|"If any man speak, let him
of God..." (I Peter 4:11)
|Art Thou He
“And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth
Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye
have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and hast followed Baalim” (1 Kings 18:17-18).
The king of Israel accused the prophet of Jehovah of being a troublemaker in Israel. There was
turmoil in the kingdom, and the king placed that blame on the man of God. Yet, Elijah stated
that it was Ahab that had troubled Israel by his failure to remain faithful to the word of the LORD,
and his introduction of idolatry into the land.
It is recorded: “And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were
before him. And it came to pass, is if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of
Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he too to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the
Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. And he reared up an altar for Baal
in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did
more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before
him” (1 Kings 16:30-33).
He accused Elijah of troubling Israel because he withstood his evil ways and denounced them.
Ahab had slain prophets of God, and forced Elijah to flee into the mountains. Yet, he blamed
Elijah for the drought which had come upon Israel because of his forsaking Jehovah.
Today, the church of God is spiritual Israel (Galatians 6:16). And it, too, has its Ahabs which
forsake the commandments of the Lord. Hymenaeus and Alexander are but two examples of
those who did so in the church of the first century (1 Timothy 1:20). It is, therefore, no surprising
there would also be those of the twentieth century who would do the same.
The apostle warned of this when he said:”But there were false prophets also among the
people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable
heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift
destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth
shall be evil spoken of” (2 Peter 2:1-2; see also the rest of the chapter).
Even as Ahab falsely accused Elijah of being a troubler in Israel, so those who trouble the
church with their false doctrine and/or practices accuse those who oppose them of being
troublemakers in the church. But as in the case of Elijah and Ahab; the trouble is in forsaking
the way of the Lord. If a man opposes something unjustly, then he is a trouble in Israel; but, if
he speaks that which is true in opposition to that which is false, then the troubler is the
introducer of false doctrine and/or practice.
It is my purpose to be true to the charge of the apostle to the young evangelist: “I charge thee
therefore before God, an the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his
appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove,
rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not
endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they help to themselves teachers, having
itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of
thy ministry” (2 Timothy 4:1-5).
This will include warning against error. That means some will undoubtedly label me as a
troubler in Israel. But, the real test is: Is what I say the truth? If it is not, if it can be shown to me, I
will repent. But, if it is the truth, who is the troubler in Israel? Who the troubler is depends upon
Sowing discord among the brethren is an abomination in the sight of Jehovah (Proverbs 6:
14,16). Strife is a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). Yet, the “dissension and disputation” of
Paul and Barnabas with the Judaizing teachers in Antioch was not sinful on the part of Paul and
Barnabas, but on the part of the false teachers (Acts 15:1-2). We should be set for the defense
of the gospel (Philippians 1:17) and be ready to contend for the faith (Jude 3). But, we must
take pains to be sure that we are right!
Let us not be a troubler in Israel by teaching and/or practicing that which is a forsaking of the
ways of the Lord. Let us always defend and contend for that which is right in the eyes of God, in
accordance with his will.
In whose shoes do you find yourself? Are you in Ahab’s, accusing others of being a troubler in
Israel because they oppose your false ways? Or, are you in Elijah’s, opposing the forsaking of
the commandments of Jehovah? May we all find ourselves always in the shoes of Elijah.