Old Testament: 1 Kings 18:1-46
1 Kings 18: 1 – 46 Baaling Out
Obadiah, not the guy who wrote the book, had hid a hundred prophets so they wouldn’t get killed by Ahab and Jezebel. Elijah told Obadiah to tell the king that he wanted to see him. And Ahab came out to meet him saying, “Is that you, you troublemaker?” Elijah told him, “I’m not the troublemaker. You are. You broke God’s commandments and worshipped pagan idols. Send me the 850 false prophets under your control.”
So Ahab sent out a message to all his false prophets and told them to meet him at Mount Carmel. Elijah addressed them all. “What’s wrong with you guys? If Yahweh is God, follow Him. If Baal is a god, then follow him.” Nobody said anything. Elijah went on, “Bring out two oxen. Cut one up over a some wood. Don’t light it. I’ll cut up the other one and put it over some wood. Then you call on Baal and ask him to light the fire and I’ll call on Yahweh. Let the best Man win.” And all the people said, “Cool.”
The false Baal prophets called out from morning till noon asking their god,”C’mon, Baaly, and light our fire.” Nothing happened. Around noon, Elijah started taunting them. “Maybe you should shout a little bit louder, now. Maybe Baal is on the pot using his iPad or maybe he’s on vacation. Maybe he’s napping and you should wake him up.” They yelled louder and even cut themselves till they gushed blood to try to get Baal’s attention. By evening still nothing had happened.
So now it was Elijah’s turn. He fixed the offering and had the people pour water on and around the altar so it flowed into the trench around it. He had that done three times! Then Elijah prayed.
He said to Yahweh: “Show everyone that You are God. Let these people know how badly they have sinned.”
Fire came down from Heaven and devoured the wood. And the stones. And the dust. And evaporated the water. The people all fell on their faces and confessed Yahweh as the Lord.
Then Elijah had all the false prophets taken down to the brook Kishon and offed.
Elijah told Ahab to eat and drink because the famine was over and the rain was on its way. Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel, sat down and told his servant to go and look toward the sea for the rain. The servant said he didn’t see anything. Elijah ended up sending him out seven times before he finally saw “a cloud about as big as a fist” coming up from the sea. Then he told his servant to tell Ahab to get in his chariot, quickly, so the thunderstorms don’t stop you.” Ahab jumped in his chariot and started down the hill to Jezreel. Elijah pulled up his robe around his waist so it wouldn’t trip him and beat Ahab down the hill.
He was able to outrun Ahab because of the rain and mud stopping up Ahab’s chariot. No! You know some idiots say that? Uh. He outran Ahab by the superpower of the Lord!
Acts 11: 1-18 Peter Downloads His Report
Of course, the Jewish legalists came at Peter for going to the Gentiles. So Peter told them the whole story about his vision, the unclean animals, the voice from God, his objection, how it all happened three times, and then the three men who came to retrieve him that came to the door. Then he told them how the Holy Spirit commanded him to go with the men and how he took six witnesses with him (v. 12). The man of the house (Cornelius) told him he had seen an angel that told him to fetch Peter from Joppa. The man said to listen to Peter and he and all his family would be saved. Peter said he remembered how Jesus used to say that John the Baptist baptized with water but that there would be a baptism with the Holy Spirit. Peter said the Gentiles had received the same gift of the Holy Spirit as he had when the church had started on Pentecost. He followed his account up by asking what else he could have done. He had to acknowledge the work of God. That shut everyone up and they agreed that God was working amongst the Gentiles.
Acts 11: 19-30 Greeks To Them
Remember how everyone scattered out from Jerusalem after Stephen was martyred? They made their way as far as Lebanon and Greece, looking only to speak to the Jews. Others later went out to Antioch and started preaching to the Gentiles as well. They grew a good size church there and the news got back to Jerusalem. So Barnabas, “the son of encouragement,” was sent to them. He started encouraging all of them and then even more people came to the Lord. There was a lot of teaching at that church and many people came to be taught. Disciples were first called “Christians” there.
Agabus was a prophet who showed up on the scene with a word from the Spirit that a famine was going to sweep over the land. Since they were better off in Antioch than in Jerusalem, the Antioch church decided to send Barnabus and Saul with a contribution back to the Jerusalem church.