Highlights In Today's Reading:
We see the Lord raise up a mighty prophet as one wicked king after another conspires for power and control of the 10 tribes of Israel. The Lord's mighty hand of protection is displayed in the life of Elijah. Note the parable of the sower foreshadowed in the barrel of meal and the cruse of oil. Elijah challenges Ahab and his 450 prophets of Baal. After a three-year drought, Elijah pours 12 barrels of water on his sacrifice and the Lord gives victory and a sound of abundance of rain (18:30-41).
With Ahab's reign began a new and very ungodly era in the history of Israel. Idolatry and wickedness flourished. Following his marriage to Jezebel and the establishment of Phoenecian idolatry, Ahab introduced Jezebel's worship of Baal as the religion of the nation. This was followed by fierce persecution of the worshipers of Jehovah and the killing of His prophets.
It is written there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell (surrender) himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up (21:25).
Although worship of Jehovah was forced underground, the Lord always has His faithful few and among them was Elijah, who dared to be bold for God regardless of evil circumstances or consequences. Elijah . . . said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word (17:1). Elijah was a prophet of God but he was also a man like us (James 5:17). He experienced the hunger caused by this drought which he had foretold.
In times of extremity God reveals Himself as the source of our daily necessities. The water of the brook on which Elijah had depended gradually diminished and disappeared. When genuine faith is tested, it brings glory to God and works for the good of the believer, that the trial (proving) of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ (I Peter 1:7).
Christians are the representatives of God and are here to confirm His faithfulness. Our attitude, words and actions must all declare that He alone is our true and infallible Source of supply. It is imperative, therefore, and supremely so in financial matters, that we be in a true sense independent of men and wholly dependent upon God. If there is any weakness here, He will be robbed of the glory that is due only to Him. As God's servants, we must show forth the abundance of His spiritual resources and rely on Him for all things.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain. . . . and he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain (James 5:16-18).
Thought for Today:
One of our greatest shortcomings is the inability to discern between our wants and our needs. This illustrates the importance of prayer.
By Elijah, whom God used to provide flour and oil for the needy widow at Zarephath (I Kings 17:13-16). Christ our Provider supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
17:16 wasted not =was not used up; 17:17 sore =severe; 18:4 cut off =murdering; 18:19 eat at Jezebel's table =are supported by Jezebel; 18:21 halt =waver.
Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts sponsored by Mrs Gertrude Duke • Executive Director of the IBRA in our Washington DC Branch: Reverend Michael Hall • Government Official: Rep. Tom Cole (OK) • Country: Mauritius (1 million) 500 miles east of Madagascar • Major languages: English and Creole • Limited religious freedom • 50% Hindu; 27% Roman Catholic; 17% Muslim; 5% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Depend upon the Holy Spirit to help you in your prayers (Romans 8:26-27).
Optional Reading: Romans 1
Memory Verse for the Week: James 2:26