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Now that’s a good story. In those terrible days of a newly divided Israel, there are some bright spots. Yesterday, we observed the life of Asa—a bright spot. Today’s reading gives us the story of Elijah, the prophet of God.
Elijah was a prophet of God who lived in the days of King Ahab, king of Israel. Ahab was a wicked king. In fact, 1 Kings 16:30 tells us that he was the worst king ever for being wicked. God used Elijah to pray and prophesy that there would not be rain in the land until he (Elijah) said for Him (God) that there would be rain. Instead of drawing Ahab to God, this pushed him farther away from God. Ahab continued to rely on false gods. Then there was his wife, Jezebel. If you think Ahab was wicked, you should meet his wife, Jezebel. Chapter 18 says that Jezebel had all the prophets of God murdered. That is, she thought she did. A Godly man, Obadiah, who worked for Ahab and Jezebel hid 100 of the prophets of God.
In these early days of drought, God miraculously provided for Elijah. First, God brought him bread and meat through a raven and he drank from the brook in the Kerith Ravine. When the brook dried up, God sent him to the home of a widow and there provided for Elijah, the widow, and the widow’s son. In the sovereign plan of God, we learn why this widow is chosen. With Elijah in her home, Elijah is there to bring her son back to life.
Then, perhaps you have heard the story of how Elijah calls for a showdown between the God of Heaven and the false gods of Ahab. They gathered on Mount Carmel. The 450 prophets of Baal along with 400 prophets of the Ahserah were invited to take a bull and put on an altar. Elijah would take a bull and place on the altar. The false prophets went first. They called on their gods to consume the sacrifice by fire, but nothing happened. Elijah went next. He drenched the altar with four pots of water three times. God consumed the sacrifice with fire. The people watching declared “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God! Then, Elijah declared that the people seize the false prophets and execute them. Then, he prophesied that it was about to rain.
So, let’s recap. What did Elijah do? Well, he challenged the prophets of Baal to a duel. He built an altar. He drenched the altar, called down fire, slaughtered the prophets, and supposedly turned the hearts of the people back to God. Finally, he announced the end of a drought. Not a bad day, don’t you think?
But what happened to Elijah? Actually, an exhausted Elijah sinks into a depression. I’ve recounted all of that to provide this simple caution. Beware of the victories of life, lest they lead us to a point of depression and frustration. Maybe today you need to take a break. If so, don’t beat yourself up. Some of God’s choice servants experienced periods of being overwhelmed. When overwhelmed, do as Elijah eventually did—get alone with God and follow His next instructions.
Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com.