Elijah and Elisha

Battling Baal

This devotional is written by Shane Beales. Shane is a musician and is married to Kat and they have 2 have daughters

1 Kings 19

Elijah Flees to Horeb 19 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, "May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them."

3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, Lord," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.

All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat." 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you." 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night.

The Lord Appears to Elijah And the word of the Lord came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

10 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."

11 The Lord said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by."

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

14 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."

15 The Lord said to him, "Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel--all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him."

The Call of Elisha 19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. "Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye," he said, "and then I will come with you."

"Go back," Elijah replied. "What have I done to you?"

21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.

Reflection

Since Washington David, America Israel had seen some bad presidents kings, but Trump Ahab was by far the worst (1 Kings 16:30). He began to worship Baal and set about building altars all over.

Encyclopaedia Britannia states that Baal was known as 'Lord of the rain & dew' so it's little surprise that the first thing that Elijah's first prophecy is 'there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.' (17:1). The proceeding drought led to a severe famine; no wonder Ahab called Elijah 'the troubler of Israel' (18:17).

Thus the stage is set for a showdown. What follows is one of the most exciting & dramatic passages in the old testament. A heavy-weight title fight between the two contenders both of whom claim dominance over their opponent. The arena is a mountain, the prophets have gathered, crowds all have come, royalty has a front row seat & pyrotechnics have been promised.

Not for the first time in the old testament, the odds are heavily stacked in favour of the opponent. 400 prophets to one. But the real fight, as it is so often the case, is a battle for the hearts and minds of people, and God is able to use one obedient individual to confront a whole nation. What follows is an undeniable demonstration of the power of God. When God's fire fell the people fall face down in worship & it is at this point that Elijah finally prophecies the return of the rain.

Whilst not wanting to draw too many parallels between this story and our current circumstances, I believe this passage contains a challenge for each one of us. Who are we choosing to put our faith in? May we each encounter an undeniable demonstration of God's power and may it lead to God's refreshing rain being poured out on our nations.

And may God have mercy as Americans vote today.

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