When the prophet Elijah met with Ahab, there is an exchange that speaks volumes. Ahab says to Elijah, “So, my enemy, you have found me!” He is called an enemy. Elijah an enemy? He is a prophet of the Lord. He was used by God to raise someone from the dead. He predicted a drought. He is used by God to confront the prophets of Baal when God reigned down fire. God spoke to him outside a cave with a low whisper. Elijah is taken up to heaven with chariots of fire and horses of fire. Elijah an enemy?!?
The word Ahab spoke—enemy—in Hebrew means adversary, enemy, and foe. Why did Ahab use this word? Why did Ahab see Elijah as an enemy? Look at Elijah’s response; it says a lot. He said, “I have come because you have sold yourself to what is evil in the LORD’s sight.” Truth. Elijah spoke truth. That is what made him an enemy. Evil hates truth.
When we boldly stand for the truth, we will find ourselves to be seen as the enemy. It doesn’t mean we are in the wrong, but that we are shining a light—the Light—in a dark world, a world that hates the light. John 3:19-20 states: “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed” [ESV].
“’So, my enemy, you have found me!’ Ahab exclaimed to Elijah. ‘Yes,’ Elijah answered, ‘I have come because you have sold yourself to what is evil in the LORD’s sight.’” – 1 Kings 21:20 [NLT]
[Matthew 17:1-13, Mark 9:2-13, Luke 9:28-36]
Chronologically in the Bible, before the Transfiguration, we read that Peter recognizes Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16b NIV). After Peter’s identification of Jesus as the Christ, we read about the prophecy of the church – the well-known statement, “you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church.” Following this prophecy, Jesus speaks to the disciples about the crucifixion and resurrection. Then Jesus, with the Three, headed up to a high mountain.
The Three were Peter, James, and John. They were the first to hear the call of Jesus (Mark 1:16-19). They were present during the healing of the daughter of Jairus, though the others were excluded (Luke 8:51). The Three were invited to come along with Jesus when He went to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Matthew 26:30-46, Mark 14:26-42, Luke 22:39-46).
High mountains are associated with closeness to God and a readiness to receive His Word. We do not know the exact mountain where the Transfiguration occurred; however, many scholars believe it might have been Mount Hermon. We read about God directing Moses to go up a mountain (Mount Sinai) for Him to give Him the Law (Exodus 24:12-18). We read about Elijah going to Mount Horeb where He encounters the presence of God (1 Kings 19:8-18).
God’s voice echoes the same words on the mountain as spoken during the baptism of Jesus. “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17 NIV). “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” (Matthew 17:5 NIV).
1) What is Peter’s focus when Moses and Elijah join Jesus?
2) When we see the glory of God, what should be our response?
3) What do Moses and Elijah represent?
4) Is John the Baptist Elijah?
5) Why did Jesus tell the disciples not to tell anyone about what they saw?
Exiting the Cave Basic Review of 1 Kings 17-18 Main Passage 1 Kings 19
- There’s a great and strong wind.
- There’s an
- There’s a fire.
- There is the sound of a low whisper – a still small voice.
How do you recognize God’s presence? Desire the Presence of God “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” – James 4:8 [ESV] “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and He with Me.” – Revelation 3:20 [ESV] Desire to Know God To recognize God, you should know Who He is “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” – Hosea 6:6 [ESV] God wants you to know Him and to love Him – that’s a RELATIONSHIP Desire Leads to Readiness “Be still, and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10a [ESV] You cannot predict how God will be present from past experiences. Each moment is we should be ready for Him with great expectation but not by placing Him in some prepackaged box. If you box Him in, you’ll miss Him. Desire More of Him & Less of You “Why climb the mountains or go down into the valleys of the world looking for Him Who dwells within us?” – Augustine If you believe in Jesus Christ and are baptized and receive the Holy Spirit it means that God dwells within. That means the Spirit of God dwells within you. You don’t have to ask for the Holy Spirit once you have obtained – you simply ask “More of You, less of me.” Each day. Every day. Listen. The Holy Spirit will help you, comfort you, remind you, teach you, empower you, assure you, strengthen you….
Elijah came on the scene with no introduction and announced the Word of God. He told the people there would be no rain, upholding what was said in Deuteronomy 28:24 for those in disobedience. Ravens brought him food and when the brook dried up, he went to the widow of Zarephath and God provided.
Elijah then had a showdown with the prophets of Baal. As Elijah watched, the prophets could not get Baal to produce fire. Elijah poured 12 jars of water in a trench and God produced fire that drank up all of the water and burned the surrounding stones. It was an amazing display of God’s power, but then Elijah ran in fear and hid himself in a cave.
God approached Elijah and asked him – What are you doing here? There was incredible wind, an earthquake and fire but God was not in any of them. Then came a gentle whisper. Elijah was reminded of God’s greatness. There are moments when we need to be reminded of God’s greatness – when fear and doubt creep in and try to discourage us. Today, ask yourself how great is our God? How great is our God! Step out of the cave.
“When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” – 1 Kings 19:13 [NIV]
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were in prison singing hymns. An earthquake opened the prison doors but the prisoners stayed. Free to stay. Why? Why didn’t they run? They were bringing Hope.
The jailer woke up from the earthquake and saw all the doors of the prison open. He immediately decided to kill himself because he would have been killed anyway for allowing the prisoners to escape. He felt hopeless. This reminds me of Elijah and the hopeless woman and her son. Do you remember she wanted to eat the food she had left and then die? In 1 Kings 17, you find this widow of Zarephath feeling hopeless, just as this jailer. Elijah was bringing Hope.
In both cases, this sense of hopelessness was met with the presence of God. Paul and the others stayed. The jailer asked what to do to be saved. He and his household were saved. The widow and her son never ran out of oil. What was once hopeless was no longer. The jailer was then “filled with joy” (v. 34). From hopeless to joy—you can have that too!
“The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped… He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’” – Acts 16:27, 30 [NIV]
Micaiah prophesies against Ahab. Whenever the king of Israel consulted with him, it was always trouble. Nothing but trouble. Ahab did not like to hear what Micaiah would say—all this trouble. The problem was the way he was living was the reason for the trouble.
Ahab did not like to hear the truth. It was clear to see that because Ahab was not following the ways of the Lord, he was facing these troubles. Nonetheless, Ahab felt that he could get better news delivered from someone else. You’ve heard the statement – “You can’t handle the truth.” Well Ahab couldn’t. It meant that life wasn’t all about him. It meant change. It meant sacrifice.
Today are you in the same denial? Do you avoid certain people because they speak truth?
“’Didn’t I tell you?’ the king of Israel exclaimed to Jehoshaphat. ‘He never prophesies anything but trouble for me.’” – 1 Kings 22:18 [NLT]
Remember the gold calves that were created? Jeroboam made two gold calves and said it was “too much trouble” for them to go to Jerusalem to worship. The gold calves he said were to represent “the gods who brought you out of Egypt.” He wanted the people to believe they could worship these two gold calves rather than travel to Jerusalem and worship the one true God. It was a shorter trip.
But the gold calves were not about God at all. If you read the text, he was not making these two gold calves to save them a longer trip to worship in Jerusalem. The king was fearful about both his position and his life. God was not first in his life—he was first. He feared that if the people would go to Jerusalem to worship they would return to King Rehoboam and they would eventually kill him as well.
There are moments in our lives when we make gold calves. We have a great excuse for them—and our reasoning makes it sound legitimate. But often, if we evaluate things closer, if we strip down the pieces, we find that there is something else at the surface. Today, look at your own life. Are there any gold calves lying around?
“So on the advice of his counselors, the king made two gold calves. He said to the people, ‘It is too much trouble for you to worship in Jerusalem. Look, Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of Egypt!’” – 1 Kings 12:28 [NLT]
One of my favorite books of the Bible is 1 Kings. Not so long ago I was led to make a Bible study for the book and it was a great journey through God’s Word. We are introduced to Elijah in 1 Kings and we see a lot unfold. From the moment he is on the scene, we are not provided much of an introduction into his life, but we slowly see this picture of Elijah revealed through the drought, the time with the widow, and the magnificent display by God at Mount Carmel.
Now Ahab describes Elijah differently than most of us would. He called him a “troublemaker.” A troublemaker. Most of us would not call Elijah a troublemaker. He was following God’s commands. He was anything but a troublemaker. But to Ahab he was a troublemaker because Ahab was not following God’s commands. What Elijah was doing was causing trouble for Ahab and his evil ways.
In the same way, people might see Christians as troublemakers. We stand firm and uphold the Word of God but that goes against what society desires. The world wants what the world wants. So you might be called a “troublemaker.” Just remember that there are two types of troublemakers. There are troublemakers who are simply standing firm on God’s Word so they appear as the disorder amidst the world. Then there are the troublemakers who are against God’s Word and are living a life filled with evil. Ahab saw Elijah as a troublemaker. We see Ahab as a troublemaker. The difference is—one is following God’s Word and the other is not. Where do you fall?
“When Ahab saw him, he exclaimed, ‘So, is it really you, you troublemaker of Israel?’” – 1 Kings 18:17 [NLT]