The Lord told Elijah to return to Israel and go to the Desert of Damascus.

1 Kings 19:15b   “’When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram.’”

History records Hazael as being one of the greatest kings Syria ever had.  He’s credited with building up and modernizing the city of Damascus.  But he also turned out to be a serious threat to Israel.  He captured a lot of Israel’s land and he killed thousands of Israeli soldiers.  The Lord is instructing Elijah to anoint a new king of Syria.  Ahab is the king of Israel, which is currently located in Syria, but Hazael will be the new king of Syria– in Syria. 

Two separate kingdoms are occupying the same space.    Damascus is the capital city of both Israel and Syria.  Israel is in a state of rebellion against the Lord.  They have rejected His laws, mocked and killed His prophets because they refuse to accept His word.  They’re worshipping and serving other gods. Up until now, Ahab has been able to have things his own way. 

By anointing Hazael as the King of Aram (Syria), the Lord is making it perfectly clear to Israel that He will not allow them to keep doing what they’ve been doing.  He will not ignore their behavior forever.  There are consequences, good or bad, for every decision we make, for every course of action we take.  Wrong choices produce deadly consequences. 

By anointing Hazael as King of Aram, the Lord is making it perfectly clear to Israel that as long as you ignore me, as long as you defy me, your enemies will continue to have my blessing.  I won’t interfere with anything Hazael tries to do to you until you’re ready to turn back to me and love me with all your heart, your soul, your strength and your mind. 

In the same breath, the Lord says, “Also…”  I’m so glad the Lord says, “also.”  I’m so glad the Lord’s not going to leave it this way.  I’m so glad there’s more to look forward to.  I’m so glad the Lord doesn’t treat us the way our sins deserve to be treated.   

1 Kings 19:16a    ‘”Also, anoint Jehu, son of Nimshi king over Israel.’”

I will not allow Ahab to sit on that throne much longer.  Ahab is as bad as I’m willing to let things get.  The Living Bible says, “No one was as sold out to the devil as Ahab.”  When Jehu became the new king of Israel, he would completely destroy the household of Ahab.  Ahab would teach Israel that deadly consequences come from sinful choices.  Jehu was God’s way of saying, “Grace is on the way.” Along with justice, I’ll deal out mercy. 

King Jehu not only eliminated the household of Ahab he also put an end to the worship of Baal.  He killed all the prophets of Baal and destroyed the Temple of Baal.  Do you know what they did with the Temple of Baal?  (I don’t want you to think I’m making this up.) 

 “They demolished the sacred stone of Baal and tore down the temple of Baal, and the people have used it as a latrine to this day.”  (2 Kings 10:27)

That “sacred pillar” had Baal’s image carved on it.  Don’t get discouraged, Elijah.  Don’t give up.  Don’t get tired of doing the right thing.  You will reap a great harvest if you don’t get discouraged and quit.  Just “go back the way you came.”  Do it again and watch the Lord produce a different result.  The devil’s never going to win.  Things are going to get better.  Things are going to change, I promise.   There’s just one more thing. 

1 Kings 19:16b   ‘”and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed as prophet.” 

There’s good news/bad news.  The good news is that Israel is going to experience a revival.  Israel is coming back to the Lord.  The bad news is that you won’t be around to see it Elijah, because it’s not going to happen in your lifetime. Before Jehu gets to sit on the throne, Israel will have to suffer through two more evil kings, Ahab’s two sons; Ahaziah, who will provoke the Lord to anger as much as his father did, and Johore, who’s not quite as bad as his father and brother, but he’s not exactly a saint either. 

Things are not going to change overnight.  The road to recovery can be long, slow and painful.  Rehabilitation can be a hard and often discouraging process with many frustrating setbacks.  But there’s hope for the future if you keep walking on that path  Are you OK with that, Elijah?  Can you rejoice in the hope for a victory, in the promise of a victory? 

Can you rejoice in a victory that you won’t personally be around to see?  Your service to me has been faithfully fulfilled and I’m calling someone else to lead my people forward from here; someone with a different personality, someone with a different abilities and talents.  It’s a new beginning for my children.   

1 Kings 19:17     “Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu.”

King Hazael will deal with the people who insist on worshipping Baal.  King Jehu will deal with anyone who managed to get away from Hazael and Elisha will deal with all those who are left.  I will use all three of them to reconcile my people and accomplish my purpose.. 

1 Kings 19:18     “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel who have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.”

There are seven thousand more in Israel who are just as faithful and devoted to me as you are, Elijah; seven thousand more who’ve refused to compromise their faith, who refused to worship Baal, who’ve refused to deny me.  Do you see any of them up here hiding in their caves and wanting to die?  I suggest you go back the way you came and find out who they are.  Come out of your cave and start living again. 

You need to live in a larger world.  You’ve been alone too long, Elijah.  You need some positive fellowship, godly friends you can be accountable to.  Stop dwelling on yourself and start bearing someone else’s burdens.  Intercede for someone else’s need.  When we remove ourselves from Christian fellowship, the devil will convince us that we really are all alone. 

Lord willing, we’ll start from here next Tuesday. Thanks for being in God’s word with pastor Buj.

Published by pastorbuj

I have over forty-five years of pastoral experience serving churches in Rhode Island, New York State and California. After retirement, I wrote and published a book titled, "Why Did He Bother? A Pastor's Account of God's Abundant Mercy, Love, and Grace." It is available as a paperback, e-book and audible from Amazon.com. My newest venture is a Bible teaching blog site called "pastorbuj.wordpress.com"

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