King Ahab was used to giving orders, so when someone dared give him an order, he was stunned. Elijah, the prophet, unexpectedly appeared out of nowhere and stood before him. With unquestionable authority, Elijah announced, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1-7). Then as suddenly as he appeared, he was gone. Ahab was left asking, “What just happened and who was that?” Though Ahab probably did not know—that was God’s messenger with God’s message!
An ancient king of Israel named Ahab and his queen Jezebel were pretty impressed with themselves and their prosperity. Jezebel, a princess from Sidon, had brought her gods to the kingdom, and she was proud of them. Ahab readily endorsed them and encouraged the people to embrace them. The people bought the idea that one god is as good as another god (multiculturalism).
God directed the prophet to a remote ravine where he would have water to drink. He also sent ravens to him with bread and meat morning and evening (probably from Ahab’s table). What was behind Elijah’s bold actions? God was asking Ahab and the nation an important question, “Who is running this planet?” The people of Israel had always believed God sustained the universe, but lately, they had begun to doubt that. The introduction of new gods had appealed to them, so they had divided their alliance to God and compromised their faith.
Every people has to answer this question sooner or later. Over the last several decades, the media, actors, academics, scientists, politicians, and even religious leaders insist that God is not running the universe. For many, science, culture, sports, political ideology, and the religion of self, have become their gods. Their explanations and worldview deny the existence of the God of the Bible. They see Christians who believe in one God as utterly ridiculous, and the idea of biblical moral absolutes as laughable! They emphatically declare, “Our world does not depend on him, but on ourselves,” but like Ahab, sometimes, we have to be snapped back to reality.
Every once in a while, God inserts his power into our world in such a way as to disrupt our daily lives. Our usual routine and level of comfort abruptly vanish, and we wonder what happened. God uses these times to remind us that everything and everyone depends on him, whether we believe it or not. God can, in an instant, remove our protection, allowing our comforts to be stripped away so we can realize how weak and vulnerable we are without him. Just like it was for Ahab and Jezebel, things can go from bad to worse very quickly. What should be our response in times like these? Times when a virus of pandemic proportions is visiting our globe? When we as a planet have been paralyzed by the disease and the fear of the disease and economic disaster, what should we do? Solomon pointed us in this direction:
1 Kings 8:35-36 “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and when they pray toward this place and confess your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them, 36 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them the right way to live, and send rain on the land you gave your people for an inheritance.
2 Chronicles 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.