To provoke the LORD God to anger, to do evil in the sight of the LORD, is to lead people into idolatry—the worship of other gods that don’t exist; it’s to embrace and value the creature over the Creator; it’s the snubbing of our nose to God by embracing acts of worship that deny His name—Elohim, Yahweh (16).
Kings like Baasha, Zimri, Omri, Ahab Omris’ son caused Israel to sin (16:19, 26) by worshipping the imaginary “gods” of the surrounding nations. All the while, God is faithful to bring His word through the prophets in season. Elijah comes on the seen as God’s mouth piece and says:
“Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” (17:1)
These words come from one greater than the king, they are sourced in Yahweh, in God who owns Israel and everything on earth. At a time when idolatry was at an all-time high, God is faithful to bring His word, He does not leave himself without a witness—from a word man.
The colorful and dramatic unfolding of Elijah’s story is fascinating. First, God provides food through a raven (a bird) and a widow (weak woman) to demonstrate to Elijah that God’s sovereignty over all creation includes Him feeding His own in famine. Here we see that “lack” plus “God” equals “I shall not want” (consider Psalm 23).
Second, idolaters despise God’s heralded word. The truth of God’s word to the non-believer is an abomination to them (18:17) but Elijah pushes back with whose really the abomination; “you [King Ahab] have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and you have followed the Baals.” (18:18).
Third, worship that’s acceptable to God is specifically revealed by Him. God will not be approached cavalierly through the whims of the creature revealing both God’s holy character and skill for design (18:22-46). That is, because God is creator of everything, by divine right he says what worship is and how it is to be done. To rebel against Him is to embrace death, and each one of us will give a personal account to Him who is!