Monday, May 16, 2022

Lack of Rain

In 1 Kings 17, we encounter the prophet Elijah. As he's known to do, he speaks a word that the King doesn't particularly care to hear - a drought is coming. 

Most of the time when we read a word like this, we get it - the King is wicked, the people have turned their backs, and God has to do something to remind them of how much they need His provision. A drought seems almost good to us. It will do just what God desires for it to do. 

A drought back in these times was disastrous. Today, when we think of a drought, we think most often of wildfires popping up. Because of advances in irrigation and an essentially-global supply chain, drought doesn't have as severe an impact on our food supply as it would have back in Israel. Back in Israel? A drought was devastating. 

Without rain, you could not grow crops. Without rain, you would not be harvesting food, not even the most basic staples of wheat and barley. Without rain, the wild grasses weren't going to grow, either, which meant that you couldn't graze your flocks. Now, you've got no crops and no meat because if you can't graze your flocks, you certainly can't afford to be eating parts of them - you'll lose your good breeders for the season when the drought breaks, and you're going to need every possible one of them after all of the weaker members you're going to lose to the oncoming famine. 

Nobody wants a drought. 

But, we say, Israel deserved one. This King (Ahab) deserved one. The queen, Jezebel, certain deserved it. And so did the hundreds of prophets of Baal who were rising to power. Nobody wants a drought, but, if anyone deserves it... 

Except, think about this: the very drought that Elijah was prophesying to the King wasn't just going to affect unrighteous Israel. It was going to affect Elijah himself, too. He doesn't escape this. No rain falls on the land of Israel, but no rain falls on Elijah, either. 

He doesn't get to walk around with his own personal cloud building above his head. He doesn't get to magically eat a secret stash of well-watered wheat or barley that God will tuck away for him. He doesn't have a lush land where livestock are going to thrive for him. 

Elijah speaks a drought that is going to have just as severe an impact on him as it will on the rest of Israel. He boldly stands in front of the King and declares, "We're in for it. We're all in for it." The Word of God is just as real and heavy and terrible for him as it is for everyone else. 

But he speaks it anyway. 

Would you? 

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