1 Kings 18:17
When Ahab saw Elijah, he said to him, "Is that you, O troubler of Israel?"
Sermons
Ahab, Obadiah, and ElijahJ. Parker, D. D.1 Kings 18:1-18
Elijah and the Prophets of BaalE. De Pressense 1 Kings 18:1-46
The Source of a Sinner's TroubleL. A. Banks, D. D.1 Kings 18:17-18
The TroublerJ.A. Macdonald 1 Kings 18:17, 18
Deliverance from the Mouth of the LionF. W. Krummacher, D. D.1 Kings 18:17-20
Elijah Meeting AhabMonday Club Sermons1 Kings 18:17-20
Elijah, who during the terrible drought was con-coaled, now, at the word of the Lord, came forth to show himself to Ahab, as God was about to give rain. What a meeting! One of the worst of kings with one of the noblest of prophets. What confrontings will there be in the great day of judgment l Here each charges the other with being the troubler of Israel. Observe, then -

I. THAT THE WICKED SEEK TO MALIGN THE GOOD.

1. Ahab accused Elijah.

(1) He assumed that all the horrors of the famine were the work of the prophet, and therefore sought to slay him. How many precious lives, in all ages, have been sacrificed to the theories of tyrants.

(2) This persecutor was terribly in earnest. He sought the prophet in Israel Then in neighbouring kingdoms. He even took an oath of the kingdoms that they did not shelter him. It were well for the world if men were as earnest in good as they are in evil.

(3) But God can hide His servants from the fury of their adversaries. In the solitudes of Cherith In the stir of Zarephath.

(4) Now Ahab accuses the prophet to his face. But see how his courage cools in the presence of the man of God. He frames his accusation mildly in the form of a question, "Art thou he that troubleth Israel?" Conscience makes tyrants tremble.

2. He found a pretext.

(1) Theorists can easily find pretexts for tyranny. Ahab seized upon Elijah's words (1 Kings 17:1), and drew his own inference.

(2) As these words were verified to the letter, the tyrant saw, or affected to see, his theory confirmed. This kind of reasoning is very common.

(3) Why did he not accuse God? Elijah acted as the servant of God. He feared to do this in form, though he did it in fact (see Proverbs 14:81; Matthew 10:40-42; Matthew 25:40, etc.; Acts 5:89; 9:1-15; Hebrews 6:10).

3. He had a motive.

(1) Why did not Ahab accuse himself? His conscience no doubt did this for him.

(2) But he could not afford publicly to bear the odium of having brought the miseries of the famine upon his people.

(3) Therefore he shifts the responsibility on to the shoulders of the prophet. How essentially does the spirit of the lie enter into all sin!

II. TRUTH COMES HOME IN DUE TIME.

1. Goodness will be vindicated.

(1) It may suffer long under the reproaches of liars. This is permitted because God is long suffering. He makes the trial a blessing to" those who are exercised thereby."

(2) But God is jealous for His servants. Therefore the triumphing of the wicked is but for a season. If the vindication takes not place in this world it certainly will in the next.

(3) Elijah had his opportunity. He repudiated the imputation of Ahab. Good men are true patriots. The trial on Carmel settled the question.

2. Sin will be shamed.

(1) Let it only be brought home, and it will cover the sinner with confusion.

(2) "Thou and thy father's house" have troubled Israel "in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord." Complicity in the sin of Jeroboam is specified here. This sin was a breach of the first and second commandments of the decalogue. It was also a forsaking of the Levitical law, which prescribed ceremonies that were but parodied in Ephraim. This offence was carried to its height in the statutes of the house of Ahab which were those of Omri (see Micah 6:16).

(3) "And thou hast followed Baalim." This was a sin introduced by Ahab himself, no doubt prompted by Jezebel The way of error is from bad to worse. Sin is the troubler of humanity. It invaded the tranquillity of Eden and broke it up. It brought down judgments of God upon individuals and communities. Upon Cain. Upon the antediluvians. Upon the cities of the plain. Upon Israel It has provoked wars, in whose wake came pestilences and famines. It troubles the abyss of hell. - J.A.M.







Art thou he that troubleth Israel?
Our theme lies in this controversy between Ahab and Elijah as to the cause of the trouble which had come upon Israel. Ahab accused the prophet of being the cause of the trouble, while of course Elijah had nothing to do with it. He was simply God's messenger. It is a very common thing for a man who has been brought into trouble by his sin to find fault with Providence and with his neighbours and his relatives, or with anybody who points out his iniquity. He feels that some one else is to blame rather than himself. But Elijah lays his finger on the root of the difficulty. Sin is always a source of trouble to the sinner. Ahab's greatest enemy was in his own heart and in his own house. Seragastio, a servant in one of Plautus' comedies, asking another, "How doth the town seem to be fortified?" the answer given was this: "If the inhabitants be well governed and good, I think it will be well fortified;" and then, reckoning up many vices, he concludes, "Unless these be absent, a hundred walls are but little enough for the preservation of it." And the history of the world shows us that that is a true representation of the destructive nature of sin in a nation. It will level the walls of the strongest governments. No nation is great enough to stand if it is honeycombed with sin in the hearts of its people. Sin is the great troubler in the individual soul. It was after Adam and Eve had broken the law of God that they were troubled, the first trouble they had ever known, and they tried to hide themselves among the trees of the garden so that God would not see them. Here is a young man who has fallen into the habit of strong drink and has lost his self-mastery, and he comes home drunk to his mother. Oh, the trouble that comes from such a sin. Oh, sin is the great troubler. But do not imagine that this sin or other outbreaking disgraceful sins that are easily detected are the only ones that give trouble to people. Disobedience to God is sin, and if we fail to keep God's commandments, it does not matter which one, it will get us into trouble, and if unrepented of and unforgiven, into terrible and eternal trouble. Beware of being self-deceived. Sometimes the foulest sins are cherished underneath what appears a very respectable exterior. I have seen somewhere the story of Sir Francis Drake, that after he had made his long sailing journey around the world and had returned to London he was one day in a boat upon the River Thames in a very rough tide when it seemed almost certain that they would be capsized. The famous traveller exclaimed, "What! have I escaped the violence of the sea and must now be drowned in a ditch?" And a man may drown in a ditch quite as easily as in the ocean. And many a one who has escaped vulgar, disgraceful sins that bring men into shame has been led away from God and finally kept from God by secret lusts and hidden selfishness and evil desires that prevented him from obeying God and keeping His commandments. Let us not forget that what we may esteem a little sin has the power to open the door of the heart to sins of which at first we would not dream of being guilty. The historian tells us that when Pompey could not prevail with the city to admit his army he persuaded them to admit a few weak, wounded soldiers. But these soon recovered their strength and opened the gates to the whole army. Thus it is that the devil persuades us to admit some small sin and soon gains the whole heart.

(L. A. Banks, D. D.)

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