Choices, choices, life has so many choices and decisions! We all have to make them and we all have to suffer (or be blessed by) the consequences of our decisions. As Solomon’s reign as King began to be established in 1 Kings 2:12-46, Solomon had to deal with men who had made choices about the way they would respond to him as King, and these men all had to face the consequences of their decisions. In many ways, the same applies to Jesus. When His Kingdom comes, all our choices (good or bad) will surely come into light.
The text of 1 Kings 2:1-11 is significant for so many reasons – especially because it recounts for us the death of King David. While David had been such an important figure in the life of God’s people, his death does not receive much attention, except his final words to his son and incoming King, Solomon. And then, he dies… but what of the legacy David left? Isn’t it Jesus Himself? The One who was greater than David? Truly David was great, but Jesus far greater!
The text of 1 Kings 1:11-53 tells us of the outcome of Adonjah’s bold and pride-filled push for the throne. When Nathan the prophet and Bathsheba broke the news to the dying old, King David, he acted swiftly, authorising the coronation of the rightful King, Solomon. There will always be those who push forward counterfeit kings and saviours. It has been the devil’s plan from the very beginning to do this, but there is only one true King that God wants us to serve as He says in Psalm 2:6 … and that King is His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The book of 1 Kings opens with the final days of King David and tracks the succession of Solomon to the throne. According to 1 Kings 1:1-10, not everything went smoothly – especially when Solomon’s brother, Adonijah, took it upon himself to take hold of the throne. We don’t need a king like Adonijah – one who acts out of pride and self-interest! We need a King who will put His people before Himself! But where would we find a King who would do that? Oh wait … according to Philippians 2:1-11, Jesus did just that didn’t He? What a King!
It’s hard to say what the prophet Elijah thought when God told him to anoint Elisha as his successor. It’s not an easy thing to find out that your work is done. But in 1 Kings 19:19-21, we have the record of the day when Elijah laid his cloak upon Elisha and called him into service of the Lord. Not all of us will have an experience like Elisha in this respect, but all of God’s people are called into the Lord’s service … the challenge before us all the time is to prove faithful to our high calling…
The onset of Elijah’s spiritual depression in 1 Kings 19:1-18 is well documented. From being on a spiritual high on Mt Carmel, Elijah very quickly was running for his life and yet praying that he might die. There were many kinds of factors involved in this, not the least being his sense of failure and being alone ‘the only one left’. On Mt Horeb (Sinai), Elijah met with God, but not in the way God appeared on Mt Carmel. This was different and this was designed to woo Elijah back into the Lord’s way and the knowledge of His presence, so that Elijah might continue to serve Him.
After the showdown on the top of Mt Carmel, the text of 1 Kings 18:41-46, tells us of Elijah’s prayers that broke the drought. Given that the drought had begun through the prayers of Elijah 3 years earlier, it is a helpful things for us to read of Elijah at prayer – even though we are not told what he prayed. The picture of Elijah at prayer stands in great contrast in this text to King Ahab who didn’t pray but ate. Compare the pair. Elijah and Ahab. But don’t stop at Elijah. See another – Jesus – whose prayers did more than end God’s judgement via the drought, but guaranteed the salvation of the people of God!
In 1 Kings 18:20-40, the rubber really ‘hits the road’. All that Elijah has been through in chapter 17 and all his interactions with King Ahab have been leading up to the showdown that these verses describe – fittingly, upon the top of a mountain (Carmel). Lots of important events happen on mountain tops in the Scriptures and this event is no less important in pointing us to the ‘Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29).
After the miracle of raising the widow of Zarephath’s son from death, Elijah was instructed by the Lord to go back and present himself to King Ahab. As the events unfold, the story then introduces us to one of Ahab’s servants, Obadiah, who turns out to be a faithful servant of the Lord also. In these verses of 1 Kings 18:1-19 which are just before the showdown on the top of Mount Carmel began, the story revolves around these three characters, Elijah, Ahab and Obadiah, and something that we from each of them about the state of their hearts… and ours too.
In 1 Kings 17:17-24, a further piece of a strange puzzle becomes clear for Elijah, even though for the widow with whom he was staying, this puzzle piece must have been quite a puzzle. After keeping Elijah and the widow and her son alive through God’s miraculous provision, the widow’s son suddenly died. This drove the woman to grief and to blame the Lord God of Israel that this was a form of punishment ‘for her sins’. However, this was not the case, and the miracle of the resurrection of her son (the first in the Bible) once more would prove God’s ways to be right and his servant a true man of God.