Elijah and the Problem with the Democrats and the Republicans

1 Kings 19:1–2 (NIV)

Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”



We left Elijah in the midst of what appeared to be a victory lap, something of a scene from the old Chariots of Fire movie (hint: foreshadowing). Elijah was running like a man possessed toward Jezreel, even passing King Ahab’s chariot on the way.

The power of the Lord came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel. (1 Kings 18:46)

And did I mention it was raining cats and dogs? (For those of you reading in India—and elsewhere—that’s an expression in America; meaning a torrential downpour). What could be better. Elijah was on cloud nine. Elijah must have thought his life was about to drastically improve. Maybe he would get a new home, and some honorific title from the king, perhaps a promotion, even a raise, at least a medal. I picture King Ahab excitedly telling Queen Jezebel all the good news of what had happened. The drought was over. The economy was about to spike up. And then this happened:

So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.”

It was never about rain for Jezebel. It was all about power and control. Baalism, like all worldly systems, was this dastardly, unholy alliance between a nation and a religion manipulated by a power structure to privilege and benefit one group at the cost of another while promising prosperity for everyone (i.e., the politburo and the proletariat, the monarchy and the state church, the Democrats and secular progressivism, the Republicans and Christian nationalism.)

And I know I am painting with a broad brush there and making over-generalized and perhaps unfair associations. Please be assured I am not making political judgments, other than to say the entire system, no matter how noble it may have begun or well-intentioned its leaders may be, is now thoroughly corrupted and irredeemably so. Irredeemably? Yes, systems cannot be redeemed. Only people can be redeemed. And only truly redeemed people can truthfully reform systems. This is why the only viable solution is great awakening. In saying all this I intend to offend no one in particular and everyone in general, and certainly not to prompt angry emails or bitter arguments but the deep internal self-examining question, “Am I offended?” and “Why does this offend me?” and “Is my hope somehow tangled up in an ideological framework (which always attaches itself to some manner of functional idolatry)?”

A few weeks back I was early for church and eavesdropping on the conversation unfolding in the pew behind me. They were somewhat civilly ranting about the problems in the government and the economy and on and on with both agreement and disagreement about the solution. As the worship service was beginning, one of them closed the conversation with this, “Well, one thing is certain, all our hopes are riding on the midterm elections.” 

Okay, take a deep breath. I wanted to delete the last three paragraphs, but am compelled to leave it and suffer the consequences. And what does this have to do with the text anyway, some of you are asking.

Well, nothing and everything. Elijah was not trying to find some tenable moderate position on the political or ideological spectrum somewhere between King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. He lived squarely in the world of the system and the system of the world and yet he was not allied with or beholden to any of it. He was a prophet whose unflinching and costly loyalty was to the God of Israel. He was not beholden to a leader or a party and by now he was thoroughly detached from his own self-interest. He had done the right thing, walking in the way of obedience and yet it was going down as the wrong thing. All of the people were being blessed by God and yet the power structure was being destabilized by the cracking of its false foundation. This, my friends, is what awakening looks like and how it happens. 

This is what prophets and prophetic people do. And they are despised for it. Even crucified. But they have a propensity for losing their way into winning; of rising again. And on the scoreboard of eternity they remain undefeated. 

This is the way—from glory to glory. 


Abba Father, thank you for Elijah and for your prophets. I confess, it is easy to think of prophets as someone special, or at least someone else. It is easy to think the gospel of the kingdom does not concern itself with the petty problems of the world. It is easy to just concede that this is how things have always been and always will be. It is easy to excuse ourselves from inconvenient convictions and just get along and go along. We need awakening, Jesus. I need awakening. I need the piercing grace and truth of the Word of God and the Spirit of God to rend my heart. Yes, Lord, begin with me. Praying in Jesus’ name, amen.


What do you make of this entire unfolding story? Does it encourage you? Are you aligning your life with the pattern of awakening—God reveals and we respond. Are you learning to trust what you can’t see? 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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Comments and Discussion

7 Responses

  1. There is an old saying, one I’m sure that your familiar with: “ the purpose of the sermon is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable .” Well, J.D., you’ve done it with this one! I suspect you’ll probably receive fire from two directions. Such seems the fate of prophets. I’m with you on this one. I’ve come to believe that the temptation to pin our hopes for a better future on secular politics is the lingering effect of 1800 years of Christendom. It’s really hard to let go of something so embedded in our culture. And it effects everything in both church and state. I’m thoroughly convinced that the time has come where God is going to allow that “old wine skin” to perish once and for all. We need to prepare for some forms of persecution, but we all know how this all plays out, the kingdom of God prevails!

  2. Neither treaties, laws, promises, or behavior correctness can change a person’s heart; only Jesus can!
    Lord, change the heart of our leaders where You filter into our government’s structure. May Your Son be the sun that shines on our land!

  3. Jesus first! (Avoid Christian “fractionalism.”)

    When Christ-followers allow human opinions, policies, ideas, or governments to divide them and make them hostile toward each other, they abandon the unity of the Spirit. The result is Christian “fractionalism.”

    Human authority systems are unredeemable because they are operated by fallen human beings (and demonic principalities and powers pulling strings behind the scenes). Regardless of the ideology, manipulative methodology runs the show as what the world considers strength and greatness “lords it over,” puts self-interest first, and pulls rank on people. Jesus told His disciples not to function that way, not to be caught up in world systems.

    Instead, the greatest of Jesus’ followers are called to take the position of the least and to be the servant of all — to be meek, poor in spirit, without titles, celebrators of being persecuted, blessers of those who curse them, directly being led by the Holy Spirit and letting Him freely flows from within them as rivers of living water producing an abundance of the fruit of the Spirit. In other words, as citizens of the kingdom of God, Christ-followers are supposed to live as salt — aliens and pilgrims “in the world, but not of the world” and to keep the living resurrected Jesus always first.

    Without “the Jesus thrill” ever alive and ringing in our heart, it’s easy to fall in line with the world and its chaos. We need continual spiritual awakening!

  4. This is the way… From glory to glory. Thank you for your boldness today, JD. The constant reminder that Jesus saves, not our government, not our fame or fortune, not our own hard work, can save us. This is for Jesus alone!
    But, I do have one question… Why refer to an eternal scoreboard at the end? If Jesus saves, and not our hard work, then there is no scoreboard, correct? Or am I just falling into the age old habit of thinking we all have our own scoreboard in heaven? That my good deeds are listed on one side and my sins are listed on the other, so I’d better make sure the good list is longer than the bad list?
    This just stuck out to me. It is in no way meant to detract from the meat of what you said today. I am so thankful that giving my life to Christ was all that was necessary, for He alone will save. And, how awesome is it that awakening can happen in me by the power of the Holy Spirit? All glory to You, Lord, all glory to You!

  5. JD thanks for the devotion. All of the years I have read this text I never put the two together of the rain and all Jezebel could think about was that Elijah made her look like a fool. It shows just how heard hearted she was. I agree in your assessment of the Democrats and Republicans. Whether left or right we put way too much faith in the political system to solve our problems considering they were the ones who created those problems in the first place.

  6. Are you learning to trust what you can’t see?

    My trust in what i can see, including the church, is deeply shaken.

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