Applications from 1 Kings
This is one of the most exciting chapters in all of scripture. Soon we will read of Elijah going up against 450 prophets. In these verses Elijah meets Obadiah and then heads to meet up with Ahab. About 3 years after his first encounter with Ahab, Elijah is told by God to go back to him. God is going to send rain. Ahab and Obadiah are out in the land finding a place for animals to graze. We are told that Obadiah feared the Lord. Also, he hid 100 prophets from Jezebel in a cave.
While they are out Obadiah runs into Elijah. He explains to him that Ahab has been looking all over for him. Once Elijah promises not to leave he goes to get Ahab to meet him.
In this story there are 3 major characters: Ahab, Elijah, and Obadiah. There is an application from each.
Ahab. Consider Ahab’s actions here. First, Ahab is in the midst of a three year “sore famine”. Sore famine can be literally translated here as ‘had a firm hold on Samaria’. This is not just a dry season. This is a time calling for immediate extreme action. Next, Ahab decides to go out and sends Obadiah as well to try and find a place for the animals to graze and stay alive. To help better the situation Ahab decides to move animals to try and keep them alive. While I commend his efforts, I hope you see that he is just putting a band-aid on a wound that needs stitches. Finally, Ahab searches high and low for Elijah. Ahab’s mentality is that Elijah caused this and Elijah can fix it. (See v.17b)
What is Ahab trying to accomplish? It seems he is trying to fix the famine. Is he going about it correctly? No, instead he is doing everything but the one thing he needs to.
Ahab is keeping to the standard that he always has, the same the kings before him did. Let me try to fix this without using God. I know that all I have to do is repent, but I want to try my own way first. This is an old habit in Israel and it is hard for him to break.
Old habits are hard to break aren’t they? I am sure we all have one we wish we could break. We should strive to be careful when allowing ourselves to develop habits… especially in regards to spiritual matters. An entire nation is suffering drought and famine because King Ahab is just doing what he has always done.
Pastor Chanc Strickland
Harpeth Baptist Church
Kingston Springs, TN
This blog post was adapted from a sermon preached at Harpeth Baptist Church in the summer of 2012.