Sunday, February 28, 2016

1 Kings 18

Today's reading in our daily plan is 1 Kings 18. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)

  • We did a sermon at Verve on this chapter in our "A Life Worth Watching: Elijah" series. It was on February 12, 2012, and called "My God is Bigger Than Your God". You can find and listen to it here.
  • God had made a promise (through Elijah) to Ahab the king that there would be a drought in the land because the people had turned to worship the false (and evil) god Baal. Apparently it is now the third year of the drought (see verse 1). God is now ready to make it rain.
  • Obadiah, who had a government position, was secretly faithful to God and had secretly hidden 100 of God's prophets. When Elijah asks him to go to Ahab (verse 8), Obadiah fears that his secret will be out and Ahab will kill him for his faithfulness to God and to Elijah (see 9-14).
  • Ahab calls Elijah the one who has made trouble for Israel (verse 17) because he originally brought the message of the drought. But truly Ahab is the one who caused the trouble for Israel, because he and his wife had led the people to worship Baal.
  • Elijah challenges the prophets of Baal and of Asherah (another false god the Israelites were worshipping) to a showdown to determine who was worshipping the true god (see verse 19).
  • At the challenge, Elijah implores the people to stop wavering, to stop going back and forth between different gods, and to choose the one true God (verse 21).
  • The showdown proves conclusively that Baal was not a real god, and that Elijah's God was.
  • All the prophets of Baal are killed (verse 40). Perhaps that sounds extreme, but these prophets were leading people astray in a way that would impact their entire eternities. Life is a gift to us, not a right we have, and we can lose it. Being a false prophet had always carried the penalty of losing one's life (see Deuteronomy 13:13-18 and 17:2-5).
  • Elijah promises rain, prays for rain, and then the rain came.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • Elijah asked the people how long they would "waver" (verse 21). They hadn't given up on believing in God, they had just added another god they believed in as well. They still considered themselves "married" to God, but they were "dating" another god on the side.
    • One reason they followed Ahab and were worshipping another god is because there were sinful pleasures involved.
  • We're not tempted to worship other gods like Baal or Asherah, but we are tempted to continue to believe in God, but have other "gods" we worship - like success, popularity, sex, our appearance, power, a relationship, etc.
    • The thing is, just like Baal in this story, the other things we worship will not do for us what we need them to, they will never satisfy us.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • God is the one who has the highest priority in a person's life. He's the one from whom we get our identity and our security. So, question: What, other than God, do you sometimes give that spot to in your life? What else do you sometimes give highest priority? Where else do you look for your identity and security in life?
    • How long will you waver?
    • Talk to God about the temptation you have to worship this other "god" and ask Him to help you be faithful to Him alone. Make the decision to do that.