17 Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?” (1Kings 18:17 NKJ)
20 So Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” And he answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the LORD: (1King 21:20 NKJ)
25 But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the LORD, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up. (1Kings 21:25 NKJ)
I have been reading through the book of 1 Kings for my personal devotions and it struck me how Ahab, a very wicked king, perceived Elijah, a prophet of God, as “troubler of Israel.”
This struck me, not because it is strange, but rather because it is so relevant. We have right now a government in America that embraces wickedness and pursues Christian cake bakers as troublers in Israel and enemies; godly men and women are called “crazies.”
The comfort for the Christian from passages like these is the rule of wicked men is always temporary. The great mistake such leaders make is they make God’s people their enemy; therefore they make God their enemy. Politicians may seem to get away with a lot, but God as an enemy will not be tricked or thwarted. Take to heart what Matthew Henry says about this –
(1.) Ahab vented his wrath against Elijah, fell into a passion at the sight of him, and, instead of humbling himself before the prophet, as he ought to have done (2 Chr. 36:12), was ready to fly in his face. Hast thou found me, O my enemy? v. 20. This shows, [1.] That he hated him. The last time we found them together they parted very good friends, ch. 18:46. Then Ahab had countenanced the reformation, and therefore then all was well between him and the prophet; but now he had relapsed, and was worse than ever. His conscience told him he had made God his enemy, and therefore he could not expect Elijah should be his friend. Note, That man’s condition is very miserable that has made the word of God his enemy, and his condition is very desperate that reckons the ministers of that word his enemies because they tell him the truth, Gal. 4:16. Ahab, having sold himself to sin, was resolved to stand to his bargain, and could not endure him that would have helped him to recover himself, [2.] That he feared him: Hast thou found me? intimating that he shunned him all he could, and it was now a terror to him to see him. The sight of him was like that of the handwriting upon the wall to Belshazzar; it made his countenance change, the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another. Never was poor debtor or criminal so confounded at the sight of the officer that came to arrest him. Men may thank themselves if they make God and his word a terror to them.
(2.) Elijah denounced God’s wrath against Ahab: I have found thee (says he, v. 20), because thou hast sold thyself to work evil. Note, Those that give up themselves to sin will certainly be found out, sooner or later, to their unspeakable horror and amazement. Ahab is now set to the bar, as Naboth was, and trembles more than he did. [1.] Elijah finds the indictment against him, and convicts him upon the notorious evidence of the fact (v. 19): Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? He was thus charged with the murder of Naboth, and it would not serve him to say the law killed him (perverted justice is the highest injustice), nor that, if he was unjustly prosecuted, it was not his doing—he knew nothing of it; for it was to please him that it was done, and he had shown himself pleased with it, and so had made himself guilty of all that was done in the unjust prosecution of Naboth. He killed, for he took possession. If he takes the garden, he takes the guilt with it. Terra transit cum onere—The land with the incumbrance. [2.] He passes judgment upon him. He told him from God that his family should be ruined and rooted out (v. 21) and all his posterity cut off,—that his house should be made like the houses of his wicked predecessors, Jeroboam and Baasha (v. 22), particularly that those who died in the city should be meat for dogs and those who died in the field meat for birds (v. 24), which had been foretold of Jeroboam’s house (ch. 14:11), and of Baasha’s (ch. 16:4),—that Jezebel, particularly, should be devoured by dogs (v. 23), which was fulfilled (2 Ki. 9:36),—and, as for Ahab himself, that the dogs should lick his blood in the very same place where they licked Naboth’s (v. 19—“Thy blood, even thine, though it be royal blood, though it swell thy veins with pride and boil in thy heart with anger, shall ere long be an entertainment for the dogs”), which was fulfilled, ch. 22:38. This intimates that he should die a violent death, should come to his grave with blood, and that disgrace should attend him, the foresight of which must needs be a great mortification to such a proud man. Punishments after death are here most insisted on, which, though such as affected the body only, were perhaps designed as figures of the soul’s misery after death.