1 Kings 18:1-19
Psalm 78:58-60; 79:5-8
“How long is this drought going to last, Lord?” I look up and ponder the morning sky. “How long will You remain patient with Ahab?”
Years ago, the Lord sent me to tell Ahab no rain or dew would fall until I give the command. (1 Kings 17:1) Dust is our constant companion, and Israel’s wicked king Ahab increasingly mocks Yahweh, our unchangingly jealous God, with all of his idols and other gods. (Exodus 34:14)
“Ahab has not budged in his behavior. How long will the wait be?”, I continue my pleading questions to the Lord. “You have proven Your strength with not a drop of moisture touching this land for over three years. Nonetheless, You have kept our oil and flour jars filled.”
I see the widow with whom I had been living look at me from the window. I smile her way, and she returns it with a warm one of her own. At first, I imagine she found my conversations with the Lord rather odd. I talk to Him as though He were sitting in the courtyard with me: out loud, with expression, and with pauses to listen for His response.
I think back to when I first arrived at her house and can barely contain a snort. Pretty sure my very presence has been stretching her from the beginning, when I arrived on the very day she was preparing a final meal for her starving son and herself before death overtook them.
Her emotions had spun like the ever-present dust devils on the day I arrived, and again when her son died and the Lord resurrected him. Her faith has grown significantly during the years I’ve been here.
Mine has, too. I think both of us expected the flour and oil to run out during the first few weeks of my stay. As the weeks turned to years, my trust in the Lord strengthened in ways I did not realize I needed. Each day, He has proven His faithfulness and His presence through my daily bread.
In fact, He has grown my faith so much I did not hesitate to ask Him to resurrect the widow’s son when he fell ill and died.
I look at the ground, kick the dust with my sandal, and chuckle. I am still a bit dumbfounded that her son is alive. I prayed, and the Lord, who loves the boy with surpassing depth and jealousy, did the miraculous.
Truthfully, being here with the widow has helped me as I wait for the Lord to direct my next steps. My confidence in the Lord answering my prayers has grown; leaning on Yahweh’s faithful provision with another believer, especially one who isn’t even Jewish, has been strengthening as well. Iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17), and the shared experiences of this season have spurred us both to trust the Lord increasingly.
“Go and present yourself to Ahab. I will send rain on the surface of the land.”
(1 Kings 18:1)
My head snapped up at the Lord’s command. It was time. After years of asking, the Lord had directed me again. Within the hour, my sandals were covered with dust as I journeyed towards Ahab.
I prayed as I traveled, asking the Lord to direct my steps and prepare me for all I would encounter.
The first person I met actually happened to be Obadiah, who himself was on a mission for Ahab. I told him to return to Ahab and announce I was coming. At first, Obadiah hesitated, knowing Ahab would kill him if I did not come as promised. However, he trusted the Lord was directing me and set out to tell Ahab the news. (1 Kings 18:7-16)
My voice turned aloud again, “Thank You, Lord, for reminding me that I am not alone on this path of obedience. Obadiah believes in You too, and he has had to live in the presence of all Ahab has been doing. Thank You for giving us both the strength to walk the paths You have prepared for us. Thank you for reminding us we are not alone.”
In the distance, I saw Ahab coming my way. “Here we go, Lord,” I mumbled.
When Ahab was within shouting distance, he called, “Is that you, the one ruining Israel?” (1 Kings 18:17) He laughed and arrogantly smiled at his entourage.
His manipulative response, classic Ahab, stirred a righteous anger within me and a confidence that could have only come from the Lord. Israel was the Lord’s and He would fight for her.
I commanded Ahab to gather all of Israel and prophets of Baal and Asherah. The Lord is a jealous God. If the lack of rain was not enough for Ahab to change his ways, my God would demonstrate His power another way. No other god could stand before Him. The lack of rain had not caught Israel’s attention. Perhaps a consuming fire would.
Sketched XI, Day 9
He is a consuming fire, and as Merriam Webster defines jealous: intolerant of unfaithfulness. He alone deserves all glory, praise, and loyalty; He rightly and righteously expects it. He is also the embodiment of love and is full of mercy and grace.
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