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Bible Pathways 04/28/2003

April 28

Read I Kings 16 -- 18

In Today's Reading:

Evil kings of Israel; Elijah's pronouncement of drought; Elijah fed by ravens and the widow; he raises the widow's son; his contest with prophets of Baal

Ahab became the most wicked king to reign over the northern kingdom. He promoted Baal worship as a result of his marriage to Jezebel. During his reign, Israelite worshipers of God hid in caves in fear for their lives. Then the prophet Elijah boldly declared to Ahab: As . . . the LORDGod of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be no dew or rain during these years except at my word! (I Kings 17:1). Elijah's faith was in God, who had said: Be careful lest you become enticed to turn aside and serve and worship other gods. Then the LORDwill become angry with you and dryup the skies. There will then be no rain (Deuteronomy 11:16-17).

After 31/2 years of no rain, Elijah again boldly faced Ahab. He informed the king that Israel's drought was the result of rejecting the LORD's commandments. . . . Then Elijah commanded: Gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, along with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah (I Kings 18:18-19). Ahab, desperate for rain, immediately responded.

Elijah challenged the 850 false prophets to call on the name of your god to consume their sacrifice (18:25). After a full day of Jezebel's prophets frantically praying to no avail, Elijah called the people to come near to me. . . . Then he repaired the altar of the LORD that had been torn down (18:30), and prayed: O LORD God . . . today let it be known that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant and that at Your word I have done all these things. . . . Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust. . . . When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God! (18:36-39).

Elijah then demanded that all 850 false prophets be executed according to the word of God: If there should arise among you a prophet . . . and he tells you . . . Let us follow other gods . . . . he must be put to death (Deuteronomy 13:1-5). After their execution, Elijah said to Ahab . . there is the sound of a rainstorm (I Kings 18:41).

Elijah illustrates how the power of God is released when we pray and are obedient to His word. Therefore we are to, pray at all times in the Spirit . . . with all perseverance and intercession for all the 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 (Philippians 4:19).

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Tom Cole (OK) and Gov. Judy Martz (MT) · Country: Azerbaijan (8 million) southern Transcaucasia between Europe and Asia · Major languages: Azeri and Russian · Religious freedom · 80% Muslim; 3% Russian/Armenian/Georgian Orthodox · Prayer Suggestion: Pray and rejoice in the Lord for all His spiritual blessings (Isaiah 61:10).

Optional Reading: Romans 1

Memory Verse for the Week: Jeremiah 15:16

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