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!

  1. Bad Blood

    1. 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?

      1. 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?

      2. If you are a parent, what kind of influence do you
        have on your children? How about your influence on
        co-workers? Your neighbors?

      3. What kind of impact does our culture have on us? Our
        children? The church?

        1. Do we invite an evil cultural influence by the
          movies and television we watch?

        2. 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.)

    2. 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?

      1. 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.)

  2. Ahab

    1. Continue looking at 1 Kings 16:31. How do you understand
      verse 31? Is part of the evil of King Ahab that he
      married Jezebel?

      1. We discussed the influence of parents and the
        influence of the culture. How much influence can a
        spouse have on your faith?

        1. Why?

      2. 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.)

      3. 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?”

    2. Read 1 Kings 16:32-33. Can we make God mad? Can we provoke

      1. Does this create a different picture of God than you
        are used to seeing?

        1. Is “provoking” God the same as making Him “mad?”
          (You can provoke someone without the victim

      2. Is it a good thing for us to consider whether our
        actions might actually make God mad? That we can
        provoke God?

        1. Have you ever considered how your sin affects
          God — as opposed to considering only how it
          affects you?

        2. Read Deuteronomy 11:16-17. Ahab should have
          known a drought was coming! What is the modern-day equivalent of worshiping false gods?

        3. What is the modern-day equivalent (for those who
          are not farmers)of no rain?

          1. Or, is the idea of making God mad an “Old
            Testament” idea that is not relevant

        4. Read Mark 3:4-5. Who is angry here?

          1. Is God’s anger really distress over our
            stubborn hearts?

  3. Elijah

    1. Read 1 Kings 17:1. How would you like the assignment from
      God to go condemn Ahab?

      1. 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
        this assignment?

      2. 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!)

    2. 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.)

    3. 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.)

      1. 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

    4. 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?

      1. 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

  4. Showdown at Mt. Carmel

    1. Read 1 Kings 18:19-20. Why would Ahab agree to assemble
      his false prophets? Does this show that he really
      believed in them?

      1. How could he believe in them when they had been
        unable to bring rain in the past three years?

        1. Is Ahab just desparate?

      2. Why would God waste His time with Ahab? Wasn’t Ahab
        beyond redemption?

    2. 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.)

      1. What is the spiritual condition of the people?

        1. Were they really uncertain about who was the
          true God?

        2. 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.)

      2. Let’s step back a minute. Do you think God withheld
        the rain to punish Ahab, or to get the attention of
        the people?

        1. Is this a question we should at least ask when
          something unpleasant happens in our life?

    3. 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?”

      1. Should we taunt those who lead in false worship

      2. 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?

      3. 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.)

        1. I thought they had a drought on. How did they
          get this water?

    4. 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!)

      1. Was Elijah’s reputation at stake? (In verse 36 Elijah
        says he wants the people to know God authorized all
        of this.)

      2. How hard does God work to encourage people to serve

      3. Have you ever thought that maybe God was unclear on
        what He had in mind for you?

        1. If so, what does this story suggest?

        2. Or, does this “very obvious God” only exist in
          the Old Testament? (If you say, “yes,” then
          consider John 11:38-44.)

    5. Read 1 Kings 18:39. Is this the same group that previously
      refused to say anything? (Yes)

      1. Did they get the point? (They were so impressed they
        shouted and prostrated themselves.)

    6. 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.)

    7. 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.)

    8. 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

      1. Put yourself in Jezebel’s place. What is she

      2. 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

    9. Read 1 Kings 19:3. What is Elijah thinking? What do you
      think about his logic?

      1. 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?

    10. 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?

  5. Next week: The Good and the Bad Days of King Jehosaphat.