Elijah, “Shout louder”

1 Kings 16:29 – 19:18  Rehoboam succeeded his father Solomon to the throne but was not wise.  David’s kingdom split.  The ten tribes of the north followed Jeroboam and became known as Israel while the two southern tribes stayed loyal to Rehoboam, David’s grandson, and became known as Judah.  It would appear people of faith are split and other gods step into the crack introduc

         Ahab eventually became king of Israel in the north, married Jezebel, and openly practiced idolatry. “Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him.”  Elijah, one of the greatest prophets of Israel, enters our epic story to confront the evil Ahab and stop the idolatry Ahab and Jezebel were leading the people into.  For three years Elijah hid from Ahab in a cave, praying that there would be no rain.  Finally Elijah calls for a showdown with the priests of Baal.  The real god would burn up a sacrificed cow.  As the people watch, Elijah taunts the priests, “Shout louder!”  Perhaps the baals were sleeping, in the bathroom, or busy!  Elijah douses his bull with water and the fire of heaven consumes the sacrifice and altar!  Rain returns.

         Spiritual victories are often exhausting and Elijah, burnt out, flees to the mountain of God and hides in a cave.  There he meets with God who speaks in “a still small voice.”  In Elijah we see the highs and lows of faith, even the faith of great leaders.  At his lowest, God does not abandon Elijah but sends an angel to Elijah who bakes a cake and has him eat and drink some water “for the journey is too great for you.”  God does not condemn Elijah for being tired but corrects Elijah’s misconceptions.  Elijah is not alone.  Elisha will replace him and there are 7,000 faithful believers.

         As the kingdom of David splits our epic story becomes more complex as we read how God honors his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and David but also works with the northern kingdom with weak leaders like Ahab.  This story encourages me that not only is God able to deal with all kinds of kings and leaders but God is also able to work with me in my highs and lows.  God is able and is faithful.

         I do not know where you are on your faith journey today.  Perhaps you are despairing of the political polarization in our country and the humanness of our religious leaders.  Or perhaps you are pondering on a more personal level your faith journey.  It is always encouraging to look at those low times in our life and identify the people and resources that God used to help us make it through the desert time.  How might you encourage someone who is struggling in faith today?  How might you rejoice with someone in his or her spiritual victory today?  Both are part of our journey.  We do not need to shout louder.  Our God is not in the bathroom or distracted!

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