May 12. Ahab Becomes King of Israel; God Sends Elijah

I Kin. 16:29-17:7

About three years before the death of Asa in Judah, Ahab followed his father Omri to the throne of Israel. Each succeeding king from Jeroboam became move evil than his predecessor. Ahab married Jezebel, the daughter of the Sidonian king. She was a wicked woman. He set up an altar for the god, Baal in the temple of Baal and also made a wooden image of the god. That was a blatant disregard of the commandment to refrain from setting up a god before the true God. The Canaanites put great faith in the god, Baal because they thought that he blessed them with rain. Ahab also allowed the city of Jericho to be rebuilt in direct disregard to the warning of dire consequences by Joshua.

In response to Ahab’s grievous sins, God sent the prophet Elijah, who was also a resident of Gilead in Israel to deliver an important message from Him. “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.” That was a direct challenge to the power (or lack thereof) of their rain god, Baal.

A devastating drought would come upon the land, but God would care for Elijah. He commanded him to retreat to the Brook Cherith where he would have water and would be fed by the ravens. That arrangement continued until the brook dried up because of the lack of rain.