United again, we see the kings of Israel and Judah coming together for a common goal. The king of Israel needed some help in recapturing a town and asked the king of Judah to help. Jehoshaphat was happy to assist, but before he fully committed, I liked how he said, “But first let’s find out what the LORD says.”
That should be our “knee-jerk reaction” as well when facing a new task or undertaking. How often do we stop and take time to ask God? If we ask, do we wait for a response or just push forward? God’s timing isn’t always the same as ours. We hope for a quick and clear response. It doesn’t always happen that way.
God loves the people of Israel, doesn’t he? He also wants to make a point to King Ahab. We know this king to be notoriously drawn to idols and false gods. Ahab has also been a weak authority figure, seemingly involved in the happenings around him, but from a distance.
What surprised me was Ahab’s response to the negotiations. He was willing to give in and hand over his wives, children, gold, and silver. I suppose this makes sense when you think about his weak character. It wasn’t until greater demands followed that Ahab’s elders cautioned him.
This is one of those Bible passages that really excites me. I love when the power of God is recognized and applauded. Our previous readings have been building up to this moment of triumph! I almost get giddy with joy at how Ahab and the prophets of Baal must be feeling.
I don’t imagine Elijah will gloat because it was not his power at work. He has to be even more in love with the LORD. If I were him, I would be overcome with the honor and privilege of bringing this message to the Israelites.
King Ahab has been searching for Elijah all this time. Elijah has been kept safe by the LORD, who now sends Elijah out. If Elijah was at all fearful to meet King Ahab, his boldness seems to cover that well.
Elijah encounters another believer in Obadiah. Obadiah wants his allegiance to be clear. Yet, he also reveals to us his own fearfulness to bring King Ahab the news of Elijah’s presence. He fears for his life. Is King Ahab really that ruthless?
It will be helpful to know that Elijah is the first of several important prophets that God will use to bring messages to his people in both Israel and Judah (northern and southern kingdoms). Elijah is from Gilead (Israel) so he reports to his king, Ahab.
We’ve already seen how the kings of the north have all been evil and corrupt. For years, there were some in Israel who remained faithful to the God of Abraham who had brought them out of bondage in Egypt. They have lived under leaders who flaunt an entirely different spirituality, totally ignoring the God of their inheritance.