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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Daily Devotion for August 2, 2014


<i>Jezebel and Ahab Met by Elijah</i> by Frederick Leighton, ca. 1862.
Jezebel and Ahab Met by Elijah by Frederick Leighton, ca. 1862.

Prayers

Scripture

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Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.

Amen.




Prayer of Resolve

Blessed Jesus, my Savior and Master, model of all perfection, I resolve — and will try this day with my full heart — to imitate Your example, to be like You: mild, humble, chaste, zealous, charitable, and kind. I will redouble my efforts to see Your image in all those I meet and deal with this day — not only people I like — and to be as helpful to them as I would be to You. I resolve to avoid this day all those sins which I have committed heretofore and which I now sincerely desire to give up forever.

Amen.

To Serve Christ

Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous;
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
To give and not to count the cost,
To fight and not heed the wounds,
To toil and not seek for rest,
To labor and not to seek reward,
Save that of knowing that I do your will.

Amen.

Meditation

[Teach me to give and not count the cost.]


Parting Prayer

O  good shepherd, seek me out, and bring me home to your fold again. Deal favourably with me according to your good pleasure, until I may dwell in your house all the days of my life, and praise you forever and ever with them that are there.

Amen.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.



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Starting Point

“Don't let your real situation discourage you. Everyone who got where they are, started where they were.”

~ John C. Maxwell


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1 Kings 18:1-19 (ESV)

The History of the Northern Kingdom (3) - Elijah Confronts Ahab

(This passage is editedTo eliminate repetition and padding, the passage has been heavily redacted without ellipses or other marks of omission. . Click here to read the full passage.)

After many days the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, “Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain upon the earth.” So Elijah went to show himself to Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Samaria. And Ahab called Obadiah, who was over the household.

And as Obadiah was on the way, Elijah met him and said, “Go, tell your lord, ‘Behold, Elijah is here.’” And he said, “As soon as I have gone from you, the Spirit of the Lord will carry you I know not where. And so, when I come and tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will kill me. Has it not been told my lord what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of the Lord, how I hid a hundred men of the Lord's prophets by fifties in a cave and fed them with bread and water? And Elijah said, “As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today.”

When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father's house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals. Now gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel's table.”


Notes on the Scripture

Although the facts are not recorded, 1 Kings makes it clear that Ahab, under the direction of his wife Jezebel, systematically slaughtered the prophets of God; these prophets would have been publicly proclaiming the evil of Jezebel's idol worship — she was a priestess in the cult of Asherah — and warning of the destruction that God would bring to Israel because of it.

Icon of Elijah, Russia, 15th century
Elijah (Russia, 15th cent.)

The murder of prophets by various kings, in both Israel and Judah, will reappear time and time again in the New Testament. What we see here, in 1 Kings, will still be a sore subject after Christ's death: Stephen (Acts 7:51-53) will stand before the Sanhedrin and accuse the priests, right to their faces, of responsibility for the murders of these prophets, and asserting that by crucifying Christ they acted just like their “fathers” — murdering anyone who spoke God's truth. And in fact, the last prophet, John the Baptist, was killed just as his predecessors were, for much the same reason. (Matthew 14:1-12)

This is why Ahab has been searching for Elijah, and why Elijah has been hiding from him. Jezebel wants him dead. But God has spoken to Elijah and told him that his time has come; he is to present himself to Ahab and show Israel (for the umpteenth time) the power of God, by prophesying the end of the drought.

(For those interested in Revelation, the drought lasted 3 1/2 years (James 5:17); many people tie this directly to Revelation 11:1-13, where two witnesses will come to prophesy for 1,260 days (3 1/2 Jewish years) during a drought.)

Elijah throws down the gauntlet to Ahab. He dares him to assemble the great body of pagan priests whom Jezebel supports at Mount Carmel. There is a confrontation coming! We will see “Elijah vs. Priests of Baal” on Monday, and it's a great story.

(The Obadiah in this passage is unrelated to the prophet Obadiah, who live much later and has a book of the Bible named for him. He is a high-level servant of Ahab but a secretly righteous and god-fearing man.)



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Memory Verse

Psalm 19:14: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.



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