Friday, June 16, 2017

June 16: 1 Kings 15:25 – 17; Psalm 135:1-10; Proverbs 17:9-11; Acts 10:24-48



Overview

            1 Kings: In Israel: Jeroboam’s son, Nadab reigned two years and sinned in the same way as his father. Baasha the son of Ahijah of Issachar killed him. Baasha then killed all the rest of Jerovboam’s house as prophesied by Ahijah the Shilonite. This was because of Jeroboam’s sins.
            Baasha reigned 24 years and did evil just as Jeroboam had. Jehu prophesied against Baasha saying that all his house would be wiped out just like Jeroboam’s was because of his sin. When Baasha died, his son, Elah took over. He reigned two years. While he was drunk, Zimri killed him in Tirzah.
            Zimri wiped out Baasha’s house according to the word from Jehu. Zimri lasted seven days. Israel made Omri king. Omri and the army besieged Tirzah. Zimri went into the king’s house and set it on fire. He died in the fire.
            Half the people followed Tibni but Omri’s forces won and Tibni died. Omri reigned for twelve years, six years in Tirzah. He bought the hill of Samaria, fortified it and called it Samaria. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. He did more evil than his predecessors. He died and his son, Ahab took over.
            Ahab reigned 22 years and did even more evil than Omri. His wife was Jezebel, the daughter of the Sidonian king. During his reign, Hiel rebuilt Jericho at the cost of and his firstborn son and his youngest according to the word that Joshua had spoken.
            Elijah told Ahab there would be a drought in Israel until he said it would end. The Lord told him to flee and he lived by a brook where ravens feed him. When the brook dried up the Lord told him to go to Zarephath where a widow would take care of him. When he arrived, she was about to cook her last flour with her last oil. Elijah told her to cook for him, her son, and herself. The flour and oil would continue until the drought ended. She obeyed and the food kept coming.
            After a while the son became ill. She blamed Elijah but he took the boy and asked the Lord why he brought calamity on the widow. He then prayed for the boy and the Lord listened to Elijah. The boy revived and the widow said she now knew Elijah was a man of God.
            Psalm: We servants of the Lord are to praise the Lord. We praise him in his house and his courts. We praise him because he is good and his name is pleasant and he chose Israel as his own. He is above all other gods. He does what he wants in all parts of the earth. He raises clouds, makes lightening, rain, and wind. He killed the firstborn of Egypt and also performed other miracles there. He wiped out nations and their kings.
            Proverbs: Not blabbing about an offence demonstrates love but telling others ruins relationships. Rebuking a wise person does more good in him than beating a fool. Evil people are rebels at heart and they will receive a cruel message.
            Acts: Peter and his companions went to Caesarea and came to Cornelius. Cornelius had a group of relatives and friends waiting for Peter. Cornelius tried to worship Peter but Peter stopped him. He explained that contrary to Jewish custom, God had showed him the was not to call other people common or unclean. He asked why Cornelius sent for him.
            Cornelius explained about the angel. He said they were there in God’s presence waiting to hear what the Lord commanded Peter.
            Peter started by saying that God doesn’t show partiality but anyone in all nations who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to him. He then summarized Jesus’ ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection. Peter said he and the others are witnesses and have been commanded to tell everyone that Jesus is the judge of the living and the dead. The prophets all teach that belief in Jesus brings forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name.
            The Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles and they started speaking in tongues. The Jews that were came with Peter were amazed that the Holy Spirit had come on Gentiles. Peter asked if any could prevent them from being baptized and then baptized them in the name of Jesus Christ.

What Stood Out

            1 Kings: “And the Lord listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived” (1 Kings 17:22).
            Psalm: “Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good … Whatever the Lord pleases, he does” (Ps 135:3, 6).
            Proverbs: “Whoever covers an offense seeks love” (Prov 17:9).
            Acts: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:34-35).

Insight

            1 Kings: Elijah and the widow of Zarephath presents some interesting theology. The widow obeyed Elijah and fed him some of her very last food. She was ready to starve to death along with her boy. That seems like she had a lot of faith. However, it may have simply been her resignation to her fate. She was most likely surprised that the food didn’t run out just as Elijah had promised. Her lack of faith really showed up when her son died and she blamed Elijah. She doesn’t mention anything about God. It is all Elijah’s fault like he was some kind of magician who had cast a bad spell on her son.
            While Elijah doesn’t lose his faith in God, he admits that he doesn’t understand why God took the life of the child. He didn’t let that stop him from stretching out on the boy and praying for his revival. Notice, though, that the Lord didn’t respond to Elijah stretching out on the boy, but the Lord listened to Elijah’s voice. The widow’s response may very well be the purpose of the boy’s death. She now believed that God spoke through Elijah. He wasn’t a magician but a prophet of God. In this, she had to admit that it was God who did the miracles.
            We sometimes get too wrapped up in our prayer format or ritual to realize that God simply answers our prayers because he listens to us. We also forget that what looks like calamity often ends in someone’s faith being strengthened.
            Psalm: We all need to have a firm foundational belief that God is good. If we don’t, we can’t really praise him. If we see some calamity and don’t really believe he is good, we can’t praise him in the midst of the problem. The widow of Zarephath didn’t believe he was good until her son was revived. We have the Bible and can read all that has happened since the beginning of the world and what will happen at the end. God does as he pleases and we must believe he is good or much of what we see doesn’t make sense. If we believe he is good, then we can trust him just as Elijah did.
            Proverbs: In any relationship, one person or the other is likely to offend the other. If they want to have a loving relationship, they will not blab that offence to other people. Covering it up is not stuffing it away where it festers either. A loving relationship will talk about it and work it out in a godly fashion.
            Acts: Peter’s statement in Acts 10:34-35 that God accepts anyone who fears God and does what is right make salvation appear to available to people based on limited knowledge and good works. It is similar to Romans 2:6-11. When someone asks how people in some forlorn location who have never heard of Jesus can be saved, you could quote this to them. However, you wouldn’t be telling the whole truth. It would make it sound like there isn’t a need for us to carry the gospel to these people since they can be saved without knowing Jesus.
            There is the contradiction. Some verses make it appear that those who have never heard the gospel can be saved without it. Then there are other verses that clearly say there is salvation only in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12). Romans 10:9-15 teaches that salvation comes from believing and confessing. It then asks us how someone can believe unless he has heard. The implied response is that they can’t be saved without hearing.
            How do you reconcile these? I think the story of Cornelius is the answer. Cornelius believed in God but didn’t know about salvation in Jesus. God worked to make sure he heard the gospel and was then saved. Likewise, if a person truly fears God and is doing right (but no one does right all the time for we are all sinners), then God will move to make sure that he or she will have the opportunity to hear about Jesus. The application for us is to be available when God sends us to someone. We can’t cop out by saying God will save them without the gospel.

Application

             We need to have a 100% belief that God is good. That affects the way we pray and how we handle answers that aren’t what we wanted. It affects how we relate to others. It affects how we respond to witnessing opportunities. We can’t really trust God if we don’t believe he is good.

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