1 Kings 18:17-18 (NIV) 17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” 18 “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the LORD’s commands and have followed the Baals.
On verses 16-18: Ahab meets Elijah and contemptuously calls him “you troubler of Israel”. Ahab was blaming the famine on Elijah, thinking, “This famine is all your fault, all because you prayed.” Ahab failed to see that in fact the root cause of the famine was not Elijah, but rather Ahab and his family and their persistent disobedience toward God (v18).
What can we learn from this? Before you blame your problems on someone else, ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and examine your life to see if you have any role to play in the problem you are complaining about. Don’t play the blame game, but take ownership of your part in creating the problem.
1 Kings 18:29 (NIV) 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.
On verses 19-29: Here we see one of the most dramatic showdowns in the Bible. It’s between Elijah, the only prophet of the Lord left in Israel, versus 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah (Baal’s female counterpart), all supported by Queen Jezebel. With all of Israel watching, Elijah tells the Israelites to stop wavering in their faith, but to choose once and for all whether to follow the Lord or to follow Baal (v21). He asks for two bulls, lets the prophets of Baal choose one, slaughter it, and prepare it on the altar, while Elijah does the same, to see which god answers by fire when they call on his name (v22-24). The prophets of Baal call on Baal’s name all day and night but there is no response, no matter how loudly or long the prophets shouted and no matter how much they slashed themselves (v28-29).
What can we learn from this? No matter how much you sacrifice or how loudly you pray, if you are worshiping an idol, your faith will be of no use. When it comes to matters of faith and eternity, it’s not enough to sincerely believe. The object of your faith — that is, the thing you’re putting your faith in — must also be true and reliable. You can be 100% sincere and passionate in your belief, but if what you believe isn’t true or correct, still nothing will happen. Your experience will be like the prophets of Baal — “no one answered, no one paid attention” (v29). So if you’ve been praying for a long time without avail, you need to ask yourself, “What exactly am I putting my faith in?” Place your faith in the Lord. He alone is fully trustworthy and true.
Heavenly Father, may I not be quick to blame others for the problems I see around me, but may I be willing to take responsibility for the part I play. Thank You that my faith is in Someone who does answer, who does pay attention, and who hears my cry. That Someone is You, Jesus. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!