1 Kings 18:17, “And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?”
The days that led up to Elijah appearing on the scene of Israel’s history were very dark and full of ungodliness. The first king in the northern tribe’s history was Jeroboam. He was a man who did evil in the sight of the Lord. The next king after Jeroboam was Nadab (1 Kings 15:25). The Bible teaches us that he did evil and was conspired against by a man named Baasha, who “smote him at Gibbethon” (1 Kings 15:27). Baasha did evil in the sight of the Lord and died. After Baasha’s death, his son Elah reigned. Elah, by what we read about him, was a drunk (1 Kings 16:9) and was killed by Zimri, a captain of half his chariots, during a time of his drinking. After the death of Elah, Israel made a man named Omri king (1 Kings 16:16). During Omri’s reign there was a civil war in Israel, as part of Israel desired Tibni to be king. But the people who followed Omri prevailed. The Bible teaches us that Omri “wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all that were before him.” When Omri died, his son Ahab began to reign as king over Israel. Ahab took a wife,a woman named Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians and he “did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.”
It was in the incredible spiritual decline and ungodliness that Elijah, being sent of God, appeared on the scene. Elijah feared God, and made a stand for what was right. He declared unto Israel “there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” During those years of no rain, I am guessing there was some soul searching done by many people. Living in a major drought is difficult, but no rain for three years and six months must have been an incredible experience (James 5:17). Elijah himself was a man who grew in his faith and trust in the Lord during that time, but when God’s time to send Elijah to speak to Ahab and Israel the Lord said, “Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth” (1 Kings 18:1).
When Ahab saw Elijah, he spoke the words of our study verse. Sometimes when reading scripture, I try to put myself in the scene and use my own words to illustrate or explain what I believe happened. Somehow I feel Ahab’s words were similar to, “It’s you, you old sorry dog. You are the one that’s causing all this trouble. We were all in peace and doing fine till you showed up and caused all these problems.” 1 Kings 18:18, “And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.” In my words, Elijah’s response to Ahab was something like this, “It ain’t me, but you that’s caused the problems. I’m just here to expose your deeds.”
So there they are, two men blaming one another for the friction and problems in Israel. The people, who Elijah says is “halt ye between two opinions” were in need of deciding what was right. But who is at fault? How can we know? The test is the Word of God. What does God’s Word say? I’m sure Ahab could have cited that there were men before me who did the same things I do; or there are intelligent men standing here that I can call to witness who agree with me. But what he was doing was not in accordance with God’s Word.
The lesson? Anytime we have a difficult decision to make. Anytime we want to know what’s right or what’s wrong, we should not use history books or even rely on the words of men, but wholly lean and stand on God’s Holy Word. If we don’t have a ‘thus saith the Lord’, let’s look for the path His Word commands us to walk in. A few years ago there was a sister at Union Grove who told me a story about some issues which had arisen in the Church many years ago. After some discussion, Elder C. M. Mills said, “Let’s see what saith the law.” What was he saying? He was saying that we should search and find what God’s Word teaches us to do.
In closing, I would like to remind the reader of Paul’s words to the Church at Corinth. 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” How? By the standard, God’s inspired and preserved word. Amen!