Saturday, June 17, 2017

June 17: 1 Kings 18; Psalm 135:11-21; Proverbs 17:12-13; Acts 11


            1 Kings: After three years, the Lord told Elijah to go back to Ahab and he would send rain. Meanwhile, the famine was severe in Israel so Ahab and Obadiah went looking for water and grass. Obadiah had saved 100 prophets of the Lord from Jezebel who had kill other prophets in Israel. Ahab went in one direction and Obadiah the other.
            Elijah met Obadiah and told him to let Ahab know he had returned. Obadiah was afraid because they had searched for Elijah in many nations but couldn’t find him. He was afraid Ahab would kill him thinking he had deceived Ahab. He was concerned that the Lord would take Elijah away and Ahab would kill him. He explained how he had saved 100 prophets and now Ahab would kill him if he said Elijah was here. Elijah promised he would meet Ahab.
            Ahab blamed Elijah for making trouble for Israel. Elijah responded that it was Ahab and his father’s sins that cause the trouble. Elijah challenged Ahab to meet him on Mount Carmel with the prophets of Baal and Asherah.
            Many people from Israel came to Mount Carmel to see what would happen. Elijah asked who they would follow, God or the Baal. They wouldn’t answer. Elijah proposed a contest where the prophets of Baal got to choose one of two bulls and put it on wood for a sacrifice but not set it on fire. He would do the same and the one who answered by fire would be God.
            The prophets of Baal did so and they frantically asked Baal to answer by fire. They cut themselves and cried aloud. Elijah mocked them and Baal and egged them on. The kept it up until nearly the time of the evening sacrifice. Elijah restored the altar of the Lord with twelve stones, put the wood on it with the bull. He made a trench around the altar and had the people drench it with water three time so the trench filled up.
            At the time of the evening sacrifice, Elijah asked God to let Israel know he is God and Elijah was his servant. He asked that the people’s hearts be turned back to the Lord. Fire came down, burned up the offering, the altar, and all the water in the trench. The people fell on their faces and declared that the Lord is God. Elijah told them to capture all the false prophet and then killed all the prophets of Baal and Asherah (850 men).
            Elijah told Ahab to go, eat, and drink because rain was coming. Elijah prayed for rain and sent his servant to look for clouds seven times. When a small cloud appeared, he told Ahab to get moving before the rain might prevent him from going down the mountain. Then there was a great rain. Elijah, powered by God, ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot to the entrance to Jezreel.
            Psalm: We are to praise the Lord for his feats in history. He struck down Sihon, Og, and the Canaanite kings. He gave the lands to Israel.
            God’s name endures forever and his fame will be known forever. The Lord takes care of his servants. The gods of the other nations are nothing, they can’t speak, hear, and have no breath. Those who worship them will be like them.
            Israel, the house of Aaron and Levi, and all people who fear the Lord are to praise the Lord who dwells in Jerusalem.
            Proverbs: It is better to face a bear robbed of her cubs than to deal with a fool. If you repay someone evil for good, you will always be enslaved by evil.
            Acts: When Peter returned to Jerusalem, the circumcision party faulted him for going to a Gentile’s place and eating with them. So Peter recounted all that happened from his vision to the Holy Spirit coming on the Gentiles. He asked how he could stand in God’s way when the Holy Spirit came on the Gentiles when they believed and it was in the same ways as when the Holy Spirit came on the Jews. So they stopped complaining and glorified God because repentance leading to life was granted to Gentiles.
            The scattered Jewish Christians spoke only to Jews until some from Cyprus and Cyrene went to Antioch and spoke to Greeks preaching about Jesus. A great number of Greeks believed. When Jerusalem heard, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. He taught them and more came to the Lord. He went to Tarsus and brought Saul back to Antioch. They taught the church for a year and disciples were first called Christians there.
            Agabus, a prophet went to Antioch and said a famine would come on the whole world. The disciples took up a collection for Christians living in Judea. They sent the contribution with Barnabas and Saul.

What Stood Out

            1 Kings: “And now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord, “Behold, Elijah is here”’; and he will kill me” (1 Kings 18:14).
            Psalm: “You who fear the Lord, bless the Lord” (Ps 135:20)!
            Proverbs: “ If anyone returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house” (Prov 17:13).
            Acts: “When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, ‘Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life’” (Acts 11:18).


            1 Kings: Obadiah is a real hero. He saved 100 prophets from Jezebel and took care of them during a famine. That is no small feat. He also faithfully served his master by searching for Elijah and then for water and grass land. It would be hard to serve an evil master and at the same time protect the prophets. Then Elijah appears and Obadiah is afraid for his life. He says three times that Ahab will kill him.
            What happened to him? Why was he suddenly fearful for his life? That’s hard to answer. Often, we are strong in one area and then succumb to fear in another We are human and this goes to show that we can do great thing for the Lord and then panic over something that may even seem trivial. Trusting the Lord is the answer when this kind of fear occurs. When Obadiah was assured by Elijah (he swore by the Lord) that he would not disappear, he went and told Ahab where to find Elijah. We need to look back at what the Lord has already done in our life and what the Bible promises to overcome our fears and trust in the Lord.
            Psalm: We have many reasons to praise the Lord. The Psalmist looks back at some of Israel’s history to find reason. God saved them out of Egypt and gave them a land. We can look back and ponder the most incredible salvation of all when Jesus died for our sins and recued us for eternity. The other nations worshiped idols and they will all face an eternity that is as impotent as the idols they worshiped. We trust in the Lord and can face a powerful eternity of blessing with our Lord. We who fear the Lord have that trust in Jesus and we will be blessed as we praise him.
            Proverbs: Sometimes, when dealing with a person who is foolish, it feels like we are dealing with a person who has repaid evil for good. They just don’t seem to get what they have done is foolish and evil. They think they have done something right but it is obviously wrong. It is terribly disheartening to see no progress. It’s as if evil will never depart from them. With a bear, it’s over quickly, not with the fool. The only hope for the fool or the person who repays evil for good is the transformation that the Holy Spirit can work in a person’s life. Our hope is in the Lord and not how well we can counsel a person.
            Acts: Peter’s defense of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles was a seminal point in the history of the church. While there wasn’t much of a fuss made when Samaritans became Christians, it may have been that they were part Jewish. But Gentiles were another story. Many of the Jewish Christians still didn’t quite understand that salvation was by faith in Jesus and that is all that was required. They believed a person had to continue to follow the Jewish Law and traditions to be saved. That meant they had to become converts to Judaism as well as believe in Jesus. That’s why they were called the circumcision party.
            Peter’s defense convinced the Jewish believers that Gentiles could be saved without conversion to Judaism. The evidence was the gift of the Holy Spirit and the evidence of the Holy Spirit was speaking in tongues. This was so important for the early church to understand that God gave them a sign that could not be refuted. From this point on, salvation by faith left salvation by works of the Law in the dust. Although salvation by works raises its head again, it is evident that this is not what the Lord wanted people to understand.
            Now, there are some who point to this moment in history and proclaim that speaking in tongues is the most important thing that happened. They use it proclaim that the evidence of salvation is speaking in tongues. If you don’t speak in tongues, then you aren’t a Christian. Thankfully, that is not as prevalent as it was when the heresy first started and resurfaced recently. But there are some out there who still believed it. If that were true then Paul would have had to say so instead of denying it in 1 Corinthians 12:29-30.
            We need to be careful not to read into Scripture what isn’t there and take out of it what is there. Otherwise we end up putting requirements on salvation that God has not put on it.


             We need to trust the Lord for many things. We need to trust him to overcome fears. We need to trust him to be able to praise him. We need to trust him to counsel fools. We need to trust him to be saved.

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