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.
Psalm 135:1-21 A Hymn By Anonymous
Psalm 135:1-21 Hallelujah And Hallelujah!
Psalm 135 is a hymn but it is also a story-telling psalm. From verses 8-11 the story of Israel is told from the slaying of the Egyptian children to victory over Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites and the Canaanites. Sihon and Og were two kings Israel defeated just before they entered the promised land (cf. 136:19-20; Num. 21).
The psalm begins with a call to praise. A good form to follow for prayer is A-Adoration, C-Confession, T-Thanksgiving, and S-Supplication. All our prayers should begin with praise (vv. 1-4). God chose the descendants of Jacob, the son of Isaac, and the son of Abraham to teach the world His precepts (cf. the Jewish law guided us to Christ, Gal. 3:24; the story of Israel was an illustration of how God worked to teach us, 1 Cor. 10:11).
God is above all His creation. He does what He wants to do (vv. 5-6; cf. Psa. 115:3).
God is in charge of the weather (v. 7). If you don’t believe me, turn into the news tonight and see how accurate they are between tonight and tomorrow.
Yahweh gave them the land of Canaan as a gift for them (v. 12, cf. Ps. 136:21-22).
The Lord was a Father to Israel, alternating punishment and blessing (v. 13-18, cf. Deut. 28). The blessing was for obedience but discipline for worshipping idols (vv. 14-18). Israel became like the idols they falsely worshipped (v. 18), deaf and dumb (vv. 16-17).
The psalmist called for the priests to initiate worship of the Lord (vv. 19-20). Aaron was the first high priest whose grandfather was Levi. All of the rest of the priests also came from the tribe of Levi (v. 19b, 20a).
The psalm begins with a Hallelujah, literally, “praise the Lord” and ends with a Hallelujah (v. 21)!
Do you begin your day with a Hallelujah? You should begin with praising the Lord and end the same way with your life in-between just like this psalm!
Proverbs 17:12-13 Dark Shadows
Have you ever messed with a mother animal’s kids? You may have, but only once. They get very, very mad. Worse than that, is to get between a fool and the dumb things they might do. Unbelievers, aka fools in the book of Proverbs, get very mad if you prick their pride which they have in abundance.
Galatians 6:7 says you reap what you sow in case you were wondering where in the Bible that was (v. 13a). If you continually return bad deeds for the good done for you, you will have darkness following you around like a shadow for the rest of your life (v. 13). Nothing will ever seem to go right for you.
Choose Life: Scripture: Acts 11:15 NASB “When Did The Church Begin?”
“And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning.” Acts 11:15
I was attending a certain type of church a couple years ago. We went to a night service while trying to get a church started in the mornings. I supposed that the church did not believe in a strict difference between the current church age and the time of Moses. So I asked the associate pastor, who was the son of the senior pastor, when did the church begin? He said he thought there was a verse something about “the church in the wilderness,” meaning the church began sometime in the Old Testament (see blog The Church Begins for the proof that the church began on Pentecost). I asked him where that Scripture was. He said he didn’t know (it’s in Stephen’s speech to the unbelieving Jewish leadership in Acts 7:38 in the King James, more accurately rendered “congregation” or “assembly” instead of church in most modern translations).
I pressed him so he stopped his father, the senior pastor, who was passing by in the hall at the time. “When did the Church begin?” he asked his dad. His father thought for a second and said, “It started in the early 1970’s,” misinterpreting the question. “No, the Church,” the associate corrected him. “Oh,” said his dad, “isn’t there something in Scripture about the church in the wilderness?”
You may think this is a minor question, when did the church begin. But it isn’t, if you want to understand God and the Bible and how to relate to Him today. We don’t sacrifice sheep these days and we don’t go to church on Saturdays. We don’t worship at a Temple or live in a theocracy. The reason is that there’s a sharp divide between the Old Testament and the New Testament. You can’t buy a Bible that doesn’t have that sharp distinction in its pages.
Paul said that the Old Testament and its law was a “tutor to lead us to Christ” (cf. Gal. 3:24 NASB). The OT law showed us how sinful we are. It showed our need for a Savior. It showed us our need for Christ. Be glad you are free from the law. Don’t submit to bad doctrine that enslaves and depresses.
Trust Christ alone and the freedom that comes from life with Him.
If you do, you will find that you have chosen life (Deut. 30:19)!
You might think your church is not teaching false doctrine in this regard. Maybe it isn’t. But your church overemphasizes following the Ten Commandments, having to be moral to be saved, and that only some can be saved but not everyone who trusts Christ and it neglects teaching on the Holy Spirit and sanctification, . . . if you find yourself depressed all the time . . . you might be in a church that’s detrimental to your spiritual health.
The purpose of the “Choose Life” is to pick a positive help out of the One Year Bible (OYB) reading plan for the day. There is always something positive in the Word of God to cheer us and give us strength. For more on today’s reading, check out my One Year Bible blog: Baaling Out