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Bible Pathways 04/28/2002

April 28

Read 1 Kings 16 -- 18

In Today's Reading:

We're introduced to the wicked, but weak King Ahab; the bloody and brutal Queen Jezebel; and the godly prophet Elijah, who helped shape the history of his day l Ravens and a widow feed Elijah l He raises the dead! l Elijah's contest with 850 prophets of Baal l "The Lord versus Baal" before and after a three year famine.

Verse for Today:

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 (1 Kings 17:1).

Omri is remembered as a very evil king who did worse than all that were before him (1 Kings 16:25). But his son Ahab was even worse and became one of the most wicked kings 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. Sidon 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 of Jezebel. It was at this time in Israel's history that Elijah boldly declared to King Ahab that his authority came from the Lord God of Israel . . . before Whom I stand (17:1). When Elijah said there would be no more rain but according to my word (17:1), he meant that he was the servant of the God of Israel and no one else could announce when the drought would end and the rain begin. Elijah's faith was in God's 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 Lord's wrath (will) be kindled against you, and . . . there (will) be no rain (Deuteronomy 11:16-17).

After three-and-one-half years of no rain, Elijah boldly returned as suddenly as he first appeared and again confronted Ahab face-to-face. 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) (1 Kings 18:18-19). All Israel was desperate for rain and Ahab 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 your gods (18:25) for fire to consume their sacrifice. After a full day of Jezebel's prophets frantically praying, Elijah called the people to come near. . . . And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down . . . He put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. And he said, Do it the second time. . . . Do it the third time . . . at the time . . . of the evening sacrifice . . . 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 (18:30-39).

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

The Apostle James reminds us of Elijah and how the power of God is released when we pray in obedience to His Word. He concludes with: Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:13-16).

Christ Portrayed:

By Elijah, whom God used to provide flour and oil for the needy widow at Zarephath (1 Kings 17:13-16). Christ is our Provider, the One who supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19).

Word Studies:

17:16 wasted not = was not used up; 17:17 sore = severe; 18:4 cut off = murdered; 18:19 eat at = supported by; 18:21 halt = waver.

Prayer Needs:

Government Official: Gov. Judy Martz (MT) · Pray for the missionary ministries · Country: Chad (7 million) in north-central Africa · Major languages: French and Arabic · Limited religious freedom · 35% Muslim; 31% animist; 11% Protestant; 5% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Read, study, and listen to the Word of God so that your prayers will be answered (Proverbs 28:9).

Optional Reading: Romans 1

Memory Verse for the Week: Jeremiah 15:16

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