Thursday 09 June 2016

Bible Book:
1 Kings

“So he went and did according to the word of the Lord.” (v. 5)

1 Kings 17:1-7 Thursday 9 June 2016

Psalm: Psalm100


Solomon's death has resulted in a divided kingdomand the author of Kings tries to provide stories from both Judah(South) and Israel (North), rather than an accurate chronologicalnarrative. One important strand emerges. In the absence of wiseleadership, 'men of God' or prophets become more influential inappealing to the people to follow the ways of God. Such prophetswere characterised by their loyalty to God rather than to the Kingor the land.

By the time we come to 1 Kings 17, there have beenseven kings of Israel since Jeroboam, the last being Ahab. KingAhab had been disobedient to God in two major ways (1Kings 16:31): it had been "a light thing for him to walk in thesins of Jeroboam"; and he had taken Jezebel from Sidon as his wife,who was an enthusiastic worshipper of Baal. The moral and spiritualfoundations of Israel were being undermined. Enter Elijah theTishbite, the "troubler of Israel"(1Kings 18:17), to remind Israel in general, and Ahab inparticular, of God's promises and commandments.

People such as Elijah are uncomfortable to bearound, but they are essential in helping to shake off human traitsof complacency and self-satisfaction. Before getting into hisimportant prophetic ministry, we read stories in 1 Kings 17 thatillustrate the depth of belief and confidence that Elijah has in'the Lord the God of Israel" (v. 1). The rock of his faith is thecertainty he has in a God of justice.

In today's passage Elijah sets out his stall bychallenging the Baal worship of Ahab and Jezebel (1Kings 16:31-32). Baal worshippers believed their god controlledthe rain. Elijah wanted to prove to them that it was the God ofIsrael who was in charge and, in God's name, declares a drought.Going east, probably beyond Ahab's jurisdiction "east of theJordan" (v.3), Elijah is sustained by the Lord, who miraculouslyfinds water from a rapidly drying wadi and ravens bring him food.His faith in the God of Israel stays resolute.

To Ponder

  • When things 'go wrong' in your life, are you still able to bearwitness to God's enduring goodness? How?
  • Can you think of someone who was critical of your behaviour,yet deep down you knew they were right? It wasn't easy for them.Today, give thanks to God for their honesty, however difficult itwas at the time.
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