Prophetic Interruption

In the Jewish tradition, Elijah is the prophet par excellence. And what's striking about Elijah is how out-of-nowhere he enters the story. 1 Kings is rolling along, bad king after bad king, and then...boom! Elijah appears.

Wicked king Ahab is reigning, cozy and contented with how his day and life is shaping up, and out of nowhere, this:
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)
Nothing in the narrative sets this up. It comes out of nowhere. A bolt from the blue. A lightning strike. No back story. No setup. No warning. No preamble. No warm up act. No nothing. Just the prophet of God showing up unannounced on the doorstep of an empire to say, in so many words, "Everything is about to change."

Elijah's appearance out of nowhere is one of the great biblical illustrations of prophetic interruption, God showing up out of the blue to indict, surprise, and subvert the status quo.

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