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Elijah was from the highlands of Gilead. It was far removed from the big city centers of Israel and was one of the few places that Yahweh (God) was still worshipped and the old traditions were followed. These Israelites scorned the introduction of the fertility gods, which King Ahab had allowed to be worshipped. It’s no wonder God called on this striking character from the highlands with long thick hair and a cloak of sheepskin.
Suddenly he appears before King Ahab and tells him that there will be no rain or dew until he says so (I Kings 17:1). Then Elijah goes away. It will be three years before he speaks to Ahab again. Jezebel, the king’s wife, is a devout follower of Baal and Asherah—not God. In fact, she has executed many of God’s prophets. Elijah has a showdown with the prophets of Baal (I Kings 18) and they are all slain. Jezebel threatens Elijah with death. Elijah bolts and runs.
It’s hard to fathom why this would strike such terror in this great prophet’s heart. So much so that he would hide and attempt to defend his actions to God (I Kings 19). Think of a straight-A student who gets a ‘B’ on a test. Shock sets in, then sadness takes over. After some reflection, reasons come to mind that can be used as a defense. The student still has some anxiety but struggles on. Toward the end of the week the teacher comes up, leans over and whispers, “I know that grade upset you. But don’t worry about it; it didn’t affect your grade. It only shows you what you need to work on.” It’s just like Elijah’s walk with God and the still small voice that says “It’s okay. You’ll be fine.”
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