Yes, we’re going through an entire chapter in one day. I realize that this seems a little extravagant since I spent the last three chapters only going through a few verses at a time. But here is my reasoning: Since I am studying the life of Elijah, I am mostly skipping 1 Kings 20, as he does not show up there in. However, I did spend a day on it in my Bible study, as I felt it gives important clues to other characters in the story – other people.
God uses Ahab in this chapter. Just take a second to let that sink in. God uses Ahab. He clearly speaks to him and Ahab listens and obeys. Ahab questions the prophet sent to him (not Elijah as far as I know, though there are no specifics) for specifics on how to win the war, but then he goes out and obeys!
It is also of note in this section how Ahab is called “the king of Israel” instead of by name – at least 8 times! His name is used more frequently in the other chapters – I don’t remember him being called this so often in his encounters with Elijah – perhaps he is being more kingly here? Or perhaps this has more to do with the connection with war, as we will see this crop again in 1 Kings 22?
Anyway – it is still phenomenal that Ahab listens to the prophet and obeys God! He believes God; he just doesn’t believe in God. It’s an interesting dichotomy. If Ahab believes God, why doesn’t he believe in God? Ahab is considered one of – if not the most – wickedest kings in the Bible, yet God still used him for his glory and Ahab still listened to, obeyed, and believed God. Perhaps without Jezebel he would not have been so bad? (Not that the blame rests solely on Jezebel by any means.)
It seems to me that Ahab had potential – if occasional blunders – while Jezebel did the horrible stuff, like killing the prophets. But Ahab didn’t stop her, either.
Perhaps that is where his evil lies. Because, really, if you believe God, why would you let someone kill those He speaks through?
Also – there are other prophets mentioned and used in this chapter other than Elijah! This serves to reinforce the idea – the truth – that Elijah is not the only one still zealous and working for God. In fact, after everything that has happened, perhaps God is giving Elijah a breather. Either way, Elijah is coming back in the next chapter to a “sullen and angry” king (NIV1984, 1 Kings 20:43) – descriptors used for Ahab at the end of this chapter. Perhaps he is described this way when he thinks he’s tried to be the fairest he can and is punished or refused for it?