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1 Kings 17:1-16
Elijah is one of the most colorful personalities found in the entire Bible. Here in 1 Kings chapter 17, he appears suddenly upon the scene, he doesn’t have a huge introduction, and not a lot is said about his life previous to here in this passage. He comes on the scene during some of Israel’s most troubling times. Ahab, the son of Omri, was now king. He is described in 1 Kings 16:30 as having “done evil above all that were before him”. When you consider some of the ones who ruled before Ahab, this makes him very wicked indeed. Jereboam lead Israel away from the worship of Jehovah into golden calf worship, Baasha killed Nadab, Jereboam’s son as well as all the others of the house of Jereboam and ascended the throne of Israel by blood, Omri, Ahab’s father, was the first king of the northern kingdom to pay tribute to the Assyrians. He was threatened by the Assyrian empire so he sough to solidify his reign by foreign treaties with pagan nations. In so doing, he imported their gods to Israel and built idols to mislead the people. Remember that Ahab is described as being worse than all those before him. One of Omri’s treaties involved the northwestern kingdom of Sidon, where his son, Ahab married the princess Jezebel. These two together worked to make Baal the major god of Israel, attempted to supplant the worship of Yahweh by killing all the prophets of God. Some years ago, at Meggido, a temple of Baal and Ashtoresh (Ash-tor-esh) Baal’s wife was found. Behind the temple was a cemetery filled with the remains of babies who had been sacrificed to their worship. Under their reign, it became illegal to worship God in Israel due to the influence of Jezebel. The reign of Ahab and Jezebel was one of the darkest periods of history in the Old Testament. Right in the middle of this darkness, God had His man who was Elijah.
Here Elijah seemingly comes from out of nowhere and rebukes the king. He tells Ahab that there will be no rain, nor even dew according to his word. One of the great judgments that God said He would send against His people if they did not keep His word was drought. Deuteronomy 11:17 And then the LORD’S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you. Elijah is delivering the word of God’s judgment against Ahab. He withstands the king and is no doubt under the king’s anger. Then the word of the Lord comes to him and gives him direction. God tells him to go east and hide by the brook Cherith. It is interesting that Cherith means in the Hebrew a “cutting” or more literally a separation. Elijah is going to serapate himself from Israel and hide under God’s protection. 1 Kings 18:10 (Obadiah, Ahab’s servant to Elijah) As the LORD thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: Elijah went to Cherith and while he was there, he was able to drink from the brook and every day God commanded the ravens to bring him food to eat. While I was studying for this message I discovered that ravens are not noted for being good parents for they will often leave their young without, yet when God commands, even the ravens obey.
What I want you to see is this, God was taking care of His prophet.
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