1 Kings 18:17-18
And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, Are you he that troubles 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.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?