Mid-Month Blog—Elijah the Ugly—1 Kings 17—September 2016

Vol. 1, No. 9M – 2016Elijah and Widow

The widow’s son grew weak; worse and worse,  then he died. 1 Kings 17:17

The Liverpool Press made fun of Abraham Lincoln, indicating he had little chance of being the object of hero worship. He had a grotesque figure, long legs, arms made him subject to cartoons; he was ridiculed, and grew a beard to hide his ugliness depicted in his face. Yet, many saw him as faithful, honest, resolute, and courageous—a hero to the many (history writers do not always identify him with great character).

Honest Abe (Rail-Splitter, “The Great Emancipator,” reminds one of an earlier hero, Elijah the Tishbite. Ahaziah, the king of Israel, asked about Elijah, “Who is this man; what does he look like?” They reply was that Elijah was a hairy man with a leather belt. The man, Elijah, had not changed, he was the same man who appeared before King Ahab. He was the same man who lived with the widow of Zarephath and her son. He had not changed in his servanthood to Almighty God.

Elijah seemed to have life on a roll; just your regular leader chugging along and serving those who would abide with him. However, his boss (God) spoke to him and told him to go and live in the village of Zarephath with a widow and her son. The widow welcomed him as a man of God and heeded Elijah’s direction. In a time of famine, the widow’s store of food miraculously remained stable by the hand of God. Good days for the widow and her son.

Then things turn ugly; great sorrow comes upon the widow. Her son becomes sick, then dies. Elijah, the hero, turns into a goat in the widow’s eyes. Just about the time he is going to be awarded the coveted “Man of the Year Award,” he is called a murderer (1 Kings 17:18). It seems that it is all his fault.

It is common for people to depend on their leader, becoming the victim when things do not go well. After all, one must have someone to blame.

The widow takes out her Glock and fires unwarranted bullets:

  1. What have you done?
  2. You came here to make me a victim!
  3. You know about my sin!
  4. You came to cause me grief!
  5. You tricked me into believing in your hope and change!
  6. You were supposed to be The Man!
  7. You have taken the joy of my heart, killing my son!

Elijah, the calm leader, responds:

  1. He carries the burden
  2. He prays over the one he has been given to serve
  3. He serves out of compassion, as a servant-leader

The child is restored and Elijah carries the child back to the arms of the mother—the mother recognizes that Elijah is the servant-leader of God.

Can your mind picture the response of the mother as she lives out her years; in addition, the son’s response as he learns of the servant-leader’s faithfulness even in a time of difficulty.

How is your servant-leadership working for you? It is not how pretty you are, but the direction of your heart.

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Written by Dr. Larry Lightner

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