Is Evil Overwhelming You?

Can wickedness today get any worse?
King Ahab was Israel’s most wicked king.
I Kings 16:33 says, Thus Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him.
He became the standard of wickedness for all other kings afterward.

But tucked in the happenings of this most wicked king is chapter 17 of I Kings. 
It is a chapter devoted to a man who followed God in the midst of the greatest evil in Israel.
This is the first time Elijah is mentioned.
Yet his statement to King Ahab leaves no doubt Who he serves. 
“As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”

Ever make an evil man angry?
You better have a good place to hide!

Elijah made a most powerful, evil man angry.
God tells Elijah where to hide.
Not because God couldn't protect him where he was,
but because He had something greater to show Elijah.
God provides a stream and ravens to feed him.

We don’t hear how God groomed Elijah to bring him to this much trust.
Yet I doubt this was the first time Elijah heard and obeyed God’s Word.
People don’t normally control the weather without first trusting the God Who does the weather.

And God takes care of him.
First by the stream and ravens. 
Don’t you find that a paradox? That ravens give Elijah his food?
Ravens are responsible for stealing our food.
I put a bird feeder out during the ice storm last winter. 
A flock of starlings, chased all the other birds away, and emptied my bird feeder in one afternoon.
Ravens, bigger than starlings and more aggressive, aren’t known to share what they have. They take it all and then some.
But Elijah depended upon these ravens for his very existence!
Because God, Who told Elijah He’d take care of him, also controls the ravens.

Elijah watched the stream dry to a puddle then to cracked ground. 
Without water, birds and insects disappear. Ravens included.
He was after all in a drought—caused by his command.
But he stayed. 
Because God hadn’t told him to move.

Did you forget about the evil of King Ahab?
It’s still going on.
And getting worse.
Yet here is the obedient prophet who just obeys what God tells him to do.
And waits.
And eats.

Can you imagine how much time Elijah spent just talking to God? 
There was nothing else to do.
There was nothing greater to do.

Are you overwhelmed by the evil in the world?
Does it suffocate you? 
Keep doing what God tells you. 
Do the next thing.
Eat the next meal.

And be sure to thank God for it. 
It is a miracle, no matter how it comes.
And spend time with God.

Know what happened when Elijah did that?
God told him again where to go—to the widow of Sidon where He again provided for him.
Of course, Elijah had to be listening to hear God speak. And he was.

The widow of Sidon had enough flour and oil to make one more meal—not for herself, but for the man of God. 

I don’t think God filled her flour jar when she made the cake for Elijah first.
I think every time she went to her jar she had to scrap the jar to make Elijah’s cake, then she’d scrape the empty jar  to find just enough to make bread for her and her son. 
Every time was an act of trust to make Elijah’s cake first. 
To give when she didn’t know if there would be enough for her and her son.
Each time was a miracle from God.
Having Elijah living with her was a constant reminder of Who God was.

Do you think your obedience to God goes unnoticed?
Your obedience may be the life-line to keep someone else alive.

Did Elijah know that?
Probably not.
He just ate the next meal.
And thanked God for it.

When the widow’s son dies, she expresses in  her grief, her constant awareness of her unworthiness,
What do I have to do with you, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my iniquity to remembrance and to put my son to death!”

Elijah’s obedience showed the woman her iniquity.
Your light rebukes those around you.
By your kindness, they see their harshness.
By your confidence in God, they see their fear.
By your grace, they see their harshness.

Light exposes darkness.
It shows others their sin.
We're not the Holy Spirit to proclaim everyone’s sin, especially to those we live with.
But by living as God instructs, we rebuke them without saying a word.

Elijah and the widow with her son lived one meal at a time. 
Wonder why God just makes you wait?
You eat one meal. Then another. And another.
Life seems to be on hold.
Evil grows around you.
Elijah didn’t fight her for that bread. 
She offered.
Every time.

But she still didn’t accept God as her own.
Elijah raises her son from the dead.

Why did Elijah live there with the widow of Sidon?
Of course, he got his meals there.
But God was calling her, making her ready to hear Him.
Who is God calling to Himself because they are watching you?

Elijah just ate the meal.
When her son died, Elijah prayed for life.
He had never heard or seen anyone else come back from the dead.
He didn't have personal experience with this.
But he had a personal relationship with God, Who gives all life.
Elijah expected God to raise her son from the dead.
Because Elijah knew God.

What do we expect God to do?
Provide for the meal that we've already paid for?
Or work miracles because we are asking Him to provide?

When God raised the widow’s son, she said,
Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth. I Kings 17:24.

Elijah represented truth during the most evil time Israel’s king’s history.

The evil effected how Elijah lived—remember he was in hiding from the king.
But the evil did not change Elijah.

My husband has changed jobs several times in his career.
With one, because the evil started to affect him.
He had to compromise what he knew to be right.
His own peace was affected.
The evil was changing him.
It was time to move jobs.
God provided a different job.
Similar to Joseph, who left his robe in the hand of Potipher's wife.
He would not compromise or debate with evil.
Evil does not compromise.

My husband works with unbelievers. They do not always have integrity.
My husband can be mistreated without affecting his own peace.
In those cases, he shines God’s light and they are convicted.
They may harden their hearts and not change, but the evil did not affect my husband.
He continued to work there.
The evil, though around him, was not changing him.
See the difference?

We do not live in an isolated convent, free from evil. (Evil is also within us.)
That's why Jesus in John 17 prayed that we would be in the world but not of it.
Lot became of the world. The evil changed him and he didn't even know it.
We are to be lights to the lost, not dimmed by evil.
Elijah reflected the truth of the God he would stand before someday.
He did not waver when it was hard.
He just obeyed and trusted.
And one widow from Sidon and her son lived because of it.

You bet!
But God is greater than any evil.
Live like Elijah—who knew, Greater is He Who is in you, then he that is in the world. I John 4:4
Elijah's God worked miracles.
So does yours.
Know Him and thank Him for what He has done.

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I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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