Identifying Enemies by Christopher Harbin

Identifying Enemies
Christopher B. Harbin
1st Kings 21:11-20

Who is my enemy? It is a common enough question for us. We want to know who is working against us or for us, who has our best or worst interest in mind. We want to know whom to trust and whom to distrust. We want to label people as safe or unsafe to our security, position, status, wealth, or well-being. Most of that stems from our fears and uncertainties. At heart we are insecure about those things in life we just cannot control, what we believe can or possibly should be taken away from us. In our fear, we categorize people as threats to our well-being. Who poses the truest threat to us?

We have seen politicians across the ages use groups of people as scapegoats for a population's uncertainty and fears. We saw Hitler use the Jews to help muster his political grip on Germany. We saw McCarthy use red scare tactics, accusing people of communist thinking to muster power in the US. We saw genocide in Rwanda due to the same issues, playing on unfounded fears for the political gain of a few. On a different level, we use the very same processes on a day to day basis when we react to others out of our personal uncertainties.

Ahab and Elijah had a very rocky relationship. There was not a lot of love lost between them, even if the bulk of the animosity was directed at Elijah from Ahab. Of course, we are reading the story from the perspective of the Biblical narrator. Ahab had his own perspective, which looked at the issues from a wholly other standpoint. As far as Ahab was concerned, Elijah was the enemy of Israel, a disturber of the peace, the root of the drought that had plagued the nation and caused its economic instability over a period of several years.

Elijah was the one to blame, since it was Elijah who had stood up to Ahab's introducing the worship of Baal front and center on the religious stage in Israel. It was Elijah who had marched into Samaria to confront the king and issu ...


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