by Christopher Harbin

But the People!
Christopher B. Harbin
1st Kings 19:7-16

"Did you see what Jacob did?" "If Helen would only...!" "Can you believe that guy?" "If only they hadn't treated her so badly!" "You wouldn't believe what Jerry just said to me!" "Why don't they ever learn?" It seems we are always hearing comments directed at other persons. We criticize and complain easily enough. It is so easy to cast blame in a wide circle, handing out plenty of condemnation, for there is normally plenty of condemnation and responsibility to go around. We seem to revel in complaining about the actions and reactions of others, at times neglecting our own complicity or failure to act responsibility. At the end of the story, however, we cannot answer for the actions and reactions of others. What will it take for us to focus our attention on our own responsibilities?

Elijah was having a really rough time emotionally. He had been following God's directions and had seen God work in unexpected ways. He had been riding a wave of pride in his service to Yahweh. He had watched Yahweh defeat Baal in a marvelous display of power. He watched Yahweh answer his prayer, sending rain to Israel at long last. Then Elijah's focus shifted. Instead of continuing to look to God for guidance, direction, encouragement, and support, Elijah began to look at others.

He heard the threats Jezebel had leveled against him and began placing his attention of her words and the actions of others. He recognized that after the great confrontation between Yahweh and Baal, the king of Israel, Ahab, had done no more than fall back into his habit of allowing Jezebel to keep the reigns of religious leadership for the nation. That Baal had been shown up as a powerless imposter had made no difference to her. It had not changed her response toward Yahweh or Elijah, as Yahweh's prophet.

Elijah felt his hopes dashed. He turned his focus away from God and began dwelling on the reactions of the people and ...

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