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Parson to person: We remember history the way we want to
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I was reading in the Old Testament book of 1 Kings 18 and another passage popped into my mind. Ecclesiastes 1:9 reminds us "History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new" (Ecclesiastes 1:9, NLT). Perhaps this passage in Ecclesiastes is true because mankind has an appalling record of refusing to learn from history, so much so that today if we don’t like the lessons of history, we simply rewrite that history. But I digress.

In 1 Kings 18 we observe an epic encounter between God’s prophet Elijah and the wicked King of Israel, Ahab. In an earlier chapter we get a picture of this king of whom the Bible says, "Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him" (1 Kings 16:30, NIV). He was king, so Israel followed him in his evil ways.

God sends judgment upon the nation in the form of a major drought. "Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word’" (1 Kings 17:1, NIV). That drought lasted for three years and for three years Ahab not only cursed Elijah (blaming him for the drought) but he sought to kill him, and when he couldn’t find him, he and his wife settled for killing every true prophet they could find while enshrining the false prophets of Baal and Asherah in their place.

At the end of three years, God sent Elijah back to confront Ahab, and this is the part I want you to see, when Ahab meets Elijah the first words out of his mouth are, "Is that you, you troubler of Israel?"

From the dawn of time humankind has twisted the truth. The prophet Isaiah wrote, "How terrible it will be for people who call good things bad and bad things good, who think darkness is light and light is darkness, who think sour is sweet and sweet is sour. How terrible it will be for people who think they are wise and believe they are clever" (Isaiah 5:20-21, NCV). That is what Ahab does with Elijah and that is what many do today when confronted by anyone who stands for the truth of God’s word.

If you continue to read the rest of the chapter of 1 Kings 18, you will be struck with a much more positive truth (depending upon your perspective that is). That truth is that God will prevail. God is not defined or confined by popular vote; neither is he defined by culture. Some would like to redefine God based upon what is happening in the world. They may do that, but they will never know who God really is by taking that approach.

God has revealed himself to us in the pages of the Bible (his written word) and in the person of his son (his living word). Like Ahab you can seek to erect your false gods, you can persecute and kill those who bring you the word of the living God, but like Ahab you will discover that no matter how many stand with you in agreement, it is God’s word that will prevail. You can curse that to your own destruction or you can embrace it to your own salvation. I have to tell you, don’t count on the deceptive lie that truth is determined by majority rule. Truth determined by majority rule or political might led to the Hitlers, Stalins, Mao Tse-tungs and Ahabs of this world. If you want lasting peace, purpose and hope, you will only find it through God’s unchanging truth.

Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington. He can be heard Thursdays on the radio on WMVV 90.7 (FM) at 8:30 p.m.