Highlights In Today's Reading:
We have kings of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and different kings of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Baasha, 3rd king of the Northern Kingdom, has just assassinated his predecessor, Nadab, and murdered the royal family (15:27-29). We open with the prophecy of the Lord against Baasha as he and his family end up like Nadab and his family — what you sow, you shall reap (16:1-7; comp. Gal. 6:7). Several other evil kings follow until we get to Omri who wrought evil . . . worse than all that were before him (16:25). Read all the details of the thrilling battle between one good man and a nation of evil men (chap. 17 — 18).
Ahab, the king of Samaria, was one of the most powerful kings ever to rule the Northern Kingdom. But, Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. . . . and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him (16:30-33).
There was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up (21:25). Jezebel had a zeal for her false god Baal; therefore, all who worshiped the One True God Jehovah were persecuted or killed (18:4,13; 19:14).
Elijah must have felt that his efforts to restore true worship of Jehovah were in vain and his ministry worthless. But, the Word of the Lord came unto him, saying . . . I have commanded the ravens to feed thee. . . . I have commanded a widow woman . . . to sustain thee (17:2-9). God had not yet revealed to Elijah that the wicked queen, Jezebel, would seek to destroy him. But the grace of God is always sufficient when the hour of need arises.
God often allows us to face unusual and difficult situations in order to remind us of our absolute dependence upon Him. Through difficulties, we discover whether our confidence is in the Lord, in favorable circumstances, or in self.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias (Elijah) was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not (James 5:16-17).
Thought for Today:
It is sometimes hard to understand how wicked people can be so prosperous until we understand that God chastens those whom He loves (Rev. 3:19).
By Elijah, whom God used to provide flour and oil for the needy widow at Zarephath (I Kin. 17:13-16). Christ our Provider supplies all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19).
17:16 wasted not =was not used up; 17:17 sore =severe; 18:4 cut off =murdered; 18:19 eat at Jezebel's table =are supported by Jezebel; 18:21 halt =waver, undecided.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in memory of Letha Hash • Staff: Clarence Rathbone • Government Official: Rep. Tom Cole (OK) • Country: Kenya (29 million) in eastern Africa • Major languages: English and Swahili • Religious freedom • 46% Protestant; 27% Roman Catholic; 17% belief in mystical powers; 6% Muslim; 3% Eastern Orthodox • Prayer Suggestion: Give thanks to the Lord for all things (Eph. 5:19-20).
Optional Reading: Romans 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6:14