Introduction: This week we get back to some people you probably have
heard about before: Ahab, Elijah, and Jezabel. Before we get to them,
let’s run a quick historical line from the end of last week’s lesson.
Baasha was king of Israel (the ten tribes in the north). He died, his
son Elah took over. Elah was killed by Zimri, a palace official who
was in charge of chariots. Zimri was king for a week, and then the
army revolted. The army commander, Omri, became king. Omri’s son was
Ahab. Let’s jump into our study this week!
- Bad Blood
- 1 Kings 16 tells us that Israel’s kings, from Baasha to
Omri, all did evil in God’s eyes by worshiping false gods.
Let’s read the footnote to Omri’s life in 1 Kings 16:25-26. Omri was the worst so far. Does that surprise you? Is
sin progressive among generations?
- Notice the statement in verse 26 that he “caused
Israel to commit” sin. Do you think this means he
literally forced his subjects to sin? Or, did he
cause them to sin because of his influence?
- If you are a parent, what kind of influence do you
have on your children? How about your influence on
co-workers? Your neighbors?
- What kind of impact does our culture have on us? Our
children? The church?
- Do we invite an evil cultural influence by the
movies and television we watch?
- Or, can we just watch these things, know they
are not real, and therefore not be influenced by
them? (I think everything we see and hear has
some influence on us.)
- Read 1 Kings 16:29-31. The Bible tells us that Ahab,
Omri’s son, was the worst of the kings. Is this his fault?
Look at the “bad blood” he inherited. Look at the long
line of evil kings before him. Did he have a chance?
- We studied Jeroboam and his fall. How do Ahab and
Jeroboam compare in the sin department? (Jeroboam’s
sins were trivial compared to those of Ahab.)
- Continue looking at 1 Kings 16:31. How do you understand
verse 31? Is part of the evil of King Ahab that he
- We discussed the influence of parents and the
influence of the culture. How much influence can a
spouse have on your faith?
- Can you find a clue in verse 31 about the
relationship between Baal worship and Jezebel? (Did
you notice the name of Jezebel’s father? His name has
“Baal” in it. According to Jamieson, Fausset and
Brown, her father murdered the King of Tyre, and then
took his throne. Her father was also the priest of
Ashtaroth. “Baal” is Hebrew for “lord” or “master.”
Thus, it can refer to one of several false gods. The
“Baal of Tyre,” according to Wycliffe, is Melkarth,
the Tyrians’ chief god. Wycliffe tells us Jezebel
was the chief priestess of the Tyrian Baal. Thus,
Jezebel was directly connected as a leader in the
introduction of the worship of Baal to Israel.)
- We noticed previously that Ahab, according to verse
31, “considered it trivial to commit the sins of
Jeroboam.” What do you think this means? Does it
mean Ahab didn’t care that he sinned? Does it mean
that Ahab’s sins were much greater than those of
Jeroboam? Does it mean that Ahab intentionally
“sinned big – he wasn’t satisfied with trivial sin?”
- Read 1 Kings 16:32-33. Can we make God mad? Can we provoke
- Does this create a different picture of God than you
are used to seeing?
- Is “provoking” God the same as making Him “mad?”
(You can provoke someone without the victim
- Is it a good thing for us to consider whether our
actions might actually make God mad? That we can
- Have you ever considered how your sin affects
God — as opposed to considering only how it
- Read Deuteronomy 11:16-17. Ahab should have
known a drought was coming! What is the modern-day equivalent of worshiping false gods?
- What is the modern-day equivalent (for those who
are not farmers)of no rain?
- Or, is the idea of making God mad an “Old
Testament” idea that is not relevant
- Read Mark 3:4-5. Who is angry here?
- Is God’s anger really distress over our
- Read 1 Kings 17:1. How would you like the assignment from
God to go condemn Ahab?
- Notice that Elijah says no rain “except at my word.”
He doesn’t say “except at God’s word.” Is Elijah
getting carried away? What kind of attitude does this
show on his part? Should we conclude Elijah likes
- Do you think giving Ahab this message is dangerous?
(Read 1 Kings 18:7-9. This is after three years of
drought. Obadiah was in charge of the palace (18:3)
and probably knew Ahab very well. He was frightened
to give Ahab the news that he had met Elijah and knew
where he was. If just mentioning the guy’s name and
his last whereabouts is dangerous, imagine how
dangerous it is to be the guy!)
- Read 1 Kings 18:1. If you thought the first warning was
dangerous, how would you like this assignment after three
years of punishment? (We know from what we just learned
from Obadiah that this was very dangerous.)
- Is it possible that Ahab has forgotten about Elijah? Was
Obadiah just concerned about reminding Ahab about Elijah?
(Read 1 Kings 18:10-11. Ahab has searched the ends of the
world for Elijah. I doubt he was looking for him to wish
him a nice day.)
- Why do you think he wanted to find Elijah? Was it to
beg him to send rain? (No, I think Ahab thought that
if he killed Elijah, that would be the end of the
- Read 1 Kings 18:16-18. Let’s continue with our assumption
that this is dangerous for Elijah. What is Elijah’s
attitude towards Ahab? Does he sound frightened?
- What is Ahab’s attitude? Does it seem that Ahab has
learned his lesson? (It seems neither of them is
giving an inch. Elijah shows no fear. Interestingly,
Elijah mentions Ahab’s father as part of the
- Showdown at Mt. Carmel
- Read 1 Kings 18:19-20. Why would Ahab agree to assemble
his false prophets? Does this show that he really
believed in them?
- How could he believe in them when they had been
unable to bring rain in the past three years?
- Is Ahab just desparate?
- Why would God waste His time with Ahab? Wasn’t Ahab
- Read 1 Kings 18:21. Is this the reason why God was
“wasting” His time with Ahab? (Yes. God wanted to show the
people who was the true God.)
- What is the spiritual condition of the people?
- Were they really uncertain about who was the
- Why do you think they “said nothing?” How could
they say nothing when there had been no rain,
just as Elijah had said, for three years? (They
obviously had a “wait and see” attitude.)
- Let’s step back a minute. Do you think God withheld
the rain to punish Ahab, or to get the attention of
- Is this a question we should at least ask when
something unpleasant happens in our life?
- You probably already know the story about Elijah and the
fire. If you do not, then read 1 Kings 18:22-41. For
those who know the story, let’s just review some
highlights. Read 1 Kings 18:27. Why does Elijah taunt the
prophets of Baal? Does this show the same attitude we saw
in Elijah when he said no rain “except at my word?”
- Should we taunt those who lead in false worship
- Unbelievers often have a “superiority” attitude
towards Christians. I read an article in the
Washington Post in the last couple of years which
said that Christians are generally of low education
and easily led. This was a taunt. Should we learn
from Elijah to taunt back?
- 1 Kings 18:32-35 recounts how Elijah ordered the
altar, the wood and the sacrifice be drenched with
water. Why did he order that? (So no one could later
say it was a trick.)
- I thought they had a drought on. How did they
get this water?
- Read 1 Kings 18:36-38. Did Elijah need the water to show
this was not a trick? (No. Fire came down from the sky and
even burned up the stones and the dirt!)
- Was Elijah’s reputation at stake? (In verse 36 Elijah
says he wants the people to know God authorized all
- How hard does God work to encourage people to serve
- Have you ever thought that maybe God was unclear on
what He had in mind for you?
- If so, what does this story suggest?
- Or, does this “very obvious God” only exist in
the Old Testament? (If you say, “yes,” then
consider John 11:38-44.)
- Read 1 Kings 18:39. Is this the same group that previously
refused to say anything? (Yes)
- Did they get the point? (They were so impressed they
shouted and prostrated themselves.)
- Read 1 Kings 18:40-41. Are they letting the wrong guy get
away? Why does Ahab get to go eat? Why wasn’t he
dispatched along with all the prophets of Baal? Why does
the “guy in charge” get a free pass here? (If you look at
1 Kings 21:27-29 it appears that God thought there was
hope for Ahab.)
- Read 1 Kings 18:42. What is Elijah doing? Is this yoga? Do
you get to bend your knees? If not, how many of you can do
this? (I’m having trouble understanding this position.
Apparently, Elijah is praying to God about the rain. If
anybody tells you that you must kneel in church to show
proper respect for God, you need to point out this text
and tell them THIS is the way to show proper respect.)
- God wins. Rain comes. Ahab returns home without his 450
prophets of Baal. I can hear it now, “Honey, I have good
news and bad news. The good news is that our food bill
will drop considerably ( 1 Kings 18:19)and it is raining.
The bad news is that the 450 prophets are no longer with
us.” Let’s see how Jezebel reacts. Read 1 Kings 19:1-2.
What do you think about the logic and intelligence of
- Put yourself in Jezebel’s place. What is she
- Have you ever thought you were stronger than God?
Have you ever opposed God’s will? Have you ever said,
“I don’t care what God wants, I’m going to do what I
- Read 1 Kings 19:3. What is Elijah thinking? What do you
think about his logic?
- Read 2 Kings 2:11. Needless to say, this is not how
Elijah was rescued from Jezebel. Some time has
passed. Nevertheless, how is it possible that someone
who has such an inconsistent faith gets translated to
heaven? What hope does this give you?
- Friend, God is merciful to us. Elijah, after experiencing
the most powerful proof of God’s authority and power
became afraid of another human. It was totally illogical.
Nevertheless, because Elijah had been a great champion for
God, he was taken to heaven without seeing death. Doesn’t
that give you hope when you become fearful – when logic
would tell you to have no fear?
- Next week: The Good and the Bad Days of King Jehosaphat.