I Kings 21 God’s Plan, Not Ours

Elijah wanted to be done.  Israel was a mess.  Ahab was a Godless king, and while he was still God’s chosen King, Elijah had to repect God’s plan for Ahab’s Life.  
Ahab’s wife had a man murdered, Naboth, simply because he owned a vinyard Ahab wanted but would not sell it. Ahab took over the vineyard and considered what had happened just fine–after all he got his vineyard. So God sent Elijah to confront Ahab for his great sin. Elijah confronted the King, and Ahab repented for his sin.  As a result, God spared Ahab’s life for the time being and sent Elijah on his way.  It certainly did not please Elijah to see the King spared, but, it did not embitter him either.  Elijah was simply the Prophet–calld by God to convey the message.  After the message was conveyed–it was God’s choice to do what was next.  Elijah was fine with that and went on about his business.
 
In our lives, often times we do not mind delivering the hard messages for God.  We do not mind facing the difficult circumstances–but, if God does things differently than we had expected, we get mad.  We think God is not being fair.  We have to have the same heart as Elijah.  We follow God, He sets the path.  If we will take that attitude, God will bless us and use us mightily.  We cannot, however, try to outguess or second guess God. He is in charge.  He can do things any way He chooses.  We have to honor Him, follow Him and trust Him to lead, guide and direct our paths.  If we will, the Lord will give us a full and meaningful life.  BUT, get ready, it may be a life far different than we planned.
 
God Bless You

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: 18 “Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He is now in Naboth’s vineyard, where he has gone to take possession of it. 19 Say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Have you not murdered a man and seized his property?’ Then say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood—yes, yours!’”

20 Ahab said to Elijah, “So you have found me, my enemy!”

“I have found you,” he answered, “because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. 21 He says, ‘I am going to bring disaster on you. I will wipe out your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free.[a] 22 I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have aroused my anger and have caused Israel to sin.’

23 “And also concerning Jezebel the Lord says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of[b] Jezreel.’

24 “Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country.”

25 (There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. 26 He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel.)

27 When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.

28 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: 29 “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.”

I Kings 19 Part 3–Wanted 1 Prophet with a Similar Name?

Elijah’s time was coming to an end.  God, as always, had a plan in place.  So Elijah was sent and found Elisha who was at home taking care of the family farm.  God used Elijah to call Elisha and Elisha, while a tich hesitant, obeyed and followed God’s prophet.  It was a hard decision, But Elisha left his family and business to be about God’s business.  It would turn out to be a great blessing for the nation and for Elisha.
 
God puts us into positions where we also have to choose.  We are faced with hard choices, but as with Elisha, we must continue to choose and honor God, no matter how difficult the choices seem to be.  If we will continue to choose and honor God, He will make our path straight and use us to complete His plan.  We can never underestimate His plan for us. Nor must we underestimate our value to God when we choose to obey.  David and Moses were shepherds. Elisha a farmer, Abraham a wanderer and Gideon a harvester.  None were poster children for the superhero calander; but all were used in mighty ways dur=e to their willingness to follow and honor God.  Let’s follow God and do the same.
 
God Bless You

The Call of Elisha

19 So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. 20 And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “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 And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him.

I Kings 19 Part 2–I Am Here,and I am Listening

This scene speaks volumes about Elijah and about the Lord.  Elijah demoralized in Hebron, and God there to meet him.  God asked Elijah to stand at the mouth of a cave before God. Then a strong and violent wind passed, a mighty earthquake shook, then a fire pushed through–but, God was not in any of those. Then a quiet wisper immediately grabbed Elijah’s attention and reverence.  Isn’t it amazing that often we hear a whisper clearer than a violent weather event.  Elijah knew his Lord. He was not fooled by the fanfare; nor, was Elijah shaken in his devotion to God. Elijah was simply worn out, and ready to go home.  So, God spoke very candidly to His prophet–in a sense, God told Elijah to finish up what I have for you to do. Then God asked Elijah to prep his replacement and then they would get Elijah home.  God did not berarate Elijah, nor, did God promise things would be OK or get better for Elijah. 
 
Life is difficult, God does not make excuses. We seek Him and He prepares, protects and provides for us.  But, it is important to remember that God is personal.  He individually cares for His own. He is with you and listens to your prayers.  As any Father, He seeks to meet us where we are and lead us where we need to be.  He asks us, like He asked Elijah “What are you doing here?” It is our duty as God’s kids to ask ourselves the same question–Why are we here??? if it is because of sin, then repent, if it is a trial, then pray and persevere.  Whatever the case, we must continue to seek God and listen for His still, small voice.  We may never fully understand God’s plan or God’s timing; but, we can know God! We can trust God to complete His plan for our lives.  
 
God Bless You

And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks 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 the sound of a low whisper.[a] 13 And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” 15 And the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. 16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. 17 And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. 18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

The Call of Elisha

19 So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. 20 And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “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 And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him.

1 Kings 19 Part 1–Elijah, What Are You Doing Here?

Even the holiest and mightyest of God get fed up.  Elijah should have been doing the Happy dance.  He had just watched God defeat the Baal preists and prophets, He saw the Lord end a three year drought after he prayed earnestly for it to end. He outran a charriot to Jezreel–Not bad for a Monday!  Still, Jezabeel swore to kill Elijah that day–and as Elijah knew, Jes=zabell usually Got what she wanted! So Elijah took off.  He ran away and hid. What’s more, He told God “I am done!” take me home. God watched his prophet experience the anguish and fear, and set about to help his dear one. 
 
First things first–God had an angel feed Elijah and guard his rest. Elijah was awakened two times to a freshly cooked meal.   It said that strengthened him. Then Elijah traveled a long way away to Horeb.  There again he told the Lord, I am done.  Take me home! That is when God asked Elijah an all penetrating question, “Elijah, What are you doing here?” In effect, God was not asking for an accounting of his trip, He was asking what circumstances brought him to a place of personal devestation that made death the best option.  
 
Elijah’s reply,
“I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
 
The reality was that if Elijah really wanted to die, he could have remained where he was–Jezabeel would have accomodated Elijah gladly.  But, Elijah simply felt alone; fighting for a God no one else wanted.  He knew God was great–He just proved that; but, the victory left Elijah with a priceon his head and Elijah was sick of running.  So, when God asked Elijah what are you doing here, God wanted His prophet to take a good look at himself and at the God he served.  
 
In our lives, we often find ourselves similarly situated. We push to serve the Lord, but still find life hard and difficult to manage. It can be depressing, and hopelessness can creep in. So God, in love, reaches out and asks us, “What are you doing here?”  He has clearly established His authority, but life has born down on us, and has worn us out–and being gone seems kind of attractive.  Take heart–God’s closest and finest have been there as well. Elijah, Moses, David, Paul all had moments that they wondered “What’s the point?”
The point is that we are part of plan, and as God’s chosen, we live a life of purpose.  We can never ubderestimate the impact we can have if we will remain faithful and follow God closely.  Just realize that, as we do, the enemy will be out to nuetralize, or at least minimize our impact. We can never give up, nor, can we ever give in–just know the battle is real.  God does love us and is faithful to meet our needs.  Just seek His hand to protect and fulfill us.
 
God Bless You

Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”

Elijah was afraid[a] and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.

The Lord Appears to Elijah

And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

I Kings 18 Part –A Great Rain

God never promises to make it easy.  He simply promises to follow through  on His promises.  Now that the heart of the people had left the false God Baal, God was ready to end the drought.  One thing still remained–Elijah had to release the rain.  So, from the same Mount Carmel, Elijah began to pray. He sent his servant out seven times to see if God answered; and then, on the 7th time a tiny cloud appeared.  Elijah knew that tiny cloud meant big things were ahead.  So, Elijah warned the king and then took off and met Ahab at the gates of Jezreel.  The author pens la perfect quote–“And there was a great rain!”  What a reminder that God does not do just OK!
 
God appreciates righteousness.  He also rewards tenacity.  Like Elijah, sometimes we have to keep praying to unleash God’s power.  It may seem like God is not listening, but–sometimes God needs our patience to fully complete His plan for our lives.  Additionally, what starts out to be “a small cloud” can easily turn into a “great rain” if we will simply wait on the Lord.  We can never lose hope nor admit defeat. We have read the end of the book, and yes, we win!!! Pray without ceasing. Wait upon our Lord to complete HIS plan for our lives.  If we can do that, history tells us that we can expect “A Great Rain”!!!
 
God Bless You

 And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.” 42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees. 43 And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times. 44 And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’” 45 And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. 46 And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

1 Kings 18 Part 3–I Think That Settles That!

This is one of God’s great and defining moments in the story of Israel.  Ahab the king vs Elijah the Prophet. The irritant to Elijah was that Ahab was God’s anointed leader. So, since the king would not acknowledge his allegiance to God, Elijah simply said FINE! lets let the “Gods” duke it out. Baal Prophets, you guys set up a sacrifice and I will set up a sacrifice.  Whichever God takes the sacrifice that is set before Him we will all agree is God! The people of Israel thought that was great! The Baal prophets, not so much. Oh sure, they went through the motions; built a nice alter set out a nice sacrifice.  They prayed and cried and danced and cut themselves–all to no avail. 
 
So then, Elijah had the people dig a trench, set up an alter, put the sacrifice on it and wood under it. Drench the sacrifice with so much water that it filled the trench around the alter. Then with very little fanfare, Elijah stood alone, faced the people, the king, the 450 Baal prophets, and priests.  Elijah prayed for the Lord to show Himself as God. So, God immediately sent a fire that consumed the sacrifice, the alter and the water in the trench. It was probably astounding. Needless to say, the game was over.  The false prophets and priests killed and Elijah vindicated–but, not Elijah–God was vindicated.
 
Bottom Line is that God is God. The world has set up all sorts of idols to remain independent of the Lord. Money, Power, Lust, Selfishness, Anger, Jealousy each take their place at the alter of men’s lives; and men pray, dance, cry and sacrifice their lives, families and all they hold dear; simply to affirm their devotion to their “GODS”. Sadly, their is no response–simply because they are false gods.
 
Then, we who know our Lord rise, pray, and watch the Lord God Almighty do amazing and powerful things. He changes lives, heals, provides, sustains, and brings to the forefront endless numbers of affirmations that He is the one and only true God. Ballgame over.  Objectively, their is no doubt that God is God. His wonders never cease. All that remains, is our need to take a knee and acknowledge His lordship in our own personal lives.
 
God Bless You

 

So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. 21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. 23 Let two bulls be given to us, and let them choose one bull for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it. And I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood and put no fire to it. 24 And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.” 25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” 26 And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. 27 And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 28 And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. 29 And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name,” 32 and with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord. And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two seahs[a] of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order and cut the bull in pieces and laid it on the wood. And he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.” 34 And he said, “Do it a second time.” And they did it a second time. And he said, “Do it a third time.” And they did it a third time. 35 And the water ran around the altar and filled the trench also with water.

36 And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.” 40 And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there.

1 Kings 18 Part 2–Let’s Finish This

So Elijah had followed the Lord’s leadership and did everything the Lord had asked of Him.  God told Elijah it was now time to face Ahab.  So Elijah went to Obadiah and set a meeting with Ahab.  It is a faith that honestly showed Elkijah had truly put his life and the life of his friend into God’s Hands.  So as each man followed God’s lead–nothing happened to either of them.  Elijah and Ahab met.  Ahab immediately started blaming Elijah for Israel’s horrible state–Elijah immediately stopped hiom and called him mon his unfaithful behavior.  But, then, Elijah took an extra step.  He told Ahab to bring all the priests and prophets that represented him and meet Elijah on Mt Carmel. in essence, Elijah told Ahab–“Let’s finish this!”
 
God does not have the time or patience to put up with lies and excuses. He watches his people walk away and try to command their own journey and turn their lives into a mess.  The Lord offers us redemption and shows us a journey of faith and a life that is purposeful and meaningful. If we choiose to follow, we will see great things. If we choose not to, we will experience the chaos that ensues.  One way or the other, however, God calls us–as Elijah did Ahab, to finish this.  No more excuses, no more going back and forth.  We have to follow the leadership of Joshua, who said, “Choose this day whom you will serve–our God or the god’s of the world.  As for me and my house–we will serve the Lord!” Joshua 24:15. 
 
In short, God  asks the same of us. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!!!
 
God Bless You

And he answered him, “It is I. Go, tell your lord, ‘Behold, Elijah is here.’” And he said, “How have I sinned, that you would give your servant into the hand of Ahab, to kill me? 10 As the Lord your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my lord has not sent to seek you. And when they would say, ‘He is not here,’ he would take an oath of the kingdom or nation, that they had not found you. 11 And now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord, “Behold, Elijah is here.”’ 12 And as soon as I have gone from you, the Spirit of the Lord will carry you I know not where. And so, when I come and tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will kill me, although I your servant have feared the Lord from my youth. 13 Has it not been told my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord, how I hid a hundred men of the Lord’s prophets by fifties in a cave and fed them with bread and water? 14 And now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord, “Behold, Elijah is here”’; and he will kill me.” 15 And Elijah said, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today.” 16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him. And Ahab went to meet Elijah.

17 When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” 18 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. 19 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

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