I Kings 18

I could be accused of saying the phrase “That’s one of my favourite places in Israel!” a little too often, but that is only because I have about 20 ‘favourite’ places in Israel!  This chapter features one of my top 20…Mt Carmel where Elijah took on the 450 prophets of Baal in a showdown!

Geographically, Mt Carmel is close to the coast!

It’s not a mountain like the Rockies, but rather a very tall hill!  On top of the mountain are gardens, a viewing station and a statue of Elijah during his battle with the prophets.

From Mt Carmel, you can see Nazareth, Mt Tabor, Meggido, and looking to the north, out of the view of this photo, lower Galilee and upper Galilee!  It is really quite spectacular!

However, the phrase that struck me in our text today wasn’t about the location on Mt Carmel or the actual moment Elijah fought and won his spiritual battle!  What struck me was these two verses…

17 When Ahab saw him, he exclaimed, “So, is it really you, you troublemaker of Israel?  18 “I have made no trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “You and your family are the troublemakers, for you have refused to obey the commands of the Lord and have worshiped the images of Baal instead.

…and especially the exchange, :…you troublemaker of Israel?”…and Elijah’s response,  “I have made no trouble for Israel…”

Fascinating!  From King Ahab’s perspective, Elijah was the problem!

From the prophet Elijah’s perspective, King Ahab was the problem!

As a leader and pastor, I’m a little too familiar with the tension between people’s opposing perspectives!   Sometimes I’m the referee between the two…and sometimes if find myself drawn into the conflict itself where I’m saying, “Four” while someone else is saying “No three!”…although the claims and accusations are seldom so benign.

When I find myself in those situations, here’s what I try to do:

1. Breathe.  I try to take time to avoid an impulsive reaction.  (I’m not always successful!)   If I’m writing an email response, I try to give it a few hours, a re-read or even a day or two.

2. Be more curious than offended.  I try to channel whatever emotional offense I feel and turn it into curiosity.  “Wow!  Fascinating!  How can we be seeing this situation so differently?  How can they think that?  It seems impossible, but somehow they are arriving at that conclusion!  How can that be?”

3. Explore all the possibilities.  I try to run as many scenarios in my head as I can!  If they truly see the situation like that, what are the driving forces and what could be the reasons.

4. Talk it through.  This can sometimes take hours and hours.  I’m currently working on a three way tension issue where I’m one of the parties.  It’s the sort of situation where I am well within my rights to simply make the call and issue my decision, however, I’ve had no less than 12 meetings and invested 20+ hours to listen, understand and talk it through.

5. Remember that not ever perspective is of equal value or truthfulness.   King Ahab may have been convinced that Elijah was the problem, but the truth was, Ahab was the problem.  He may never understand or see it that way…but that was truth and Elijah was sticking to it!

6. Be OK living with unresolved tension.  I hate this one and I really am no good at it, yet, the very nature of being a pastor means that I have been forced to experience this more times than I want to admit.  Sometimes, the perspective and tension just can’t be solved!

Q: Do you have a current ‘difference in perspective’ situation going on?  How are you handling it?   

HIT ‘COMMENT’ BELOW to share your reflections!  You don’t have to complete personal fields to participate!  Note that the comments are not monitored and don’t necessarily reflect Riverwood’s teachings.

8 thoughts on “I Kings 18

  1. I find this past year has presented a number of perspectives regarding the right to worship and vaccinations. How does one know if they should follow the herd of conformity or stray from the herd and be seen as Ahab saw Elijah?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In verse 21 it askes How long are you going to struggle between 2 choices ? Only God can change a heart. It takes a change of heart we can resolve differences. All of Israel witnessed the miracle and responded by falling on their knees and proclaiming” That the Lord He is God ” but ended up not following Him ,as we see in future chapters. I also need a change of heart in order to follow Him.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So true. It is God Who changes hearts and opens eyes!

      The Bible Tells us things we cannot do:
      John 6:44 & 65 no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.
      Romans 8:7,8 sinful mind cannot submit to God’s will or please Him
      1 Cor 2:14; John 8:43, John 14:17; John 15:5; 2 Cor. 4:4; Gal 3:22; Eph 2:2

      Like

  3. 21 And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? This Reminded me of when Moses destroyed the golden calf, he basically said to everybody in Exodus 32 “Whoever is on the LORD’s side—come to me.”
    enough with the false idols, enough with Baal!
    And the 3000 people were killed. But in the case of this chapter, a demonstration was provided to show that man made idols don’t listen, don’t care and don’t hear you…but our God is the God who can hear us and see us and listen to us! It’s when there is uncertainty or weakend faith that we “limp” between walking with Jesus and walking alone.
    Here’s something interesting… limp (adj.)
    “flaccid, drooping, lacking stiffness or firmness,” How firm are YOU standing in your boots of peace? OR as a verb : “to walk lamely” How is YOUR walk with Him? Are you walking towards your personal goals of earthly treasures and pleasures of the flesh? Or are you seeking the spiritual ones knowing God will provide so long as you abide?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Different perspectives fill our world creating conflict, pain and ultimtely, sin, as we go to extreme lengths in order to justify our views. As a reporter and news editor for several years decades it was often my job to present those views in a clear and balanced way. I like the outline Pastor Todd has given to process perspective and conflict. We all have to deal with different perspectives from different sources in major and minor ways on a daily basis with our family and friend. We see the conflicts constantly on the news. Even in a marriage; one partner can say something and the other will innocently take it out of context and conflict arises. Fortunately we have a God who can see all sides and, better yet, carries ultimate truth and love.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that is the only way we can be absolutely certain that something is true .Jesus said I am the truth and we can believe everything in the Bible to be true . If there is something we really want to know we just need to ask and I believe at the very least God will find a way to give us peace about what we are trying to understand. My favorite part of the Christmas story is Mary’s response to the angel. I don’t understand but may it be as you have said.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am currently in an Elijah / Ahab … “4, no 3” situation… but even if the answers are right infront of us in the bible, others will interpret differently.. not necessarily completely incorrect, but a lot of our interpretation is from our broken minds, we are imperfect and in most cases, our answers will only come when our vapour of a life here “evaporates”. If I find myself in conflict of that nature, I will research and talk amongst brothers and sisters and try to investigate where these “wrong” thoughts or “false”’information/ interpretation stem from. I need to trust in Jesus that if I ask the hard questions, the people being asked are not offended to harshly or at all. So much wasted energy and fear of hurt feelings that could be redirected into helping lift eachother up.. instead of trying to prove eachother wrong!

    Liked by 1 person

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