1 Kings 18:17-19
You have been invited to meet someone who has an incredible reputation as a powerful servant of God. What will you say to them? You consider your opening words carefully. Most likely you don’t plan to greet this person with an insult. But that’s exactly what King Ahab does when he meets Elijah. Despite the miracles that surround Elijah’s leadership and his powerful reputation, Ahab shows no respect for this person of God.
“Are you the one causing trouble for Israel?” Ahab asks (see v. 17). His greeting shows the king’s lack of respect for the prophet. More importantly, it reflects a tragic misunderstanding and underestimation of the God of Israel whom Elijah represents.
Surely Ahab is familiar with the terms of the covenant between God and Israel, which require that he, as leader, remain faithful to Yahweh, the one true God. So long as the king remains loyal to God, God will continue to protect and bless Israel, God’s chosen people.
The prophet responds quickly to Ahab’s insolence, setting the erring king straight. Elijah strips away the king’s bravado and brings to light Ahab’s grave disobedience and his family’s wrongdoing: Ahab has allowed the children of Israel to stray from the one true God.
Elijah issues an invitation that the king dare not ignore, a meeting between himself, the lone prophet of the Lord, and the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah. Because he knows that he answers to a higher power than this earthly king, Elijah responds to King Ahab courageously. What does it take for us to make our relationship with God our highest priority?
When have you had an opportunity to speak truth to power? How did you respond? What gives us the courage to say what needs to be said?
God, give us the courage of Elijah to stand against the evils of this world on your power alone. Amen.