Does the Old Testament paint a different picture of God than the God we worship today? I am starting a series on the story of God as seen in Elijah, so we can see the character of God and how he acts towards his people. The more I read the Old Testament; I see the love, compassion and grace of God evident.
Many think the two testaments contain two different Gods. In the New Testament, we see the God of grace, but in the Old Testament we see the God of wrath. I say nae nae to that. Some people see a capricious God who punishes people who don’t follow him. These people are not looking at the whole of the Bible to get a proper perspective of the God of the Bible.
In the Old Testament, God extends grace far longer than any of us would ever extend grace. Let’s look at the story of Elijah and Ahab.
Here we have a wicked king…a guy who aims at outdoing his predecessors when it comes to wickedness. He shot for the moon as he led the worship of Baal and other gods in the northern kingdom of Israel. Ahab and his wife Jezebel to this day remain some of the most infamous leaders of God’s people…and I don’t mean “in” famous, more than famous. They led the Kingdom of Israel further and further from God. At this point the king who led the people in the natural sense and the prophets who led the people spiritually peaked in their contention.
It is here that Elijah pops onto the scene and we see God’s character of compassion and presence with his people. In this story, we see a God of provision who cares for his people. Elijah’s introductory bio gives little detail as to his background, but we quickly get a sense of his character and fearlessness as he goes to Ahab to pronounce God’s discipline on the wicked northern kingdom. God will now withhold rain for an unknown and extended amount of time bringing back to mind the promises he laid out for his people before they entered the land flowing with milk and honey. God promised ongoing blessings to his people if they followed his way, but curses on those who rejected him. His patient waiting for the northern kingdom to return to God came to an end when he brought discipline through the drought he warned of in Deuteronomy 28:22-24.
It is as though God says to Ahab and his wife from the land of Sidon that I am going to stop the rain in this beautiful land for the first time in your people’s history, and there is nothing your beloved Baal (the god of rain and lightning) can do about it.
After that, Elijah fled for the barren area of the river. At Elijah hid amongst the rocks and crags as God sent ravens to him carrying meat in the mornings and evenings. God always takes care of our needs. His provision isn’t such to make us rich or bless our socks off, but a provision to meet us where we are and take care of us. I am reminded of another simple man of prayer, George Mueller. This German missionary to London, England took care of orphans, 10,000 over 60 years. Early in his ministry he determined to let God be his source of provision and refused to take a salary as a pastor. Out of this simple faith, he resolved to allow God provide for the children as he prayed daily for them. He said that if the children ever missed a meal that would be evidence that God wanted him to stop the orphanage. They never missed a meal over the six decades of his care. God takes care of us.
If you are reading this and find yourself in a point of struggle, know that God knows where you are and wants to meet your needs.