God knew, Elijah knew, and we all know reading today just why Ahab’s Kingdom was in such trouble. We know the cause of the judgment and drought was the sin of Ahab and Jezebel and the people’s willingness to follow happily along into that sin. Even Ahab knew in his heart of hearts exactly where the problem lay. He had to have understood how God’s Covenant with the people and His promises for blessings upon them was a conditional one; God’s blessings were promised in return for their obedience. No obedience meant no blessings; in fact lack obedience meant the withholding of blessings and judgment.
But, nonetheless, it is interesting how Ahab reacted upon meeting Elijah after these three long years; Art thou he that troubleth Israel? He might as well said; “Well, here you are, the guy that caused all of this trouble!” It is simply a case of the person who does not like the message blaming the messenger for it. This is not unusual at all, as the messengers of God have often been accused of being trouble makers, and even the cause of troubles facing those who are in trouble. Our Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul knew much of this, being accused of causing trouble themselves:
Luke 23:5 And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place.
Acts 16:20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,
Acts 17:6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;
Note Elijah’s response. Quickly and with no hedging whatsoever, the Prophet quickly pointed the finger in the other direction. He quickly established that this issue was between God and Ahab, not between Elijah and Ahab. It was the sin and disobedience of the people which had brought judgment on the people, not the messenger.
So, what’s new today? Nothing! In fact, this is simply what we see all of the time, even today; any one who actually has the audacity to stand and boldly proclaim the Gospel message will be vilified and blamed. The focus becomes the messenger rather than the message. Nothing has changed, and today resembles nothing but a clone of that day.
How do we deal with this? Elijah has taught us how, we need only read the story.
Elijah did what he was called to do. Even when it can’t have been pleasant, Elijah complied. Anyone ever live alone in the desert for a year?
Elijah was willing to show compassion and minister to whoever he was called to serve. Two years with a Gentile widow, in enemy territory? Who are we willing to reach out to?
Finally, Elijah never backed down. When accused of being the cause of trouble, Elijah properly focused on his message and not himself. He could have said, “Oh King, why are you picking on me?” but, he did not. He forgot himself and what was happening and put the message from God right back on the table.
Do we want to see change in ourselves, our families, our churches, and our nation? We must do what God calls us to do, serve who He directs us to serve, and ultimately make a bold stand with the message of the Gospel.