by Christopher Harbin

Divine Audience
Christopher B. Harbin
1st Kings 18:17-26

With all the communication tools available today, it seems even harder to get people's attention. Customer service seems to have fallen by the wayside in the marketplace as companies have stretched their workforce thin on listening to their customers. We are inundated with information from so many sources: texts, emails, radio and television advertisements, magazines, newspapers, billboards, signs, paper mail, and phone calls. We are much more concerned with making our voices heard than with listening to the messages we receive. We communicate so much and broadcast so widely there is little chance of processing more than a small portion of the information sent our way. With the limitations and stress we feel in communicating, it is likely that we project some of the same limitations on God. Does God really hear us amid the cacophony of messages and prayers directed at God? Do we even bother to seek audience with God?

Ahab wanted to cast Elijah as the culprit of the turmoil in Israel. As Yahweh's messenger, he wanted to lay the blame for the drought at Elijah's feet. Water and food for Israel, its cattle and crops had vanished. Elijah was the easy scapegoat on which to lay the blame, as he had been the one announcing the coming drought. Israel's difficulty, however, had not originated with Elijah, but with Ahab deserting Yahweh to worship Ba'al. Ahab had declared by his actions that Yahweh was not worthy to be called divine. Yahweh had chosen to put this issue to the test.

Ba'al was reportedly the one to control the thunderclouds and fertility of man, animal, and field. Ahab had led Israel away from seeking audience with Yahweh to depend upon an imposter. Yahweh had determined to tune out Israel's pleas for rain as long as they were being misdirected to Ba'al under Ahab's influence. "Put it to the test," had been Yahweh's response. "Let's see what Ba'al is able to do in terms of sen ...

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