Reading parts of Kings can feel like listening to a broken and pessimistic record: ‘[insert king’s name] did what was evil in the sight of the LORD’. Israel and its kings have not done a good job keeping a clean sheet.
Amid this backdrop, we first encounter the prophet Elijah who performs miracles and stands in defiant opposition against Ahab and Jezebel in the name of the one and true God. God gives him the victory over 450 priests of Baal by sending fire in a competitive entreating of gods, leading to their slaughter (a particularly gruesome story).
Such a victory might have put anyone in good spirits, but Elijah finds himself running into the wilderness for his life, exhausted and asking that he might die. I wonder what Elijah must have been thinking: ‘Why doesn’t God just dispense with Ahab and Jezebel too? If He has such power and might, why am I still being hunted down by my enemies?’
Though God doesn’t necessarily answer such questions, He does demonstrate His grace, love and compassion by showing holistic care—especially physically, providing greatly needed food and sleep. And instead of meeting Elijah in an extravagant show of power (i.e. great wind, earthquake, fire), He speaks in a ‘gentle whisper / still, small voice / sheer silence’ (1 Kings 19.12; depending on the translation).
That quietness won’t be the case at the end of the age. In Revelation, we’re told that the rider on a white horse, the Word of God (19.13), the “King of kings and Lord of lords” (19.16), aka Jesus, will come accompanied by loud rejoicing in heaven and vanquish the beast and its armies. The enemy is helpless against Him. The same God who speaks gently to us as His children is the same God whose power is unmatchable and whose victory is ultimate!
- Have there been times in your life when God has given you immense victory over what seemed impossible?
- Have you encountered God more in big, dramatic ways, or small, quiet ways?
- When you find yourself in a hopeless situation, how can remembering that Jesus has the final and ultimate victory help?