“The Lord said to him, ‘Go back the way you came and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat…’” 1 Kings 19:15-16
Here’s the scoop: Elijah was the prophet, God’s anointed one, His vessel of choice. One day God, the Almighty one, the creator of it all, appears to Elijah and gives him three specific things to do:
·Anoint Hazael king over Aram,
·Anoint Jehu king over Israel,
·Anoint Elisha to be the new prophet.
Not hard, I would think! But we see no evidence of Elijah following through on the first two instructions. Elijah’s next action is, “So [he] went from there and found Elisha…”
Let’s backtrack for a second here. At this time, King Ahab was king of Israel, and a more wicked, evil man could not be found! He reigned for 22 years, and was the bane of the lives of the Israelites.
However, his reign was one of the longest in Israel’s history. He reigned much longer than most of his predecessors. In our Bible Study the leader threw out this question, “If King Ahab was so evil, and had such a strong influence over both Israel and Judah (his daughter married the Judean king) why wasn’t he and his family killed off like previous evil kings?” Good question huh?
I came home and did some research. Ahab was the seventh king of Israel. Most of the others were killed off with their entire families, always after a word from the Lord through the prophet. Why would Ahab be any different? He was more evil than the others, why would God allow him to live and bring such misery on his subjects?
Here’s why: Elijah was disobedient! He was told to anoint Hazael, and Jehu. He didn’t do it. These men were ultimately responsible for killing Ahab’s family. You know who anointed them? Elisha. In 2 Kings 8-10 we read the full account.
In between the time of God telling Elijah to do the job and Elisha actually fulfilling the mandate, Ahab had time to steal Naboth’s vineyard, and Jezebel had time to kill Naboth. Ahab was meant to kill his enemy, Ben-Hadad, the king of Aram, and instead called him brother, and allied himself to that nation, bringing further sin into Israel. Ahab’s daughter married the King of Judah and spread all Jezebel had taught her to Judah.
Micaiah, not Elijah was eventually sent to tell of Ahab’s demise. Once that was done, Elijah’s successor, Elisha anointed Jehu and Hazael. Almost immediately, Ahab’s family was killed, and the Ahab dynasty ended.
Elijah decided to continue with his journey, not a big decision in itself, but look at the ramifications. He was told to go back, he went forward, and as a result Ahab’s strength and power continued, rather than being cut right then and there as God intended.
Elijah was anointed, no doubt about it, and he didn’t lose the anointing even though he didn’t follow all of God’s edicts. It’s important to obey God. Because of Elijah’s disobedience Israel suffered. But when we do disobey and pay the consequences we also need to realize we have not lost the anointing or the good pleasure of God.
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