Read & Study the Bible Online - Bible Portal

1 Kings 18:17-20 -

The King and his Master.

For three and a half years king- and prophet have not met ( Luke 4:25 ). For three and a half years, forty and two months, twelve hundred and sixty days ( Revelation 11:2 , Revelation 11:8 ; Revelation 12:6 ; Revelation 13:5 ; Daniel 7:25 ), the mystical period of persecution and blasphemy, the plague of drought has afflicted the land. But now the time—God's "fulness of time"—has arrived for its removal. The time to favour Israel is come, and king and prophet meet again. It was an anxious moment for each of them. It was a critical moment in the history of the Church. Let us mark their words; let us observe how they bear themselves; we shall surely learn something from their carriage and discourse.

I. The king goes to meet the prophet . Elijah would seem to have waited in the place where Obadiah left him until Ahab appeared. He is not going to take the place of a suppliant. Subject though he is, he is Ahab's superior. He has a commission higher and nobler than the king's. It is his task to reprove the king; hence, in a manner, he summons him before him. The proud monarch who has scoured all lands in search of him must now humble himself to go before the prophet. "Behold Elijah."

II. Ahab fears to meet Elijah . It is true he is the first to speak, and accuses the prophet of troubling the land; but we may well believe that, despite his brave words when Jezebel was at his side, and the cheap courage he manifested when he had the court and the priests of Baal at his back, he must have looked forward to this meeting with something like dismay. He had good cause for misgivings and fears. First, he was to encounter a true prophet, and one vested with supernatural powers. Of one thing he could have no doubt, as to the" sure word of prophecy" in Elijah's lips. No less than the Sareptan, he had proved that the word of the Lord in Elijah's lips was truth ( 1 Kings 17:24 ). "He spake and it was done." He had denounced a drought, and it had come to pass, a drought beyond all precedent, a drought which still cursed the country, and was at that moment taxing its resources ( Obadiah 1:5 ) And of another thing Ahab must have been equally certain, that this drought was no chance which had happened him. The coincidence between the word and the event negatived that idea. He must see in it the finger of God; he must recognize in the prophet the power of God. But

Now, we have heard words like these, we have read of them in other mouths than Ahab's. It is a common charge against the prophets and people of God. The saints are always in the wrong. It is always they who "turn the world upside down" ( Acts 17:6 , Acts 17:8 ); always they who "do exceedingly trouble our city" ( Acts 16:20 ). Our Lord was accused of sedition. The first Christians were called "enemies of the human race." All manner of evil is said against them falsely. Ahab only speaks "after his kind." He saw that Elijah had been instrumental in bringing down the drought and the terrible famine which accompanied it. He never pauses to ask what moved Elijah to call for a drought; what caused Elijah's God to send it. The herald is accused as the cause of the war. "There is nothing new under the sun." The same charge is made, and with the same unreason and perversity at the present day. The lamb must have fouled the stream, whichever way it flows. If the Baptist comes neither eating nor drinking, they say, "He hath a devil." If the Son of man comes eating and drinking, they say, "Behold a gluttonous man and a winebibber." If we pipe, they will not dance: if we mourn, they will not lament ( Matthew 11:16 sqq.)

III. Elijah denounces the king to his fence . "I have not troubled Israel, but thou," etc. "The righteous are bold as a lion." There is no trace of fear in these words. The truth has nothing to fear. And the truth it was then, and is now, that the trouble and suffering of the world spring out of sin, out of forgetting and forsaking God. If men will leave Him out of their thoughts and lives, their sorrows cannot but be multiplied ( Psalms 16:4 ). It is like leaving the sun out of our solar system—the world would revert to primaeval chaos. The French revolution shows the result of the negation of God. Communism and Nihilism do the same. "There is no peace to the wicked." But not only do they "pierce themselves through with many sorrows," but they trouble Israel ( Ephesians 6:16 ), the peaceful people of God. But for them this world would be a Paradise. It is they who make wretched homes and broken hearts. It is they who necessitate our armies, our police, our gaols, our poor rates. It is they who sometimes make us wonder, with some of the ancients, whether this earth is not really a place of punishment. But for them, and the confusion and misery they cause, men would never ask "whether life is worth living;" still less conclude that "the greatest good is never to have been born into the world, and the next to die out of it as soon as possible." We are entitled, therefore, like Elijah, to denounce the godless and the vicious as the enemies of society, as conspirators against the world's peace and prosperity. "The only common disturber of men, families, cities, kingdoms, worlds, is sin." It is one of the arguments for our holy religion that, sincerely practised, it ensures "the greatest possible happiness of the greatest possible number." It is the brand of Atheism that it brings trouble, uncleanness, selfishness, suffering, at its heels.

IV. The king endures the upbraiding of the prophet . To Elijah's "Thou art the man," he makes no reply. He is taxed with the ruin of his country, and is speechless. His courage has soon evaporated. He who would accuse Elijah cannot defend himself. Though anointed king, he is weak and helpless ( 2 Samuel 3:39 ), and owns his subject his superior. How soon have they changed places! Ahab has been hunting for the prophet's life, has been vowing vengeance upon him if found. Now he has found him, and he trembles before him And this because conscience has made him a coward. He knows in his inmost heart that Elijah has spoken the truth; that God is on his side; and he is afraid of him, just as Saul, giant and king though he was, was afraid of the stripling David. And men are still afraid of a true saint of God. They regard him with almost a superstitious dread. Sometimes it is fanaticism they fear; but sometimes it is the holiness which condemns their sinfulness ( Luke 5:8 ).

V. The king obeys the prophet ' s commands . Elijah might be king from the commands he issues. "Send and gather to me"—observe "to me"—"all Israel unto Mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal," etc. Did Ahab know why they were wanted? Did Elijah then tell him of the ordeal by fire? It is extremely improbable. It is probable that, though Ahab hoped for rain, still he anticipated no good to his or Jezebel's prophets from this meeting. He would have disobeyed this command if he dared. But he has found his master, and it is in the uncouth, untutored Gileadite. We are reminded of Herod and John, of Ambrose and Theodosius, of Savonarola and Lorenzo de' Medicis, of Mary of Scots and John Knox. At Elijah's bidding, his posts go throughout the land. The prophet has had a triumph already. Truth and the consciousness of right, and the rower of God's presence, have proved greater than sceptre and crown.

Be the first to react on this!

Scroll to Top

Group of Brands