Topical and Doctrinal Notes
Leading Thought: Ahab and Elijah
We are in one of the most interesting stories of the Old Testament, and again we find the Old and New Testaments closely connected, for this story is referred to in the New Testament, not only in the Gospels (Luke 4:24-26) but also in the Revelation. Look up Revelation 2:20, in the message to the angel of the Church in Thyatira. The Jezebel there spoken of is the wife of Ahab. She was the wickedest woman in the Old Testament, and her husband, King Ahab of Israel, or Samaria, allowed her to influence him and to do as she pleased.
She and her husband represent the wickedest loves there are - namely, the loves of self and of the world, when these have the dominion. Do you know what that means? You know what it is to be selfish, and what it is to be unselfish. To think of yourself all the time, and not care for others and their pleasure, is not true adulthood. So long as the loves of self and the world are the chief things a person cares about - or, as we may say, so long as they rule or have dominion over him or her -so long as they do as they please with a person, that person cares nothing for the Word of the Lord. Such people are not interested in it, and would even like to see it put out of the house, out of the schools, and out of the world. (N. 65-83)
Our story tells us about this when it tells that the wicked king and queen who represented these loves hated the prophet Elijah. For Elijah represented the Word of the Lord. Just as Elijah told the people of Israel what the Lord wanted them to know, so the Word of the Lord tells us just what the Lord wants us to know. Elijah therefore represented the Lord's Word, and the teaching or doctrine of the Lord's Divine truth, and the king and queen wished to kill him.
Because of Ahab's wickedness, there was no dew or rain for three years and a half. This lack of water and the resultant famine represent the lack of all really happy spiritual life in the Church when people live only to gratify the loves of self and of the world, and do not care for the Lord's Doctrine.
When people do not care for the Word of the Lord, their souls shrivel and dry up. We cannot see this in the natural world, but if the eyes of your spirit were opened so that you could see the souls or spirits of people, you would find that evil spirits look all wrinkled and dried up, while the good spirits and angels look well-formed and beautiful. They may be compared with the two sets of ears of grain, and the two sets of cows in the dream Pharaoh told Joseph.
Now, no one could have Elijah the prophet live with him because the wicked king and queen were hunting for him everywhere, to have him killed, they hated him so much. But the Lord took care of him as you read in the story.
How wonderful his life at the brook Cherith must have been!
At last, when even this brook dried up, the Lord sent Elijah outside of the land of Israel or Samaria, to a foreign country, to a city called "Zarephath" in Hebrew (or "Sarepta" in Greek), where a widow took care of him. The Lord refers to this in the Gospel of Luke 4:24-26.
We know that every single word in the Holy Word means something. There was a reason why Elijah was sent to a "widow." And what was the reason? A woman is more affectionate than a man. You always find mother a little more loving than father, while on the other hand father is looked up to more for his knowledge, his ideas, his judgment, and his wisdom. A woman therefore stands for good, a man for truth. A woman that has lost her husband by death, that is, a widow, represents a person who loves to be good, but does not know the truth, and yet wishes for it, just as a widow wishes she had her husband. (Her wish is fulfilled after her death when she meets him again in heaven.)
As Elijah represented the Divine truth and the doctrine of Divine truth, he also represented the Lord; therefore, the widow first made a cake, or bread, for him of the little flour and oil she had left; for this act of hers, at a time, too, when she had so little food in the house, represented love to the Lord coming before the love of oneself and one's family.
So you see how beautifully she obeyed the great commandment, "Thou shalt love the Lord above all things." How different from Ahab and Jezebel was this widow! Yet they ruled Israel, and she was poor and of another country. What a contrast her love of the prophet - greater than her love of self and son - compared with the cruel love of self and the world of Ahab and Jezebel!
When we obey the great commandment, then all is right with us, and the Lord can take care of us just as He took care of the widow and her household, who suffered no want during the rest of the days of the famine. Does not this remind you of the story of Solomon of last week, when we read the Lord's injunction, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you"?