Tag Archives: 21 Kings

1 Kings 18; 1 Thessalonians 1; Ezekiel 48; Psalms 104

Elijah approached the people and said, “How long will you not decide between two choices? If the Lord is the true God, follow him, but if Baal is the true God, follow him!” But the people said nothing.

Elijah said, “I am the only prophet of the Lord here, but there are four hundred fifty prophets of Baal. Bring two bulls. Let the prophets of Baal choose one bull and kill it and cut it into pieces. Then let them put the meat on the wood, but they are not to set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull, putting the meat on the wood but not setting fire to it. You prophets of Baal, pray to your god, and I will pray to the Lord. The god who answers by setting fire to his wood is the true God.”

All the people agreed that this was a good idea.

Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “There are many of you, so you go first. Choose a bull and prepare it. Pray to your god, but don’t start the fire.”

So they took the bull that was given to them and prepared it. They prayed to Baal from morning until noon, shouting “Baal, answer us!” But there was no sound, and no one answered. They danced around the altar they had built.

At noon Elijah began to make fun of them. “Pray louder!” he said. “If Baal really is a god, maybe he is thinking, or busy, or traveling! Maybe he is sleeping so you will have to wake him!” The prophets prayed louder, cutting themselves with swords and spears until their blood flowed, which was the way they worshiped. The afternoon passed, and the prophets continued to act like this until it was time for the evening sacrifice. But no voice was heard; Baal did not answer, and no one paid attention.

Then Elijah said to all the people, “Now come to me.” So they gathered around him, and Elijah rebuilt the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. He took twelve stones, one stone for each of the twelve tribes, the number of Jacob’s sons. (The Lord changed Jacob’s name to Israel.) Elijah used these stones to rebuild the altar in honor of the Lord. Then he dug a ditch around the altar that was big enough to hold about thirteen quarts of seed. Elijah put the wood on the altar, cut the bull into pieces, and laid the pieces on the wood. Then he said, “Fill four jars with water, and pour it on the meat and on the wood.” Then Elijah said, “Do it again,” and they did it again. Then he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it the third time. So the water ran off the altar and filled the ditch.

At the time for the evening sacrifice, the prophet Elijah went near the altar. “Lord, you are the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel,” he prayed. “Prove that you are the God of Israel and that I am your servant. Show these people that you commanded me to do all these things. Lord, answer my prayer so these people will know that you, Lord, are God and that you will change their minds.”

Then fire from the Lord came down and burned the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the ground around the altar. It also dried up the water in the ditch. When all the people saw this, they fell down to the ground, crying, “The Lord is God! The Lord is God!” 1 Kings 18:21-39 (NCV)

Elijah played a vital role in God’s strategy to reveal to the people of the time His glory and His power. God used Elijah to send a message to the men and women of Israel. God placed Elijah in the center of a miraculous event designed to challenge the status quo of those who had chosen to worship false idols, to definitively prove that He was, is, and will always be the ONLY Living God.

Elijah’s faith in the reality of God’s power gave him the ability to step out in boldness to proclaim the truth and confront the priests of Baal and the unfaithfulness of the people of Israel. He gave them an experiential demonstration of the uselessness of putting their trust in counterfeit gods, the hopelessness of rituals intended to convince a statue to relieve suffering and provide for needs.

Daring the believers of Baal to authenticate their god, Elijah goaded them with taunts of a deity too busy to listen, too preoccupied with thinking or traveling or sleeping. It didn’t matter how loud the priests prayed, how hard they danced, or how much blood they let flow from their bodies, an imitation with no eyes to see or ears to hear would never be able to ease their desperation. Elijah allowed the priest to expend themselves in the futility of calling on a fake.

When it was Elijah’s turn to take part in the competition, he upped the ante, asking the on-lookers to pour twelve buckets of water over the altar he had rebuilt, soaking the sacrificed bull and drenching the firewood. A simple, yet fervent prayer – “show us who You are Lord” – called on God to take the impossible, and make it possible.

I have seen first-hand the fruitlessness of rituals, the worthlessness of worshipping a stone or a tree or an animal or money. I have heard the stories of men and women and children who have no hope and no peace. I have looked in desolate eyes that are seeking a savior, but were never told of Jesus. And, I have encountered the desperation of hearts seeking the joy of salvation without even knowing what they were searching for.

My whole being, praise the Lord.

Lord my God, you are very great.

You are clothed with glory and majesty…

I will sing to the Lord all my life;

I will sing praises to my God as long as I live.

May my thoughts please him;

I am happy in the Lord. Psalm 104:1, 33-34 (NCV)

I have also experienced the faithfulness of God. I have felt His Father arms wrapped around me, offering hope, giving a second chance. I have surveyed the wondrous cross, His sacrifice, partaking in Christ’s Blood and in His Body, my sins cleansed. I have been comforted by the assurance of Holy Spirit, convicted in the certainty of my Savior. I have witnessed His power to make the lame walk, the deaf hear, and the blind see. I offer testimony to His miraculous works.

It is clear to us, friends, that God not only loves you very much but also has put his hand on you for something special. When the Message we preached came to you, it wasn’t just words. Something happened in you. The Holy Spirit put steel in your convictions. 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 (MSG)

Like Elijah, like you, I am an integral part of His story, of God’s plan to establish His Kingdom on the Earth. I was created to exhibit Truth, to reveal His goodness. I was born to carry mustard seed faith, hope in the One, True God, the All-Powerful, the All-Knowing. I was called to walk in boldness, receiving courage from Holy Spirit to exhort the undecided, the complacent to make a choice between false idols and the Genuine Article. I was sent to carry His love, His grace, and His mercy to my family, to my neighborhood, to my city, and to the outreaches of the world.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

P.S. Thank you for your patience with the delay in this post…we had a full day shut down, no electricity for 8 hours, no internet access for 8 hours. Helps me remember the blessings of living in America. 🙂

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Advertisement

2 Comments

Filed under 1 Kings, 1 Thessalonians, 66 Books, Ezekiel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

1 Kings 11; Philippians 2; Ezekiel 41; Psalms 92, 93

Thanksgiving for God’s Goodness

A psalm. A song for the Sabbath day.

 

It is good to praise you, Lord,

to sing praises to God Most High.

It is good to tell of your love in the morning

and of your loyalty at night.

It is good to praise you with the ten-stringed lyre

and with the soft-sounding harp.

Lord, you have made me happy by what you have done;

I will sing for joy about what your hands have done.

Lord, you have done such great things!

How deep are your thoughts! Psalm 92:1-5 (NCV)

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about God’s goodness and the need to be full of gratitude for His work in my life: His faithfulness, His grace, His provision…

When I give thanksgiving to the Lord for everything He has done for me, in the good times and in the bad, it is a witness, a testimony to me and to others of His unfailing love.

Whether I sing as David sang or dance as David danced, my own personal expression of gratefulness is what the Lord is craving from me, appreciation of my Creator, my Protector, my Provider, my Savior, my Lord. Praise is the way to fill God’s love tank with just-my-size love – spending quality time with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, offering words of affirmation, bestowing the valuable gift of myself, touching His heart and presenting myself to His service.

As I lift up His name to the heavens in praise, I take a moment to reflect on Him, and take my focus off of the stresses of life in the world. I remember that even in moments when I have felt alone, He has always been there, His footprints revealing the times He has walked with me and the times He has carried me because I could no longer walk myself.

As I praise Him all day long, in the morning, noon, and night, joy rises up within me, happiness bubbles to the surface of my heart and with that gladness comes contentment and peace. I am once more able to rest in Him.

Rest.In.Me. (Matthew 11:28-30)

And, that, I believe that is the true definition of “Sabbath”.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Kings, 66 Books, Ezekiel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Philippians, Psalms

1 Kings 3; Ephesians 1; Ezekiel 34; Psalms 83, 84

While he was at Gibeon, the Lord appeared to him in a dream during the night. God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

Solomon answered, “You were very kind to your servant, my father David. He obeyed you, and he was honest and lived right. You showed great kindness to him when you allowed his son to be king after him. Lord my God, now you have made me, your servant, king in my father’s place. But I am like a little child; I don’t know how to do what must be done. I, your servant, am here among your chosen people, and there are too many of them to count. I ask that you give me a heart that understands, so I can rule the people in the right way and will know the difference between right and wrong. Otherwise, it is impossible to rule this great people of yours.”

The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked this. So God said to him, “You did not ask for a long life, or riches for yourself, or the death of your enemies. Since you asked for wisdom to make the right decisions, I will do what you asked. I will give you wisdom and understanding that is greater than anyone has had in the past or will have in the future. I will also give you what you did not ask for: riches and honor. During your life no other king will be as great as you. If you follow me and obey my laws and commands, as your father David did, I will also give you a long life.” 1 Kings 3:5-14 (NCV)

 

I am like a little child; I don’t know how to do what must be done. Give me a heart that understands…

There are so many times in my life when this has been my exact sentiment. There are times when I don’t know how to manage in the circumstances of the moment. And, times when I don’t understand how to maneuver within the vast differences between the culture I was raised in and the Indian culture in which I live.

And yet, time and again, I walk through life thinking that I have all of the answers, that I know how to accomplish everything, manage everything. I neglect to ask God (or anyone else) for help. I go at it alone, and in my pride, I often take a fall. Then, picking myself off the floor, nursing my scrapes and bruises, I turn to God, remembering that His wisdom is much greater than mine.

I see this duplicated in my toddler. She is 2 ¾, going on 23. She thinks she knows it all, acts like she has got it all together. But even she comes crying when she realizes she can’t do it by herself, when she can’t reach the play dough, or when she has spilled the juice while trying to pour it into her toy tea cup, or when she has climbed up onto the washing machine and can’t figure out how to get down without falling.

And like God is ALWAYS there for me, I am there for her. I am there to pick her up when she falls, there to kiss her booboos and wipe her tears. I am there to help her learn from her mistakes and gain greater knowledge for her future endeavors. I am there to teach her to look to God for wisdom, instead of looking only to herself.

I know in my heart that God will never leave me nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6) no matter the situation. I believe that it is God’s desire to give good things (Luke 11:13), like His wisdom, His understanding, and His discernment through Holy Spirit. Just as Solomon asked for those things when God asked him what he wanted, it is important that I also ask. When I ask, He will give me those things as well (John 16:23; 1 John 5:14).

When I seek Him, I take the focus off of myself and put it back in the right place – on God. When I humble myself before Him, there is no more room for pride. I am able to accept His gifts and I am able to be used by Him.

My prayer for myself, my children, and for you:

I have not stopped giving thanks to God for you. I always remember you in my prayers, asking the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you will know him better. I pray also that you will have greater understanding in your heart so you will know the hope to which he has called us and that you will know how rich and glorious are the blessings God has promised his holy people. And you will know that God’s power is very great for us who believe. That power is the same as the great strength God used to raise Christ from the dead and put him at his right side in the heavenly world. Ephesians 1:16-20 (NCV)

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Kings, 66 Books, Ephesians, Ezekiel, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms