Weekly Thought: Encouragement from Every Book 1 Kings: Uneven Faith

Faith can be an unsteady endeavor. For most of us, our faith and our faithfulness
unfortunately ebbs and flows. Spiritual triumphs are followed by defeat. Trust in the Lord goes
up and down. Sometimes, we feel a fire in our bones to be all that God wants us to be, but other
times the Lord feels totally distant. Despite how it might seem, this phenomenon is not evidence
of any inconsistency or absence on the part of God. Rather, it is a product of our faulty
perception of our circumstances.
Just as in the book of Judges, in 1 Kings we see over and over again this pattern of ups
and downs (although there are admittedly more moments of failure than of obedience). King
Solomon starts off with impressive humility and desire for wisdom in 1 Kings 3, yet even he
plummets into the snare of idolatry and evil by taking many foreign wives. On a larger scale,
God’s people cycle through periods of faithfulness and disobedience. As the kingdom of God
splits as a result of Solomon’s sin, we read of many kings from both the northern kingdom of
Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. Sometimes kings uphold righteousness, but when they
do, it is not long before the next generation succumbs to the pull of sinful ways once again.
Interestingly, almost every king that is mentioned is measured against the standard of David’s
faithfulness to God. Ironically, the writer of 1 Kings reminds us that even David was not quite so
consistent either. Speaking of King Abijam, he writes:

“And he walked in all the sins that his father did before him, and his heart was not wholly true to
the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father. Nevertheless, for David’s sake the Lord his
God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, setting up his son after him, and establishing
Jerusalem, because David did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn aside from

anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the
Hittite” (1 Kings 15:3-5).

So David was completely devoted to God, except for when he wasn’t. So it goes with the
human heart. The unevenness of human faithfulness is not only evident in generational shifts and
trends, but we know from our own experience that it can even occur on a personal level from day
to day. One example of this in 1 Kings comes in chapters 18 and 19 as we read about the great
prophet Elijah. In 1 Kings 18, Elijah proves to be a shining example of boldness, courage, and
faith as he alone stands up to the wicked King Ahab and the 450 evil prophets of Baal. He
challenges them to a test with total faith that the Lord will be shown to be the true God of Israel.
Whichever god sends fire down is the true and living God. After the prophets of Baal fail
spectacularly, Elijah builds an altar and calls for a great amount of water to poured around it and
then calls for fire from heaven. God undeniably shows up in fire and power, and the prophets of
Baal are defeated. One man’s faith in the great might of God led to a victory over the
surrounding enemies. Elijah’s faith displays itself further at the end of the chapter when he is
confident that God will end the three-year drought. Seven times Elijah sends a servant to check
for signs of a rainstorm.1 Kings 18:44 says this:

“And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the
sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop