Chariots of fire
Today we are going to set the scene for the life of Elijah. In king Ahab Elijah has a competitor. These were evil days.
1/ Evil spirals down. Verses 29 - 30
Israel was constituted as a nation in Moses' time. But as they go through the wilderness and in the promised land they had no king. All that changed in 1st Samuel. Saul was not a good king. Then he was followed by a good king, David. Solomon followed David. Israel is still a united kingdom. Things were going well. Tragically this didn't last. Solomon started to worship false gods. God said the kingdom would be divided. When Solomon died there was a civil war. The kingdom was split right into two. The kingdom was divided. This was around 874 bc. Ahab reigned in Samaria 22 years. This was a long reign. Ahab was a successful king in the worlds eyes but was a spiritual disaster. Verse 30 tells us he did what was evil in God's eyes. The human achievement meant nothing. Success before men is worthless if you are not living to please God. He did more evil than the kings before him and each of them were godless kings.
Ahab's father was evil and aHab was even worse.
Just when you think things can't be even more evil, it happens. We shouldn't be surprised at this even today. We think things can't be any worse and then it does. Jesus says in this world we have trouble but He has overcome.
2/. Idolatry rises up. Verses 31 - 33.
All the previous kings were also involved in idolatry but Ahab takes it to a new level. When he married Jezebel he stooped to the lowest level. She was the daughter of the king of Sidon. It was a smart political move but was not obeying God's laws. She was a fanatical devotee of Baal. She easily wins over Ahab to worship her god. He actually built a temple to worship this false god. Baal was supposedly married to Asherah. Ahab built an Asherah pole and worshipped her too.
How does this relate to us? We have always had our idols. We always put created things in the place of the creator. We worship God substitutes. We have God replacements. Idols such as money, sex, fame, sport etc. God has given us resources to bless us. He has given us the blessing of sex. He has given us abilities but these are not to replace him.
We deserve nothing from God but His justice but He died that our slates may be wiped clean. We need to enter a relationship with Him. Even though we will continually battle with sin.
3/. God steps in. 34, 17 verse 1.
God is not passive. He is working out His plan. God sees evil. Ahab did evil in the eyes of God. God feels what is done. God reacted with anger to Ahab's evil. God judges what is done.
Everybody knew the walls of Jericho were never to be rebuilt but here we see they attempted to do just that. It cost the man the life of his son.
God steps in and judges sin. We might think God is doing nothing in the face of today's evil. He is till as active today as he was in the day of Ahab.
God speaks. In chapter 17 we see God raises someone up to preach His word. He didn't confront Ahab with an army but with a preacher.
What should our response be to the evil of the day. Preach the word! People love their sin more than their creator. They need to be told. They need people to explain God's word. The job of the church, the job of Christians is to preach the word.
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