The best prophet to the worst king

The best prophet to the worst king

By the time King Ahab came to the throne in 1 Kings 16, the northern kingdom of Israel had been rebelling against God for many years. Ever since King Jeroboam set up golden calves and a new system of worship, king after king after king continued in their evil ways. King Omri was the worst of all; at least until his son Ahab became king.

Ahab was the worst king in a long line of terrible kings. Where Jeroboam set up golden calves and told the people this was the worship of the true God, Ahab imported the worship of Baal. The official religion was based around pagan temples, shrine prostitution, and calling on Baal and Asherah to provide rain and prosperity. Ahab even married a foreign princess who was a devoted worshipper of Baal.

If you were God, what would you do? I am sure you would wipe them all out. As the reader, we are amazed that God hasn’t deposed Ahab and removed his kingdom already. God has been incredibly patient in the face of increasing evil and rebellion.

What does God actually do? He sends the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 17:1). Elijah will become one of the greatest prophets in the entire Old Testament. Elijah performed miracles beyond anything seen since the days of Moses, and in some cases even greater things than Moses. God even raised the dead and stopped the rain through the ministry of Elijah. He would be taken into heaven in a fiery chariot and be used as an example by Jesus and James.

This means that God sent the best prophet to the worst king. That’s incredible. As the evil got worse, God turned up the volume and the pressure on Ahab and Israel.  God sent Elijah not to the more godly southern kingdom of Judah but to the thoroughly evil northern kingdom of Israel. He would later send Elisha to continue this work as well.

God is far more gracious than we are. He cares even for people caught in terrible sin. And that includes you and me. We have never done so many bad things that God abandons us; we always get chances to come back. He delays judgement and offers grace. Jesus came to save sinners, not good people; whatever you have done, Jesus’ sacrifice is enough to pay for all your sins. All you need to do is repent and believe. What a wonderful truth that is!

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