April 28

Read I Kings 16 -- 18

Omri is remembered as a very evil king who did worse than all that were before him (I Kings 16:25). But his son Ahab became the most wicked king to reign over the Northern Kingdom.

Ahab promoted Baal worship as a result of his marriage to Jezebel, the daughter of the king of Sidon. This was the Center of Baal worship and was just north of Tyre on the Mediterranean Sea in what is now Lebanon.

During Ahab's reign, Israelite worshipers of God hid in caves in fear for their lives. It was at this time in Israel's history that Elijah boldly declared to King Ahab: As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew or rain these years, but according to my word (17:1). Elijahs faith was unconditionally in Gods Word, which reads: Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and you turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; And then the Lords wrath be kindled against you, and . . . there be no rain (Deuteronomy 11:16-17).

When Elijah said there would be no more rain according to my word, he meant that, as the servant of the God of Israel, no one else on earth could announce when the drought would end and the rain begin.

After three-and-one-half years of no rain, as suddenly as Elijah first appeared, he boldly returned and was again face to face with Ahab. After informing the king that Israel's drought was the result of rejecting the commandments of the Lord, Elijah demanded that the king gather . . . all Israel to Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal, and the 400 prophets of the groves (Asherah) (I Kings 18:18-19). Ahab was desperate for rain and must have felt compelled to cooperate with the prophet of God and immediately responded.

Elijah challenged the 850 false prophets to prepare a sacrifice and then to call on the name of their gods for fire to consume their sacrifice (18:25). After a full day of Jezebels prophets frantically praying, Elijah called the people to come near. . . . And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down (18:30). Then Elijah prayed: Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel, and that I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your Word. . . . Then the fire of the Lord fell. . . . And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, He is the God; the Lord, He is the God (18:36-39).

Elijah then demanded that all 850 false prophets be executed according to the Word of God, who said that a prophet who would say: Let us go after other gods . . . shall be put to death (Deuteronomy 13:1-5). After their execution, Elijah said to Ahab . . . there is a sound of abundance of rain (I Kings 18:41).

Elijah illustrates how the power of God is released when we pray and are obedient to His Word. Therefore, we should be praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints (Ephesians 6:18).

Christ Portrayed: By Elijah, whom God used to provide flour and oil for the needy widow at Zarephath (I Kings 17:13-16). Christ is our Provider, the One who supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory (Phil. 4:19).

Word Studies: 16:13 vanities means worthless idolatry; 17:9 sustain means provide for; 17:16 wasted not means was not used up; 18:4 cut off means murdered; 18:19 eat at means supported by; 18:21 halt means waver.

Prayer:

Government Official: Gov. Judy Martz (MT) · Pray for J. Gordon Henry [Prayer Seminar] Ministries · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast in memory of Sara Higdom · Country: Fiji (813,000) in the southwestern Pacific · Major languages: English and Fijian · Religious freedom · 41% Hindu; 40% Protestant; 9% Roman Catholic; 8% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord for His loving-kindness (Psalms 138:2).

Optional Reading: Romans 1

Memory Verse for the Week: Ecclesiastes 12:13-14