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    Jim Schultz's Blog
          The story of Old Testament holy man Elijah in novel form, told from the first person perspective of Obadiah, a minor player in the Biblical story but a larger character in the novel, serving as a witness to the events of the story. Obadiah is a secret follower of Elijah, whose mission is to lead the king and people of Israel back from the apostate worship of false gods to the One True God. The insecurities and fears of Ahab, king of Israel are detailed in this story, along with the trials of Elijah, from his greatest miracles to the debilitating weaknesses and fears of persecution by Queen Jezebel. Elijah's story comes to represent the strengths, weaknesses and struggles of modern day Christians and provides insight into their ongoing walk with God. This novel is written in an appealing, semi King James sounding style that succeeds in carrying forth the pleasing majesty of the old King James Bible, but remains easier to read and understand the old "King's English" style of writing.

    Tue, Nov 17th - 10:44PM

    Elijah The Tishbite Chapter 1

    I Obadiah, follower of the true God and governor of the household of King Ahab, seventh king of Israel, have determined the importance of recording certain strange events, miracles and occurrences, with hopes and prayers that future generations of Israel may learn valued lessons from these dark times and know forevermore to never again distance themselves from the one true God of all creation. For I bore witness to these events and knew the persons involved, and having such first hand knowledge of these things, and knowing their importance to our people’s future, how could I think the Lord my God would expect less of me?

    It was long before the age of kings came upon us, yea, even before the time when our Lord God formed our people into a mighty nation, during the age of our great forefather Abraham that God made it known unto him that his descendants would be forever set aside as a people special and peculiar unto God, and that in the seed of Abraham all people of the earth would come to be blessed by obedience and faith unto our mighty God. But as the generations passed, our people would forever fail to remain obedient and loyal to Him, straying blindly into the worship of false gods that though nonexistent and powerless, were detestably evil as they detracted from the worship of the true God. The worship of these false gods came to be known of by our rulers and many times even practiced and encouraged by kings who would come to establish the worship of idols as the normal practice for our nation, eventually passing on such evil practice as a blasphemous inheritance to kings that came to succeed them in the governance of our people.

    Such was the sad case with King Ahab, whom I served with great loyalty as governor of household and palace in our capital city of Samaria. For it had now been since the time of Jeroboam, who rebelled against wise Solomon, that the kings of Israel had turned away from their God to follow after the worship of detestable idols. And before Ahab ruled his apostate father, King Omri, who did more evil before the eyes of God than any of our kings which came before him. But yet did King Ahab come to make even more evil than his father, and thus came to anger our God even more than King Omri or any of the kings that came before. For it was Ahab that continued to bow wantonly before idols, and who married the beautiful Phoenician princess Queen Jezebel, a worshipper of the false god Baal. And in order to please his wife, it came to pass that Ahab built a temple in Samaria to Baal, and erected a wooden image to the false goddess Asherah. And it was King Ahab that forsook the curse of Joshua and permitted that Hiel rebuild the city of Jericho with the evil sacrifice his first-born son to commemorate the beginning of the construction and the sacrifice of his youngest son to commemorate the completion. And it was King Ahab, whom in order to please Queen Jezebel finally came to order the slaughter of the school of God’s prophets, of which I, Obadiah was secretly a member thereof.

    For I was a minor and poorly gifted student in that school of the prophets whilst also serving as the governor of the household and palace of apostate King Ahab and his wife Queen Jezebel. And it was through this association with the school of the prophets that I came to know of the strange cave dweller called Elijah the Tishbite, from the distant, eastern land of Gilead who was sent by our God to call forth our king and people from the false idols of Baal, back to the righteous worship of our true God. It may be, I sometimes ponder, that our God placed me in that peculiar position by intent, determining that I would be both servant of the apostate king on the one hand and student to Elijah, the prophet of God on the other, bearing witness to both at the same time so that there may be first hand account to these great events so as to record them for the reading and learning of generations to follow. It is this suspicion that drives me to record the events of those days, that I may at last be of some meaningful service to my God.

    So it came to pass after the slaughter of the school of the prophets had been ordered, after many were already murdered and many more still hunted in the wilderness of Israel, that strange Elijah arrived without announcement at the palace of the king in the early hours of the evening as the moon was still low on the horizon. My king’s dinner was just finished and he was drinking wine alone in the courtyard of his private room when I was told of the arrival of an unnamed vagabond from the wilderness, demanding to speak with the king. Though common procedure would have been to send the person away with generous portions of food, I was nearby the palace gate so in keeping with common practice, I ordered that food be brought but went to the gate myself anyway, discovering that it was Elijah while still distant enough that neither he nor the worrisome guards saw me approaching from the shadowed hallway of the palace.

    “I bear word for the king,” I heard him say in response to questions from Beerah, the captain of King Ahab’s guard, “words for King Ahab’s ears only.”

    “The king’s business is done for the day!” snapped an assistant to Beerah. I slowed my approach and paused in the shadows, midway between two oil lamps decorating the wall of the palace, watching Beerah from my shadowed vantage point as he paced a slow circle of intimidation around Elijah, studying him with caution and suspicion.

    Elijah shook his head stubbornly as I knew he would whilst the breeze from the open gate behind him gently blew his long, black hair forward, partially obscuring his brown, weather beaten face. He spoke calmly and deliberately, in a voice that I recognized from gatherings of the prophets, “These words are not for tomorrow, they are important.”

    “What are your words!” shouted impatient Beerah, loudly enough to send faint echoes back from the long, dark corridors of the palace.

    “Beerah,” I called out, stepping quickly into the light thrown out by the lamps on the walls, “send a man to bring the king. Do it on my authority if you wish.”

    “You know this man?” he demanded, “This beggar from the wilderness?”

    “I know of him Beerah,” I cautiously answered, being something less than honest as I drew near them.

    I found out with certainty that day that I am not as brave a man as I would like to be. I had never faced real hazard before that day and even then, my hazard was not imminent, but merely immediate enough to intimidate me. I didn’t yet know the reason for Elijah’s sudden appearance but I knew his feelings about the King and that they were not good. I knew also that he would not hide his feelings from the king and that to reveal to Beerah all that I knew of Elijah would be to invite the suspicions of the king and his guard onto myself, and to my shame I was not able to act with such courage. For Elijah was a master of the school of the prophets, which stood condemned and hunted by the king and queen, and I was secretly a member of this group. And though I had never spoken to him, I had heard Elijah speak many times at our gatherings before the group was condemned. Unlike me he was a bold man, and the truest of the prophets, with a spirit that was kindled by the indwelling presence of the living God. I knew with great certainty from the moment I saw him in the palace, that his time with King Ahab be a meeting of confrontation, which would bid gravely for anyone associated with him.

    Elijah glanced down the corridor at me as I approached and though I sensed in my heart that he recognized me from the gatherings of the prophets, I gave him neither greeting nor acknowledgement, as a man braver than myself might have done. To my shame I looked downward as if he were a stranger or merely someone whom I had heard about instead of someone I had listened to intently at the meetings of the prophets. I was nearly certain that he would recognize me and fearful that he would expose me in calling me by name or greeting me personally but he looked away from me instead, accepting my lack of courage silently.

    Elijah was a man who bore the untamed and unkempt appearance of many like him who lived in the caves of the harsh wilderness, most of whom were much feared and shunned by others as men not fit for normal society, whose minds were strange and worked contrary to that which was normal. He was average in height and not especially robust but yet was he strong in appearance, leanly muscled and seeming to be a man of great energy. His hair hung below the length of his shoulders, often falling before his eyes, was almost never brushed, and black in color as also was his thick, untrimmed beard. His skin was the darkest brown in color from living constantly beneath the sun and black hair grew more thickly than on most men from his chest, back and legs, giving him an even rougher, more beast like appearance than others who lived in the harsh wilderness surrounding Samaria. The clothing Elijah wore were mere animal skins made into a course, primitive kind of leather to form a long sleeveless garment that hung loosely from his shoulders to his knees, tied at the waist with an old, frayed cord. An average person might easily dismiss him as a vagabond from a distance but upon greater closeness would have second thoughts, as Elijah’s eyes were sharp and alert and his form was not malnourished, and neither did he carry himself as a man of hopeless existence. He wore the clothes of a vagabond but bore the disciplined air of intent about him, as if he knew himself purposed for something greater than what his appearance suggested. One might wonder upon looking into his strange, darkly brown eyes if his purpose was sane or mad, but one would certainly not suspect the listless or directionless life of a simple vagabond.

    Beerah completed his slowly paced circle around Elijah as I neared and turned his questioning, hostile eyes onto me.

    “He is called Elijah,” I explained, hoping to give of the appearance of knowing much less about him than I actually did, “I believe he comes from the eastern land of Gilead, beyond the River Jordan.”

    Elijah remained motionless but for his intense, watchful eyes, shifting them from Beerah to myself as I spoke, again bringing worry to me that he might reveal my association with the school of the prophets, of which he was a master.

    After a long and anxious moment Elijah finally nodded his head in agreement, “From near the city of Tishbe, at the Brook of Kerith,” he added, “but how did you know my home without knowing me?”

    My heart relaxed at his words. I could tell by his intent stare into my eyes that he did remember me from those many meetings with the other prophets. I did not know if he sensed my fear at being exposed and was reacting in consideration of that, or if he decided for his own reasons to not reveal my identity. I suppose it was even possible that Elijah thought it was I who failed to recognize him since the meetings of the prophets were normally in the evening hours by firelight but regardless, my identity was apparently secure with him.

    The man I’d sent earlier for food arrived behind us, standing silently to the side and holding a large silver tray, which bore bread, fruits and wine.

    Beerah sneered at Elijah sarcastically as he plucked a pomegranate from the tray and held it close to the strange prophet’s face, “Were you sent by your king in such fine garments to beg food?” he asked mockingly.

    Elijah raised his hand quickly and forcefully knocked the pomegranate away from his face, “Not for food,” he said plainly, “for no more than a word in the ear of your king.”

    The irritated voice of King Ahab echoing down the corridor, accompanied by the heavier footsteps of his accompanying guard cut off Beerah before he could respond to Elijah’s unexpected boldness.

    “A beggar!” I heard him complain indignantly. “I am summoned to hear the words of a beggar come to my gate?”

    Beerah stepped away from Elijah glancing at me coldly, seeming to fight back a smile that might have mocked my earlier order to bring the king. Elijah glanced at me also, perceiving my anxiousness at the king’s anger, but remaining silent for now.

    “On your authority Obadiah?” shouted Ahab indignantly.

    From the dark corridor I saw the king emerge into the light thrown by the oil lamps mounted on the walls. His evening robe was maroon colored but plain in comparison to the richly embroidered and decorated robes that he wore during daytime hours and more loosely fitted for greater comfort and relaxation. Ahab was a bit shorter than most men, round faced and portly without being obviously heavy. His hair and thin beard were well groomed with gray hairs having replaced almost half of the darker black hairs of his younger days.

    Wine sloshed carelessly from the top of his goblet as he came to a stop just a few paces short of Elijah, eyeing him indignantly with Beerah and I standing between the two of them at either side, “You summon me on the demands of a beggar?” he shouted angrily without taking his eyes from Elijah, “Why?”

    “Ahab!” shouted Elijah suddenly.

    The prophets strong voice echoed slightly against the corridors of the palace and Beerah’s soldierly grip was instantly upon the hilt of his sword. The guard beside Ahab stepped forward, and from near the open gate behind Elijah, two more guards advanced quickly, swords drawn, stopping less than an arms reach from Elijah, who seemed to either not notice or not care about their threatening reaction. The king stared back at Elijah, through the strands of hair that fell past the prophet’s heavy eyebrows, into the flickering firelight that reflected off the wetness of the prophets dark eyes.

    “By the life of the Lord God of all Israel, before whom I now stand,” continued Elijah boldly, “there shall be no dew nor rain on the land for these years forthcoming, except according to my word, King Ahab!”

    King Ahab was silent for a long, tense moment of time, taken aback as he was not used to men behaving boldly in his presence. He frowned contemptuously back at the prophet and silently raised his wine to his lips. Beerah and the guards stood as statues, frozen and tensely waiting, either for orders from the king or movement from the prophet Elijah, who glared back fearlessly into the contemptuous eyes of King Ahab.

    “You come as a vagabond to threaten draught upon my kingdom?” growled Ahab. “What madman sent you with this threat? Where did you-“

    “No!” shouted Elijah. “This kingdom is of people and land that belong only to God, not to you King Ahab!”

    “Who are you!” shouted the king.

    “It matters not Ahab! Heed my words and-“

    Ahab suddenly flung his goblet angrily through the air, missing the head of Elijah and sending it out the gate of the palace, splattering wine onto the faces of Beerah and one of the two guards to the rear of Elijah. The prophet ducked downward instinctively, pushing away the guard positioned behind him and spinning around on one foot, launching himself toward the gate in a mad dash and breaking headlong into the cool nighttime air, sprinting madly toward the land’s distant horizon before the guards were able to react.

    “Take him!” shouted Ahab, lunging forward to push Beerah toward the gate. “Take horses and return him to me alive!”

    I stepped back quickly as the guards near the gate rushed for horses in compliance with the king’s orders. Beerah stopped suddenly, pausing just outside the gate and jabbing his finger at me, “Speak to this man my king! Ask questions of him!” he shouted hurriedly, “For he knows this person’s name to be Elijah! Obadiah knows-”

    “Elijah?” shouted the king. “That man is the one called Elijah!”

    Beerah stopped pointing at me and dropped his hand as confusion came over his face. “You know of this name, my king?”

    “Capture him Beerah!” shouted the king. “Take him alive and return him to me!”

    Beerah disappeared out the gate of the palace as the sound of pounding hooves came to our ears. Three of the king’s guard approached on horseback, one of them leading Beerah’s horse close behind. The king stepped forward toward the gate, eyeing me sideways with suspicious menace as Beerah mounted his beast and vanished quickly into the forefront of an ever-lengthening cloud of dust behind left by the frantic pounding of the hooves of the four beasts. I looked away from the kings stare and fell in beside him as he continued through the gate, feeling his eyes heavy on me and knowing that my life was now suddenly endangered. The recognition in Ahab’s voice upon hearing Elijah’s name was apparent. The king knew something of Elijah and now realized that I also had some type of knowledge of him.

    I bent down and picked up the bejeweled goblet that Ahab had cast at Elijah’s face. Distantly, beyond the horses, I saw a running speck that was Elijah, moving ever closer to the horizon, illuminated by the bright light of the full moon still resting low in the sky. I knew the riders mounted on those horses could also see Elijah and I knew well the fleetness of horses over that of a man. I also knew with certainty though, that no matter how fast these guards might speed their beasts in useless pursuit, Elijah the Tishbite would never be captured.

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    About Me

    Name: Jim Schultz
    ChristiansUnite ID: seekeratthesea
    Member Since: 2009-11-17
    Location: , California, United States
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