1 Kings 21
The fire blazed in the hearth as I sat with my brother, Elisha, whom the Lord had given me. He would take my place when my ministry to Israel ended. His friendship encouraged my heart as if the Lord Himself was walking beside me.
Following my runaway cave experience when I was nearly consumed by the black waves of depression, the Lord gave me the gift I didn’t know I needed, a brother in partnership for this ministry, Elisha.
We had just finished our evening meal together, swapping stories of the afternoon, laughing, and prodding for the other’s thoughts around Ahab’s latest ridiculous antics. Reflective quiet engulfed us for a few moments before Elisha broke, “It’s so frustrating!”. His comment was laced with disgust as he gripped his mug of water.
“Ahab saw the Lord’s fire on Carmel. He saw the Lord send rain. His own chariot wheels got stuck in the mud the Lord made!”, Elisha’s voice emboldened emphatically with each point. Elisha paused, and his burdened eyes wandered to the window, watching the movement of fellow Israelites preparing for evening.
I waited. I knew there was more he wanted to say.
“They are the ones who pay the heaviest price for Ahab’s rebellion”, he voice was thick with emotion as he jutted his head in the direction of our people outside our walls.
The truth of his words settled around us both.
True, God had proven Himself as
He had Revealed Himself to mere humanity and proven He would Sustain those who trusted Him.
But where was Yahweh’s justice?
The question eked into the corners of my heart despite my best attempts to thwart it. Inside, my flourishing faith fought against my doubt-soaked question that begged an answer.
My faith fought back my doubts with truths I had come to know.
“No, the Lord is good.
The Lord is faithful.
The Lord sees all.
The Lord knows all.
The Lord sees Ahab.
He will bring justice.
We just need to wait.”
“How long will we wait, Elijah?”, the question jolted me.
It was as if my brother had been made privy to the wrestling of my heart.
I caught his gaze, knowing the Lord desired truth in the inmost places (Psalm 51:6),
“I don’t know, Brother. But I know He’s worth waiting for.”
A child’s cries and mother’s call carried through the window, seeming to draw out our hearts even more with the ache for justice. Will the Lord hear their cries for mercy? Will the Lord save them from plunging headlong into greater rebellion as Ahab recklessly led them astray again and again?
In a moment, time seemed to freeze and my heart soared with the joy of intimacy and the trembled in awe as again I heard the voice of the Lord penetrate me through to my bones and marrow, “Get up and go to meet King Ahab of Israel, who is in Samaria. He’s in Naboth’s vineyard, where he has gone to take possession of it. Tell him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Have you murdered and also taken possession?’ Then tell him, ‘This is what the Lord says: In the place where the dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, the dogs will also lick up your blood!’” (1 Kings 21:18-19)
Just as quickly as it came, the Voice left. I looked up to see Elisha’s eyes locked intently on mine, “What has Yahweh said, Elijah?”, he queried.
“We are to go to Ahab. He will be in Naboth’s vineyard. He has murdered Naboth and stolen his vineyard.” I stood quickly, but the younger man was already ahead of me grabbing our water skins, packs, and walking sticks.
“What else, brother? Something else is inside you from the Lord, isn’t it?”. I was taken aback by Elisha’s sensitive awareness of the moving of the Lord. It was a good reminder to me of the Lord’s wise choice in providing Elisha as my successor. He would do well in listening and obeying the voice of the Lord. (1 Kings 19:19-21)
I gripped my staff more tightly and thrust myself through the door’s opening. It was no small matter to speak of the justice of Yahweh, especially regarding the death of the Lord’s appointed ruler.
“Ahab’s death is near”, I finally managed to speak after several minutes of heavy, silent walking.
Elisha’s arm stopped my forward momentum as he turned hard eyes on me,
“It will be dishonorable, won’t it?”.
I closed my eyes against the scene the Lord had given me of dog’s licking up Ahab’s blood. (1 Kings 21:19) He was intended to be Israel’s king, leading us to worship Yahweh, but instead his death would be a mockery just as his life had been.
The righteous justice of the Holy One of Israel was about to be carried out not only to Ahab, but also to his Queen Jezebel who had incited him to wholly devote himself to vile wickedness.
(1 Kings 21:23-25)
Our casual conversation over bread and meat earlier came rushing back with immediacy.
We both longed for justice.
But did we really understand that the Lord’s justice meant
recognizing we were all sinners? (Romans 3:23)
Every heart rebelled, including mine and Elisha’s.
No, not all of us murdered and thieved and led an entire nation astray as the royal couple had, but Elisha and I both knew our hearts were still tempted away from trusting the Lord. We still grew impetuous and angry, impatient for the Lord to carry out justice.
Warmth of understanding swept over me and I could not stop the tears racing down my cheeks,
“It is the kindness of the Lord to delay His justice, Elisha.
But the time for Ahab’s repentance is about to expire.”
The king lived as an enemy to Yahweh and his just punishment was nearly here.
The fact that the Lord’s Justice was coming, stirred up urgency in me to plead with all of Israel to turn back to the Lord while there was still time to repent. (Philippians 3:18-19, Romans 2:4)
I stepped forward with renewed urgency to follow the Lord’s word exactly as He had spoken it,
“Come, Elisha, let’s worship the Lord together
by obeying His commands
while it’s still called today.”
Sketched XI, Day 14
Sweet Sister, as a result of this, we have been given, not the promised land of Israel but a promised life with God! God's love lasts forever!!
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