Elijah – Part 4
The story about Elijah defeating the 450 prophets of Baal is the one story that we all remember from Elijah’s life. We naturally love to see the hero that stands for justice because we long for good to win at the end. We lean forward waiting for the hero of the story to become victorious. Elijah won and the 450 prophets of Baal are killed and the one prophet of Yahweh stands victoriously! Think about that for a minute, there is something in each of us desiring the good to win over the evil, why is that? It’s rooted from the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate the fruit and sin entered the world, we long for God to come and defeat sin, the devil and to set us free. Jesus is the better Elijah, Jesus didn’t just defeat the 450 prophets of Baal at the cross, but He also defeated the devil and sin, from which Baal originates.
We couldn’t ever do true justice with anything in the bible without pointing back to Jesus. Jesus is the better Elijah. In John 16:33 Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! for I have overcome the world.” In the Greek text of this verse, Jesus is actually saying “Take Courage”. God wants his people to be a courageous people. We see a few great examples in history, starting with Martin Luther, who not only put his job on the line but also his very life. He is the reason today we have the protestant church. Interestingly enough another Martin Luther took a stand against racism. Both men happen to be spiritual leaders, one was a Monk in the Catholic Church and the other was a Pastor in the Protestant Church. Today we can point out others who took a stand against abortion and got arrested for praying outside plan parenthood buildings. One pastor in Houston was ordered by a judge or mayor over a decade ago to hand over his sermon because the judge didn’t agree with the pastor’s message, and the pastor didn’t agree with the judge’s order and he took a stand. We need to be people who will stand up and face opposition for the glory of God and for the strengthening of the church.
So we get to 1 Kings 19, King Ahab reports to his wife everything that happened in the conflict between him and Elijah with how he defeated and killed the 450 prophets of Baal. When I read about this conversation Ahab has with his wife Jezebel, it really seems like Ahab was changed by it, but he is still confused about what happened. In 1 Kings 19:1 Ahab tells his wife everything that happened and then his wife takes charge and sends messengers to Elijah about killing him. After everything that happens, it’s when Jezebel goes after him, that is when Elijah gets scared and hides in the caves.
Who is Jezebel?
Her name shows up 19 times in the Old Testament. 13 times in 1 Kings and 6 times in 2 Kings. Her name shows up 1 time in Revelations when Jesus rebukes the church in Thyatira. She kills a man for his plot of land for her husband to have. Scholars agree that Jezebel not only was the true ruler of Israel, but she was running the show for Ahab, not even her own husband could control this queen, which says a lot because he had the authority to banish her from the kingdom and get a new wife, but he doesn’t. It’s very well possible that she was a very manipulated woman and deceived her own husband. Through Jezebel, we also see the weakness of King Ahab, the fact he couldn’t get anything done and he reports to her everything that happened. This doesn’t happen anywhere else in the bible with a king. Most of the time the queen is very submissive to the king, but this is different, the king seems to be submissive to the queen. This is a lesson for marriage, be watchful of who you marry. Ultimately Jezebel receives her judgment from God. She is killed and her body is left as food for dogs in the public streets. She died in disgrace. She had it all, yet God had all the power.
Judgment is the result of rebelling against God and attacking God’s people. The big problem in our age is that we think of God as this loving God who wants to save the world. This is true, but God never changed who He was before the Cross. The God of the old testament is still the God of the New Testament. The God who brought Judgement onto Jezebel in the old testament is also bringing judgment on the wicked in the new testament. Don’t believe me? Read Revelations, it’s all about God’s coming judgment on the whole earth. There is a story in Acts where the judgment was brought upon fake Christians too. They sold some land and gave some of the money to the church leadership, telling them it was 100%. Judgment fell on those two for doing that. You just won’t hear your friendly pastor say that at the church because they have a budget to keep up with. Feel-good messages keep the light on. Did you know if you take the lord’s supper in vain, your drinking judgment on yourself? Be careful with that stuff during the easter time, if you aren’t a real Christian, don’t go to church on Easter and play religion with God. God’s Judgement is not a joke.
“For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 This is why many are sick and ill among you, and many have fallen asleep. 31 If we were properly evaluating ourselves, we would not be judged, 32 but when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord, so that we may not be condemned with the world.” 1 Corthinians 11:29-32
That verse also answers why we as Christians suffer. Our sin against God earns us the disciplined or judgment, whatever you want to call it, of God. Maybe you have never suffered in this world, it’s possible you’re not a Christian and your judgment will come at the end, called Hell. I’m not a feel-good preacher, I just tell it as it is, because I don’t want to answer to God for being a Joel Osten or Kenneth Copeland. Stay away from those preachers, and stop giving money to these preachers living in million-dollar houses. They don’t care about the gospel, they just want money and a new pool.
God can not truly be Love if he isn’t also Just. Just like your parents, if they truly loved you, they will punish you when you do wrong. A Good Judge doesn’t let criminals go free, because if he did he would be a corrupt judge and there would be great outrage in the streets. We see this in new york where they are arresting a former president for misdemeanors for political reasons but literally are releasing murderers and armed robbers back onto the streets with no jail time. God is not like that, he will send judgment onto the wickedness of this world. That’s why he sent his son Jesus to live a perfect life and die on the cross. All the sins in the world on him. If we turn to Him, we can be saved from that judgment, but if we reject Him, we will face the judgment of God. Literally, that is the choice, receive Jesus as savior or reject him.
So, imagine one minute that your Elijah, God has given you the ability to do all these great signs and wonders and now everything is going just great until someone raises up and says they are going to kill you. Let’s be honest, I would be scared too. I don’t want to be killed. What doesn’t make sense to me, why is Elijah scared? This dude just had 450 prophets of Baal literally killed, he had fire come from the sky and burn wet wood. I would be thinking, this dude is the most powerful person on earth, but he runs for his life when the queen goes after him.
I think he was afraid for his life, but he also must have been tired and worn out. His expectations weren’t met. He was probably thinking that once he defeated the prophets of Baal Israel would turn back to Yahweh and reject Baal, but even after everything he said and did, the queen was coming after him now. That’s when he gave up and said, “It’s enough O Lord, take away my life…”. 1 Kings 19:4.
A lot of times we have our plan and God has his plan. Elijah’s ideal plan for the Nation of Israel wasn’t met and he reached the end of himself. The issue wasn’t that Elijah wasted his time following and serving God, but that he thought that he knew the big picture. He thought he knew exactly everything that God was doing, but he didn’t. Maybe he thought he himself was like a mini-god on earth and maybe that is why God allow Elijah to reach the end of himself in that cave so that God could show Elijah his position in front of Almighty God and in that process God is bringing about revival to the life of Elijah.
God wasn’t done with Elijah, God still had plans for him, even after calling down fire from the sky and defeating 450 prophets of Baal. Elijah still had to anoint Hazel as king over Syria, Jehu as king over Israel and the most important job of all was to anoint Elisha as the next prophet after himself. I say it’s the most important job because the next generation is the most important generation, we need to pass down the word of God and the gospel to the next generation so that they also will serve Yahweh. So the next generation can also know Him just as we also serve, seek and know Yahweh. If we don’t do that, we are inviting judgment onto our own kids.
We see this through Nineveh, Jonah tells them about Yahweh and only 40 years later judgment comes against that city in the days of the prophet Nahum. The reason is that the message Jonah gave wasn’t passed down to the next generation. We see it also in King Ahab, his father was the evilest king of all Israel up to his day and he taught his son to also reject Yahweh and it didn’t turn out too well for him or his wife.
So as Christians in 2023, we need to pass on the message to the next generation. We need to remember also who we are before God and not get caught up in thinking that we know the whole picture and we understand God completely in his plan because we don’t. Last, we also need to courageously follow and serve God no matter the cost.
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