A Good Man in a Hard Place
God's servants are found in some of the most surprising places.
God's servants are found in some of the most surprising places. Elijah served in a very dark time in the history of God's people. King Ahab and his wife Jezebel were in charge. They were worshippers of a god named Baal. This was a violent and degraded religion with everything from temple prostitutes to child sacrifice. The fiery prophet Elijah appeared out of nowhere and confronted the king on behalf of God. He announced there'd be no rain or dew in the land except by his word.
Then Elijah just disappeared. He vanished into thin air and took the rain with him. Just like that, the weather report in Israel was the same every day—clear skies, lots of sunshine, not a cloud in sight, stifling heat. Meanwhile, God sent Elijah far away into the mountains east of the Jordan River. For a while he drank from a trickling brook and was fed by, of all things, ravens. Then the brook dried up and God sent him to a town called Zarephath to be provided for by a poor widow. This was outside of Israel in the heartland of Baal worship, where Jezebel was from. What a strange place for God to send his prophet!
All this time, Ahab was scouring the nation looking for Elijah. I'm sure the first few months weren't so bad. You could still find a little water if you knew where to look. But as the days passed, the reports came in—fields turning brown, soil becoming cracked and hard, no crops, emaciated donkeys and cows. Slowly the storehouses emptied and people began to starve. The king had to do something! He stopped at nothing to find Elijah. He even sent soldiers on a manhunt to the surrounding nations. He never thought to look in Zarephath.
Then, finally, the word of the Lord cam again to Elijah: "After a long time, in the third ...
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Mark Mitchell is pastor of Central Peninsula Church in Foster City, California.