1 Kings 17:1 (New Living Translation)
Now Elijah, who was from Tishbe in Gilead, told King Ahab, “As surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives — the God I serve — there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word!”
It was during the reign of Solomon’s son Rehoboam that Israel split into two separate kingdoms. While Rehoboam remained the king of Judah in the south, Jeroboam became king of Israel in the north. 1 Kings 13:33 tells us that Jeroboam’s way were evil. After his death, Jeroboam’s son Nadab became king, and “he did evil in the eyes of the Lord” (1 Kings 15:26). Nadab was assassinated by Baasha, who killed all of Jeroboam’s descendants and who — yet again — “did evil in the eyes of the Lord” (15:34). Baasha’s son Elah reigned until he was assassinated by Zimri. Zimri’s reign lasted a whopping seven days, in which he killed all of Baasha’s family. Zimri died in a fire during an attack by the next king, Omri, who “did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, even more than any of the kings before him” (16:25).
Anyone else depressed yet?
But, alas, we’re not done. After Omri’s death, his son Ahab took the throne of Israel. He was even worse than his predecessors: “He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, even more than any of the kings before him” (16:30). And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, he also brought with him to the leadership of the kingdom one of the most reviled women in scripture: Jezebel.
It is into these desolate circumstances that a surprising character enters: the prophet Elijah. After a long, detailed genealogical list of kings, Elijah appears with no fanfare. He’s just there. But this unknown, obscure man boldly confronts the most fearsome couple of his time.
How does he manage to do this? This prophet from an unheard-of town in Gilead, without a pedigree of tribe or ancestors — how does he dare speak words of censure to a ruthless, powerful king and his influential wife?
It’s in his name that we have a great clue to the source of his courage. In Hebrew, Elijah means “the Lord is my God.” Elijah faces down Ahab and Jezebel, not on his own strength, but filled with the strength of God.
What have you faced in your life that you cannot imagine having faced without God’s support and strength?