to lose hope. But, just like Elijah we need to realize that there are other Christians out there that have been and are currently going through whatever difficulty we are going through. This is exactly what Peter tells us in,
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.† 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.† 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
Not only are there other Christians that have suffered the way we have we are suppose to use these difficult times to strengthen our faith in God. Elijah was certainly empowered by this thought and so should we.
1 Kings 19:19 So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him.† 20 And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, "Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you." And he said to him, "Go back again, for what have I done to you?"† 21 So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen's equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant.
Here we see Elisha working and being chosen by God. Elijah is just the messenger that is why he tells him go back again for what have I done to you? Elisha will be next major voice for God when Elijah is gone. So, Elijah has one of his goals out the way.
1 Kings 20:1 Now
Ben-Hadad the king of
In these verses we learn
some more about Ahabís characteristics. Ahab doesnít appear to be a very strong
king as he was willing to cave in at Ben-Hadadís first request. Could you
imagine willingly giving up your wives and children to your enemy just because
they threatened you? Now I could understand giving up gold and silver to avoid
the attach but not your family yet that is exactly what Ahab was willing to do.
Well, Ben-Hadad allows his greed to get to him which will lead to his downfall.
He was probably thinking well, if he is not going to put up a fight with my
first request then I will ask for more but this time Ahab would not agree with
the additional request and so Ben-Hadad swears an oath to his false Gods to
1 Kings 20:13
Suddenly a prophet approached Ahab king of
Here we see God showing both Ben- Hadad and his people and Ahab himself that he is the only true God and if you are on his side victory will be yours. Ben-Hadad and these other kings were drunker than skunks and over confident. With Godís help this small group of men under king Ahab was able to defeat these men and drive them out. You know this had to be humiliating to the Syrians. This should have been proof to King Ahab that God was in control.
1 Kings 20:22 And the
prophet came to the king of Israel and said to him, "Go, strengthen
yourself; take note, and see what you should do, for in the spring of the year
the king of Syria will come up against you."† 23 Then the servants of the king
Well, Syrians do believe that God helped Ahab win but they think he is just a God of the hills and that his power could not reach into the plains. So, they decided to try their luck at fighting the Israelites in the open field.
1 Kings 20:26 So it
was, in the spring of the year, that Ben-Hadad mustered the Syrians and went up
to Aphek to fight against
Once again these 2 foes
face off and once again Ahab has the assurance from this unnamed man of God
that the Syrians will be defeated which will once again prove that God is Lord
over all. Just as the man of God said
1 Kings 20:31 Then
his servants said to him, "Look now, we have heard that the kings of the
Ben-Hadadís people decided to submit themselves to Ahab and appeal to his mercy and sure enough Ahab decides to be merciful and even calls Ben-Hadad his brother. There is only major problem with all of this and that is God wanted these people dead. Ahab is making the same mistake that Saul had done in reign as king. Based on his own wisdom he decided to show mercy and not destroy what God said to destroy and because this God is not pleased with Ahabís action. This is pointed out in our next verses.
1 Kings 20:35 Now a
certain man of the sons of the prophets said to his neighbor by the word of the
LORD, "Strike me, please." And the man refused to strike him.† 36 Then he said to him,
"Because you have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, surely, as soon as you
depart from me, a lion shall kill you." And as soon as he left him, a lion
found him and killed him.† 37
And he found another man, and said, "Strike me, please." So the man
struck him, inflicting a wound.† 38
Then the prophet departed and waited for the king by the road, and disguised
himself with a bandage over his eyes.† 39
Now as the king passed by, he cried out to the king and said, "Your
servant went out into the midst of the battle; and there, a man came over and
brought a man to me, and said, 'Guard this man; if by any means he is missing,
your life shall be for his life, or else you shall pay a talent of
silver.'† 40 "While your
servant was busy here and there, he was gone." Then the king of
Once again we have God
using his prophet in an usual way to make a very vivid picture of his
displeasure in Ahabís actions. A person can never accuse God of having no
variety in delivering his messages and judgments. The basic message from this
prophet is that Ahab should not have shown mercy when it wasnít his to give. It
was his duty to destroy this man and his people. Ahab condemned himself and
We can learn great lesson from this today and this is that we should submit to Godís commands and not try to substitute them with what we think should be done because Godís way is the only way if want to make it to heaven.† As Jeremiah said, Jeremiah 10:23† O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps