King Ahab was one of the worst kings Israel had. He was so bad that 1 Kings 16:33 says Ahab “did more to provoke the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than any of the other kings of Israel before him.” Here are a few things Ahab did:
The nations surrounding Israel worshiped things they thought were gods, and they thought there were many of them. God had told His people not to marry men or women from those nations because of that. But Ahab married a woman from one of those nations, and she was a bad influence on him. 1 Kings 21:25 tells us, “No one else so completely sold himself to what was evil in the Lord’s sight as Ahab did under the influence of his wife Jezebel.” She worshiped a false god and goddess called Baal and Asherah.
Ahab built a house and an altar for Baal and worshiped him. He also put up a big pole called an Asherah pole to honor and worship Asherah. This was a major problem, because God had commanded the people of Israel not to worship or serve any other gods. The God of Israel is the only true God, and they were supposed to worship Him only. By worshiping Baal and Asherah and setting up places for them to be worshiped, Ahab led the people of Israel to disobey God and serve the gods other nations worshiped. But they weren’t actually God at all!
At this time, people didn’t have the Bible yet, so God spoke to them by giving messages to special people called prophets. They followed God and loved Him with all their hearts. Ahab allowed Jezebel to kill the prophets of God. It’s important to know that Ahab and Jezebel did this because they really didn’t want to hear the truth from God.
Ahab wanted a vineyard, but the owner wouldn’t sell it. So he and Jezebel had the owner killed, and then Ahab went and took over the vineyard.
Any time we choose to do things our way instead of God’s way, that is called sin. When Ahab and the people of Israel disobeyed God and worshiped other things instead, they sinned. But God still loved them and wanted them to turn back to Him, so He showed them His power in some pretty cool ways.
God caused a drought, and there was no rain for three years! Ahab, Jezebel, and the people prayed to Baal for rain, but still no rain fell. That’s because only God can make it rain! The drought was a punishment for Ahab’s sin, but it was also a way for God to show He had power and Baal didn’t.
There was a prophet of God named Elijah who had escaped from Jezebel. God told him to go talk to Ahab and he obeyed, even though it meant he could have been killed. Elijah challenged Ahab and the people who worshiped Baal to a contest. Let’s see what happened.
Sin separates us from God and causes problems in our lives!
But God is faithful to us even when we aren’t faithful to Him. He keeps showing up in our lives because He loves us!
God could have turned His back on the people of Israel and said, “That’s enough. If you’re going to turn away from me and worship false gods instead, I’m done with you.” But He didn’t. He showed them He was the only one powerful enough to control the weather, not Baal or Asherah. And He heard and answered the prayers of one man, when Baal couldn’t even hear the prayers of 450 people!
When the people saw what God had done, they realized He was the only true God, and they worshiped Him. Then Elijah prayed for it to rain, and God answered. He sent a big rainstorm that gave the people water and made it possible for crops to grow again.
Did you know God had predicted this would happen many years before? He made this promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
Choosing to follow God means we turn away from disobeying Him and doing things that are wrong. We can’t just ask Him to forgive us once and then keep on doing whatever we feel like doing and refusing to listen to Him. We have to make the choice to obey Him every single day. It can be hard, and we will mess up sometimes. But when we do, we should always come back to God because He loves us!
There were two main characters in this story. Ahab chose not to follow God, and a lot of bad things happened because of his choices. The things he worshiped couldn’t help him at all. Even though God kept showing His power to Ahab, in the end, Ahab still chose not to listen to Him. But Elijah chose to obey God even when he was the only one who did, and it could have gotten him killed. He turned to God, and God heard his prayers. He hears our prayers, too!
Now you have a choice. Will you be like Ahab or Elijah?