1 Kings 16:29 tells of the beginning of Ahab's reign. Thus far, he was the most openly wicked king of Israel. Before him, kings would set up golden calves and say they were worshiping the true God through them. They weren't. God's second commandment expressly says not to worship him with images. But northern Israel was geographically cut off from the true temple and true Christian education.
Ahab did not even pretend to worship the true God. He set up a temple for Baal in the capital that he set up in Samaria. He married Jezebel of Tyre, the center of Baal worship. And they persecuted anyone who spoke out against them. Does the world punish people who speak out against the popular gods of our day? Doesn't the worst strife come from within people who call themselves God's people?
This brings on the ministry of Elijah in chapter 17. Since Baal was the fertility god, and his followers thought they could get him to send rain if they could influence him and Asherah to have sex by also having sex, Elijah told them that God would not send rain for the next three years unless Elijah asked him to. This would show that all their religion was based on licentiousness that had no effect. Their rebellion was in vain. And since Elijah was speaking against what they really loved, their passions, he lived in exile while God fed him through ravens.
And he escaped to Zarephath where a widow and her son took him in. He asked her to give him the last of her bread, and as long as he lived with her, her jar did not run out of oil, and she always had bread to eat. And when her son suddenly died, Elijah revived him.
Does following the Lord make you lonely? In the state of Georgia, almost everyone thinks that they are Christian, but do they actually follow the Lord? I came to Christ when I was about 11, and I was very lonely through high school because the people who started out as my friends wanted to follow the world and belong with the popular crowd. I decided that following the Lord was more important.
Later on, I found my kind of people, but mostly I must be content with loneliness. I'll quote someone, and if she reads this, she'll know I'm quoting her: "There's Christian, and then there's really Christian." Really Christian is lonely. But those who follow the Lord will find him sustaining them with ravens. And those who stand up for those who follow him will find their oil not running out and their hearts satisfied. And I simply need to believe that God listens to me when I pray and is for me and not against me. And I praise God every day for those who stand by me and back me up, providing a visible sign of God's love for me. And I pray that God will keep them strong, too.