1 Kings 18:1-6
And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, show yourself to Ahab…
For three years and six months the heavens were as brass. Throughout the summers the sun glared and flamed in a cloudless sky, and the temperature, even at night, never sank to the dew-point. Throughout the winters, if the temperature reached that point, the elements were so boisterous that no dew could settle upon the herbage, and the winds carried the aqueous vapour away to other lands. In the absence of dew and rain, vegetation, excepting only that near rivers or fringing streams fed from the deepest springs, was scorched and blasted. The mortality, therefore, amongst animals was frightful, and men suffered incredible things. The agony of distress had now risen to such a pitch that throughout the land there was one earnest, plaintive cry for life.
I. SOME CRIED FOR LIFE TO NATURE.
1. Such was the case with Ahab.
(1) He had worshipped Baal, the fire of nature. But Baal was now punishing his votaries. Such is the manner in which the "god of this world" repays his dupes.
(2) Yet did not Ahab repent of his folly. For, instead of seeking the living God, who was proving Himself the superior of Baal, he divides the land between himself and the governor of his house, to search for herbage.
(3) Note also the heartlessness of the idolater. He is more concerned for his stud than for his people. "Peradventure we may find grass to save the horses and mules alive, that we lose not all the beasts.'
2. He was a specimen of a class
(1) His queen was of the same way of thinking. She had been brought up to worship Baal. She had a masculine temper and swayed the mind of her husband.
(2) The courtiers and the majority of the nation, who thought more of court fashion than of the holy service of Jehovah, bowed the knee to Baal.
II. OTHERS CRIED FOR LIFE TO GOD.
1. Of this number was Elijah.
(1) He recognized God as above nature, when he announced that there would be a departure from the ordinary course of nature in the withholding of dew and rain for successive years. Still he recognizes this when he shows himself to Ahab, believing that God would now give rain (1 Kings 17:1; 1 Kings 18:1, 2).
(2) He recognized God as above nature before these assurances, for he received them in answer to faithful prayer (see James 5:17, 18). This is not mentioned in the history, but implied in his character as a man of God. Note: A man of God is a man of prayer.
2. Obadiah also was of this number.
(1) He "feared the Lord greatly." This arose from the strength of his faith. We cannot fear that in which we do not believe.
(2) His faith was fruitful in good works. He screened one hundred of the Lord's prophets from the violence of Jezebel, and sustained them. "Bread and water," like "daily bread" in the Lord's prayer, is an expression for things needful for the body. And in thus sheltering and nourishing the servants of God, Obadiah hazarded not only the loss of his situation, but also of his head.
(3) One who feared the Lord greatly after this fashion would pray to Him. Piety would move him to it. Patriotism also would move him at this juncture.
3. There were many more who cried to God.
(1) There were the "prophets of the Lord" preserved by Obadiah, and doubtless others also who escaped the vigilance of Jezebel. These would cry to God for life.
(2) And if there were so many prophets, or sons of the prophets, there would be a considerable number of devout persons in Israel notwithstanding the abounding apostasy (see 1 Kings 19:18). There is a great deal of goodness where men little expect to find it. God is the source of life, not only to the body, but also to the soul. Let us seek to Him for life. - J.A.M.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.