Ahab’s Legacy

Ahab, idolatry, sin No Comments

In I Kings 18:16-18, there is an interesting exchange beteween king Ahab and Elijah the prophet.  The prophet Obadiah arranged a meeting between the king and the prophet of God.  The Biblical record gives the details of the meeting.  “And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?  And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim.”
Ahab’s Misperception.
Ahab blammed Elijah for the drought and famine that Israel was suffering.  It had not rained for three plus years (I Kings 18:1).  The drought was the result of Elijah’s prayer for it not to rain and God’s power which, in answer to the prayer, shut up the heavens.  The lack of rain was punitive.  God chastened His people to bring them to repentance for idolatry.  Israel had sinned.
Elijah’s Accurate Perception.
Elijah was not the troubler of Israel.  He said, “I have not troubled Israel.”  The word “troubled” refers to alientation from God which results from a heinious crime or sin.  Sin always produces trouble!  Elijah states that “ye have forsaken…”  The “ye” is plural and refers to the people of Israel who were involved in idolatry (they worshipped Baal).  Their sin was collective (committed as a group).  Elijah also said, “…and thou hast followed Baal.”  The “thou” is singular and indicts the king personally.  Elijah demonstrates great courage to speak so boldly before the king.   Idolatry was a serious sin against God and broke the first two of the ten commandments.  The result was God’s punitive act in causing a drought and famine.
Nobel Tester stated, “It’s easier to get mad at the preacher than it is to get right with God.”  Ahab was angry with Elijah and instead of humbling his heart and turning to the LORD, he hardened his heart (I Kings 19:1).
Truth Prevails.
Elijah challenges Ahab to produce the false prophets of Baal in order to have a challenge.  The challenge involved the demonstration of immediate power to consume a sacrifice.  The odds in this challenge were 450 prophets of Baal to 1 prophet of God–Elijah.  The false prophets of Baal attempted to excite Baal to act, but to no avail.  Baal did not respond to their cries of desperation.  Elijah prayed to God and God immediately sent fire down and consumed the sacrifice (I Kings 18:37-38).  This dramatic demonstration persuaded many of the people of Israel to repent.  But, Ahab did not repent.  Elijah proved that there is only one, true, and living God.  Ahab continued to deny this fact.
Ahab’s Legacy.
In I Kings 21:25-26, the Bible records the legacy of Ahab.  “But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.  And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.”  Ahab left a legacy of wickedness.  The true “troubler” of Israel is now apparent before all.  Sin always produces trouble!