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Courage!

March 21, 2013

I don’t care what version of the Bible I read I Kings 17:1a from, I can’t get past that verse. There’s a lot of unsaid pieces.  Here it is from The Message:  “And then this happened: Elijah the Tishbite, from among the settlers of Gilead, confronted Ahab…”

To approach a king unannounced was not as easy as going to your neighbor’s house and ringing their doorbell. I’m reminded of how Esther had to take specific steps to see the king unannounced even though she was married to him. I realize that was in Persia, not Israel, but I have my doubts that a tyrant of a king like Ahab would just allow a commoner to casually approach him.  What stirred within Elijah as this evil king took over and led the people in a more wicked direction than ever before? What were Elijah’s parents like? Had they raised him to be God-fearing or were they people who walked in evil ways, too? I love these four sentences that John Maxwell put in his study Bible. “Some consider Elijah the greatest prophet of the Old Testament. When he predicts a drought, he’s not out to make a popular speech or gain friends in high places. Elijah spoke to the people when God spoke to him. God plus one equals a majority.” (The Maxwell Leadership Bible, I Kings 17:1, p. 444.)

The next part of verse 1 says, “…’As surely as God lives…’ ”  In the New Century Version it reads: ” ‘I serve the Lord, the God of Israel…’ ”  How bold!  Elijah is telling the king that his god, Baal,  was not the god of Israel; the Lord was.  Even though Ahab had built a temple for Baal, served, and worshiped him, that did not make Baal the official god of the nation Ahab presided over.  In fact, if you reread the portion from the NCV, Elijah states as fact that the Lord is the God of Israel.  Period.

He was also courageously stating that God was alive.  Ahab thought Baal was.  This is not just a confrontation of the King by a “nobody”.  It was also a brave statement that “God is alive and you’re worshiping the wrong god, a non-existent god”.  Just this by itself would have been enough to make the King angry.  If there ever was such a thing as double bold, this would be it!

If Daddy gave you a task like this, would you carry it out in the boldness and courage of Elijah?  Just this tiny piece of this story and this introspective question is enough to chew on and pray about for days.  I’m definitely challenged by it!  Where do you stand?

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