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Summary: God shows Elijah that his faithful presence is to be valued over manifestations of his spectacular power!

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Title: 40 Days Of Running

Series title: Experiencing God

“Even Prophets Feel Like Quitting”

Text: 1 kings 19:1ff

the big idea God shows Elijah that his faithful presence is to be valued over manifestations of his spectacular power!

Introduction:

The story of God working in Elijah’s life!

From the mountain to the desert…God meets Elijah in the desert as well as on the mountain top! I kings 19:1ff

Situation: introduce man players: Ahab + jezebel + Elijah.

58 years had passed since the kingdom was ripped apart in 931 B.C…100 years of growth and power under David/Solomon was over … 2 kingdoms 10—2…in these 58 years the north had 7 different kings…#7 was Ahab—the worst of a bad bunch.

Ahab, son of Omri, the seventh king of Israel, who reigned for twenty-two years, from 876 to 854 (1 Ki 16:28ff), was one of the strongest and at the same time one of the weakest kings of Israel

FOREIGN POLICY:

In the days of David and Solomon commercial trade existed between the Hebrews and the Phoenicians.

• Ahab, recognizing the advantages from an alliance with the foremost commercial nation of his time, renewed the old relations with the Phoenicians and cemented them by his marriage with Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of Tyre (the Ithobalos, priest of Astarte mentioned by Meander).

• He next turns his attention to the establishment of peaceful and friendly relations with the kindred and neighboring kingdom of Judah. For the first time since the division of the kingdoms the quarrels are forgotten, “and Jehoshaphat,” the good king of Judah, “made peace with the king of Israel.” This alliance, too, was sealed by a marriage relationship, Jehoram, the crown-prince of Judah, being united in marriage with the princess Athaliah, daughter of Ahab.

RELIGIOUS POLICY:

Ahab’s far-sighted foreign policy was the opposite of his short-sighted religious policy.

Through his alliance with Phoenicia he not only set in motion the currents of commerce with Tyre, but invited Phoenician religion as well.

• The worship of Yahweh by means of the golden calves of Jeroboam appeared antiquated to him.

• Baal, the god of Tyre, the proud mistress of the seas and the possessor of dazzling wealth, was to have an equal place with Yahweh, the God of Israel.

• Accordingly he built in Samara a temple to Baal and in it erected an altar to that god, and at the side of the altar a pole to Asherab (1 Ki 16:32, 33).

• On the other hand he tried to serve Yahweh by naming his children in his honor—Ahaziah (“Yah holds”), Jehoram (“Yah is high”), and Athaliah (“Yah is strong”).

• However, Ahab failed to realize that while a coalition of nations might be advantageous, a syncretism of their religions would be disastrous.

• He failed to apprehend the full meaning of the principle, “Yahweh alone is the God of Israel.”

• MEET JEZEBEL (WHAT A CATCH!)

• In Jezebel, his Phoenician wife, Ahab found a champion of the foreign culture, who was as imperious and able as she was vindictive and unscrupulous.

• She was the patron of the prophets of Baal and of the devotees of Asherab (1 Ki 18:19, 20; 19:1, 2)

• At her instigation the altars of Yahweh were torn down.

• She inaugurated the first great religious persecution of the church, killing off the prophets of Yahweh with the sword.

• In all this she aimed at more than a syncretism of the two religions; she planned to destroy the religion of Yahweh root and branch and put that of Baal in its place.

• In this Ahab did not oppose her, but is guilty of conniving at the policy of his unprincipled wife, if not of heartily concurring in it.

• KIDS DON’T MARRY A JEZEBEL!

• Ahab and jezebel rule Israel… (year = 800 b.c. ?)

• Baal is being worshipped

• So there is a showdown on Mt Carmel

• 450 to 1!

• Victory comes! God answers by Fire!

Complication: an honest surprise in the narrative in the wake of great triumph, Elijah is discouraged, afraid and fatigued. (I kings 19)

• King Ahab tells jezebel about Elijah’s victory

• Jezebel sends a message to Elijah in 24 hours you will be dead!

• Elijah is intimidated and afraid—right on the heels of a great triumph!

• a price is put on Elijah’s head

• Elijah was afraid and ran for his life

• GOES TO BEERSHEBA 90 MILES SOUTH !

• not a retreat but an ESCAPE

• ELIJAH IS HUMAN!

• MAYBE HE TURNED 50—DEPRESSING –OLD AGE IS SETTING IN?

• escapism and denial refusal to fight—feel like were losing the battle

• left his servant behind and went a days’ journey into the desert

• WHY THE DESERT?

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