If you are reading along in I Kings, when you turn the page to chapter 17 Elijah the Tishbite steps onto the canvas of Scripture from out of nowhere. Like a meteor flashing across a dark sky. His sudden appearance makes him somehow a grand and romantic figure. We are drawn to and fascinated by this unique character, and his abrupt declaration underscores his mystery.
If we are going to study the life of an individual it helps to know something of the history they were a part of. And when we learn something of the history, his sudden appearance will make more sense to us.
He served during the reigns of King Ahab and Ahaziah, from 870s to 842 b.c. He appeared on the stage of public action during one of the darkest hours of Israel's sad history.
The nation of Israel was in a moral free fall. Never before had the favored nation sunk so low, grievously and willfully rejecting God’s Word and departing from God.
For well over 100 years Israel had been ruled by three great, famous and flawed men, Saul, David and Solomon. In the 58 years that had passed since the kingdom had been rent in two following the death of Solomon no less than seven kings had reigned over the ten northern tribes, and all of them without exception were wicked men.
From the seeds planted by Solomon's pagan wives, his son Jeroboam introduced the first fruits of idolatry among the people of Israel.
I will just go back to Ahab’s father Omri.