1 Kings 17:8-20:22
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Great readings today about Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath! Verses 21 through 23 are awesome - "And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the LORD, "O LORD my God, please let this child's life return to him." The LORD heard Elijah's prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he came back to life! Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother. "Look, your son is alive!""
Bible.org's commentary on our 1 Kings 17 readings on Elijah today titled "Testings and Ministry at Zaraphath" is at this link and commentary titled "The Death and Resurrection of the Widow's Son" is at this link. There is a lot of great in-depth commentary on 1 Kings 17 at Bible.org!
Wow! Great readings today in 1 Kings 18. This is an amazing chapter of the Bible, and one that I heard a wonderful sermon on a couple of years ago. This is strong stuff. One thing that kind of got me chuckling was the subtitle the New Living Translation puts at the top of this chapter - "The Contest on Mount Carmel"! For some reason this got my mind thinking of WWF Championship Wrestling... yes... strange place for my mind to wander I realize. :) But then, this imagery kind of stuck with me throughout the readings and I definitely think Elijah threw down a WWF level taunt in verse 27 when the prophets of Baal were not having any luck getting their fire started: "About noontime Elijah began mocking them. "You'll have to shout louder," he scoffed, "for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or he is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or he is asleep and needs to be wakened!"" Perhaps he is relieving himself?? The prophet Elijah puts even Hulk Hogan's WWF taunt's to shame! :)
Okay... in all seriousness... 1 Kings 18 is an amazing chapter. There were several verses that stood out to me. First was verses 17 and 18 when Ahab meets Elijah - ""So it's you, is it--Israel's troublemaker?" Ahab asked when he saw him. "I have made no trouble for Israel," Elijah replied. "You and your family are the troublemakers, for you have refused to obey the commands of the LORD and have worshiped the images of Baal instead." I love Elijah's directness and boldness to Ahab. Ahab tries to go after Elijah and maybe intimidate him, since Ahab is King. And Elijah does not back down one iota - he tells Ahab exactly why Ahab is the troublemaker. I love that. I wonder about our lives today. If someone comes after us and maybe attacks our faith or integrity falsely in some way, will we immediately stand up for our faith like Elijah did to King Ahab?
Verses 20 & 21 are powerful - "So Ahab summoned all the people and the prophets to Mount Carmel. Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, "How long are you going to waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!" But the people were completely silent." What a great question - and one that we may need to ask ourselves - "How long are you going to waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him!" Are we wavering at all in our commitment to God? Are we being silent like the people were when Elijah asked this question? Let us not waver between two opinions... If the Lord is God, are you following him? Wholeheartedly?
Below is an image of Elijah's "Sermon on the Mount Carmel"... :) bad pun... sorry. (I really should know better than to start off a blog post with the Hulkster... it sets me off on the wrong foot... :)
I love the little story at the end of today's chapter where Elijah falls to his knees in prayer on Mt. Carmel and tells his servant to go look toward the sea - 7 times! And then soon comes the little cloud....
Last but not least, verse 46 is a great closing to this eventful chapter! "Now the LORD gave special strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his belt and ran ahead of Ahab's chariot all the way to the entrance of Jezreel." Think about this day's events - Elijah meets with Obadiah. Summons Ahab. Meets with Ahab. Summons the people of Israel and the prophets of Baal and Asherah. Conducts a WWF Smackdown tourney :) - and God wins big time! Prays for rain. And then what better way to finish out this type of day but to "tuck his cloak into his belt" and run faster than Ahab's chariot back to Jezreel! Great stuff! What a chapter! Elijah rocks!
Bible.org has tons of great commentary on today's readings in 1 Kings 18, which is not surprising considering how much happens in this chapter today. Commentary titled "The Word of the Lord Comes to Elijah" is at this link. "Elijah ministers to Obadiah" is at this link. "Elijah Meets and Rebukes Ahab" is at this link. "When One Becomes a Majority" is at this link. "The Ineffectual Prayers of the Baal Priests" is at this link. And finally, "The Prayers of Elijah" is at this link.
Great chapter 19 today! We are introduced to Elisha, who will be mentored by Elijah to succeed him as a prophet at the end of First Kings 19 today. However, before we get to Elisha, we read about Elijah being very "dejected" in the desert to say the least. Some commentaries on this early portion of chapter 19 are not super-kind to Elijah for heading to the desert. Commentaries I think wisely suggest that verses 9 & 13 demonstrate God trying to gently let Elijah know he's off course and feeling too sorry for himself, when asked twice in these verses: "What are you doing here, Elijah?" This kind of reminded me of Jonah fleeing from God's will on the boat. (which we'll read about later this year). And this kind of reminded me of me - and maybe you too. :) Have you ever had that nagging question enter your heart or mind when you suddenly realize that you are off course from God's will in your life? That question of: "What are you doing here??" I know I have... Praise God when we are actually able to hear and understand that question and get out of the desert and back to life and back to loving this hurting world! Below is a wonderful painting from the year 1464 by the Flemish artist Dirk Bouts for verses 5 & 6, early on in the chapter when Elijah was fleeing to Mount Sinai - "Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, "Get up and eat!" He looked around and saw some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again."
Today in 1 Kings 19 verses 11 through 14 we read about how God appears to Elijah in a way that he was not expecting – “Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?” The interesting thing to note about these verses is that Elijah was expecting or hoping God would appear in judgment to the Israelites in a windstorm, earthquake or fire. But God did not appear in any of these forms. Instead, God comes to Elijah in a simple gentle whisper. A gentle whisper. And I wonder about us in our lives today as well – do we often expect God to move mountains or to really show himself to us in big bold ways? When, perhaps, God may be speaking to you or me right now, but we’re missing it? Why? Well, is it possible that God is speaking to you right now with a simple gentle whisper? Is it possible that you have built up so many distractions or duties or activities or worries in your life that you cannot hear God’s gentle whisper? I know that I have been in this place too many times – I’ve gotten myself so busy looking for God in all the wrong places. And then finally I will slow myself down for just long enough to hear God speaking to my heart in a gentle whisper! A gentle whisper that I am sure was there all along. . . but I was looking for God in the windstorm and earthquake and fires of life. When instead I should have simply slowed down and listened for God’s gentle whisper. Will you slow down long enough to listen for God’s gentle whisper for you? Do you believe that God can speak to you in a simple gentle whisper this very moment?
Bible.org's commentary on today's 1 Kings readings titled "The Vulnerability of Victory" is at this link. "The Crisis of Elijah" is at this link. "The Restoration of Elijah" is at this link. And "Taking Up Your Mantle" is at this link. Below is a painting in a Carmelite cloister in Frankfurt, Germany from the year 1517 by an unknown artist showing the life of the prophet Elijah, including what I think is the anointing/calling of Elisha in the middle portion - and you'll see the angel tending to Elijah in the desert on the left and the burnt offering from yesterday's readings on the right:
In 1 Kings 20 today we read about King Ahab's battles with King Ben-hadad of Aram. Verse 11 today was sharp! "The king of Israel sent back this answer: "A warrior still dressing for battle should not boast like a warrior who has already won."" Not a bad little saying from Ahab to Ben-hadad! Sounds sort of like a Proverb. Actually, this really sounds like our modern day saying of: "Don't count your chickens before they hatch!" :)
YouTube: Today's 1 Kings readings today about Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath reminded me of the Natalie Grant song "Held:"
Do you know what it is like to be Held? Click here to be Held!
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