Sunday, January 30, 2011

DAY 194: 1 KINGS 18

Nights like tonight get my heart churning. How can you listen to a story like they showed and not be overcome by how good God is. While we were yet sinners Jesus Christ died for us. He came for the broken. I keep wanting to be unbroken and sometimes my pride gets the best of me and I think that I'm not. I don't have it all together and I don't ever want to pretend that I do. It's this brokenness that keeps us tethered to our Savior. If we can figure it all out on our own and things made perfect by our own doing then what is the need for a Savior? Those most passionate about Christ realize their desperate need for Him. We live in a culture where self reliance is worshipped and it's one of the very things that keeps us separated from God.

1 K 18:
I keep mulling over these last two chapters in my head. They're pretty stinking awesome. I am a girl of extremes and Elijah's zeal for God gets me fired up. This is probably why I hate Americana Christianity. There's no risks involved. There's no cost to the follower and there is no passion. Something is amiss when I am more passionate about the person who cut me off on the road than I am about Christ.

The climate of Israel is hostile towards those who worship the Lord. Jezebel is on a mission to kill all the prophets of God. She's not interested in killing the lukewarm she's interested in killing those that are brave enough to make a difference. Obediah is a Godly man on Ahab's staff who started hiding prophets in caves and giving them food and water. I read a beautiful quote from commentary on this. Judas's are a dime a dozen but to be a Godly man in the midst of ungodly people is rare.

Elijah finally makes an appearance to King Ahab after over three years of drought. Ahab has been looking for Elijah this entire time. When he finally sees Elijah this is his response:

When he saw Elijah, he said to him, "Is that you, you troubler of Israel?"

Elijah is facing a man who desperately wants to kill him and he boldly tells Ahab that it's Ahab's fault for the drought. He then asks Ahab to gather up all the prophets of Baal and the people at Mount Carmel. The strange thing about this is that Ahab does what Elijah asks.

Vs 21:
"Elijah went before the people and said, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him."
But the people said nothing."

The people of Israel were lukewarm. They wanted to worship the Lord and Baal. I read this chapter and I believe our country is headed in this direction in many ways. Isn't this exactly what Americana Christianity looks like? I want to worship God and comfort or God and my career. Sometimes I may want to throw worship of my children into the mix or money or success. Frankly sometimes I just want to worship myself. Israel wanted to worship both and God is not down with that.

Elijah suggests that a sacrifice be made and the god that can send down fire to consume the sacrifice must obviously be the one true God. Everyone thinks this is a great idea. The prophets of Baal get started right away. They are passionate about worshipping Baal and sing and dance and go nuts. At about noon they start getting frantic and start cutting each other with swords and spears to cover themselves in blood. Their singing and dancing get louder and louder. Elijah starts to mock them:

At noon Elijah began to taunt them. "Shout louder!" he said. "Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened."

It would have been so hard not to do this. Maybe this is another reason why I like Elijah so much.

Evening approaches and Elijah prepares the sacrifice to the Lord. This verse tore me up.

Vs 31:
Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the lord had come, saying, "Your name shall be Israel."

Oh Israel you have fallen so far away from the One who loves you with an everlasting love. I can only imagine how broken hearted God is over the fact that His people have turned away from Him. Yet despite the numerous times they turn away from God, He continues to try to woo them back.

Elijah makes it ultra dramatic, which of course I like, by having the people pour 12 huge jugs of water on top of the alter, the wood and the sacrifice. Elijah had dug a trench around the alter and there was so much water that the trench is filled. Elijah them prays and fire comes from the Lord which burns up everything even the water in the trench.

This is how the people respond:
When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The lord—he is God! The lord—he is God!"

What a moment of victory for Elijah! I can't get over the amount of faith Elijah had to have to be used by God in this way.

Falling asleep. Must finish tomorrow. As good as this is Elijah does a few other things that are the delicious icing on the cake.


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Saturday, January 29, 2011

DAY 193: 1 KINGS 17

Today was a little bit of a change of pace. Elijah enters the scene. He goes to King Ahab and tells him no rain or dew will fall unless Elijah gives word. Immediately afterwards God tells him to flee and that he will be fed by ravens. This is an amazing example of God's provision. How could I possibly worry about how God will provide for my family when there are passages like this in the bible? Luke 12:22-34 talks about God's amazing provision but this is a clear cut example of how crazy God's provision can be. Fed by Ravens? Really? Wowzers!!

The stream God told Elijah to hide dries up due to the drought. God leads Elijah to a widow and her son to continue to be provided for. When Elijah meets her she is gathering sticks to make her very last meal. As a mother I can't imagine what this would be like. My family has made sacrifices in order to pursue a career in ministry but even when I get stuck in having a "poor mentality" we've never ever been in this situation. Can you imagine feeding your kids what you think will be there last meal and preparing for their death? Baby E's parents may very well likely be in this situation and it's heartbreaking to think about.

Now imagine a strange man you don't know comes and asks you to share this last meal with him. This very act would be taking food almost literally out of your childs mouth. He promises that your flour and oil will not run dry but you don't even know this guy. How can this man keep your flour and oil full if he can't even feed himself?

One of the things that really sticks out to me is that when the woman makes that last meal she has to reach into the jars and use what appears to be the last of the provision. She doesn't go and they are magically filled to the top. Daily she uses what appears to be the last of the oil and the flour and hopes that the faith she has placed in the God of Israel will come through day after day. Do I truly walk in faith like this daily with God? If I did I wouldn't turn to food, or social media, or tv or any other thing I daily turn to in order to fill me up. I would be asking God daily to fill my jars and provide just the perfect amount of provision that I need daily.

Some time later the widows son grows sick and he dies. This is the widows response.

"She said to Elijah, "What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?"

There's several interesting thongs here. Before Elijah showed up her son would have died. She has taken the daily provision of God for granted. We forget sometimes where the Lord has rescued us from. We act as if God was created for our glory instead of the other way around. I can resonate with the widow on this. I'll trust you God as long as something awful doesn't happen. Instead of asking Elijah to pray for her son to get better she is hostile when he dies. She places certain aspects of her life into God's hands but she hasn't fully gone all in. As scary as it may seem I want all in.

Elijah immediately goes to God and asks for the boy to be brought back to life. God and Elijah are tight. Elijah is not scared to ask. It's okay to ask God for a miracle. How many great things could happen in the body if we would only just ask. Here's the kicker Elijah doesn't just ask once, he asks three times. Elijah isn't easily swayed. He is persistent and he is confident in God who rules over all.

The chapter ends with this verse:
"Then the woman said to Elijah, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the lord from your mouth is the truth."

I read this and can't help thinking but wasn't the flour and the oil enough to convince you? What is my flour and oil? What miraculous things are occurring daily in my life that I completely take for granted or miss? God please help me to rely on you to be my daily provision and may I never take my flour and oil for granted.


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How can this beautiful girl possibly be five next month? The brief encounters I've already had with five are absolutely incredible. I think this might be my most favorite year yet. Only wish it hadn't gotten here so incredibly fast. First it's five and then I'll blink and this beautiful girl will be ten. BlogBooster-The most productive way for mobile blogging. BlogBooster is a multi-service blog editor for iPhone, Android, WebOs and your desktop

Day 192: 1 Kings 16

Days like this are good for the soul. Itching for spring! Once spring gets here I'll literally be itching.

Well I've had plenty of confirmation that I'm supposed to lead a group in Shelter this semester. Pretty crazy how God hand picks these groups. I've enjoyed my year off and not thrilled about diving back into the murky waters but excited to know I truly am walking the path God has laid out before me and that's the only way I want to be walking.

1 K 16:
Israel can not get it together and is going through kings like it's cereal in BrownTown. Baasha gained the throne by killing Jeroboam's son and all the male relatives and friends. Baasha follows in Jeroboam's evil ways and a prophet is sent to tell him his fate will be the same as Jeroboam's. When Baasha's son takes the throne he rules for two years then he is killed by Zimri along with all his relatives and friends. Zimri commits suicide after reigning for 7 days when he finds out the army is coming after him and they want Omri to be king. Israel is then split down the middle. Half wanting Omri as king and half wanting Tibni as king. Tibni conveniently dies and Omri is king.

According to the world Omri was the bomb as king. Other surrounding countries had great respect for him and praised him as a mighty king. This is what God had to say about him and he was the father of evil Ahab.

Vs 25:
"But Omri did evil in the eyes of the lord and sinned more than all those before him."

It's so easy to get wrapped up in what the world says is good and right. Some of these things don't even seem evil much less bad on the outside. Yet God doesn't call us to be of the world. The wisdom of this world is foolish and fleeting. I want to fully embrace a biblical world view in everything that I do. I want the word of God to be the bedrock and foundation and filter for the way I live my life.

As if Israel's monarchy isn't ugly enough yet King Ahab enters the scene. The kingship just keeps getting more and more evil.

Vs 30:
"Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the lord than any of those before him."

Who would want this legacy? Yuck!

Chapter ends with this verse:

In Ahab's time, Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho. He laid its foundations at the cost of his firstborn son Abiram, and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, in accordance with the word of the lord spoken by Joshua son of Nun.

I looked into this verse a little bit and back in those days people would bury their children alive in the foundations of buildings. Israel never eradicated the pagans living in the land. Instead they married them and began to embrace their ways. This shows exactly how far Israel has fallen. I can't even imagine the kind of place ones heart has to be in to do this to their own child. This didn't happen overnight. As witnessed by Solomon and Asa even those that love the Lord now can choose to walk their own path. You know with those two it didn't start off as this obvious veer into darkness. It's the small justifications and the small roots of bitterness that can grow into mountains and give birth to an ugly spiritual death. The evil one is out there lurking, just waiting to kill, steal and destroy. May my heart stay tethered to the author and giver of life.


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