Week 25: Elijah
Weekly memory verse:
Philippians 2:8 – “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
“All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” (free download)
Why was it necessary for Christ to humble himself even unto death?
Christ humbled himself unto death because the justice of God required that satisfaction for my sins could be made in no other way than by the death of the Son of God.
Reading: Proverbs 16–18
Proverbs 16, Verse 10. Oracle. This is not an occultic oracle, but rather a decision made by a king based on divine relation.
Proverbs 17, Verse 19. Door high. This pictures one who is proud and displays his wealth which a large house with a huge front door.
Proverbs 18, Verse 16. Gift. This is not a bribe, but rather a legitimate present given to someone.
Solomon penned many wise words even though he himself demonstrated much foolishness in marrying many foreign wives and leading the nation into idolatry. It is only through truly fearing the Lord that one can retain wisdom.
- How can the fear of the Lord help us turn away from evil (16:6)?
- What are some ways you have returned evil for good (17:13)?
- Why is it important to listen before giving an answer (18:13)?
Day 122: Egypt Invades Judah
Reading: 2 Chronicles 11–12; Proverbs 19
2 Chronicles 12, Verse 2. Shishak. This king of Egypt ruled from approximately 945–924 B. C. A record of this invasion was discovered on an Egyptian stone.
The invasion of Judah by Egypt foreshadows what is to come of the nation if they will not turn back to the Lord. God had promised them that if they obeyed him, he would bless them, but if they forsook him, he would send them into captivity. This final captivity does not happen for 200 years, but God is warning them by making them serve Egypt for a time.
- How is Rehoboam’s reign evidence of the lasting results of his father’s sins?
- How is God’s mercy displayed in this account?
- In what ways does the Egyptian invasion foreshadow what is to come for the nation?
Day 123: Kings of Judah and Israel
Reading: 1 Kings 15–16; Proverbs 20
1 Kings 15, Verse 9. Asa. Asa was the first of a few good kings in Judah. There were no good kings in Israel.
1 Kings 16, Verse 15. Seven days. Zimri’s reign was the shortest of any king of Israel.
Verse 25. More evil. While Jeroboam never intended the people to worship false gods, but instead attempted to create a new system of worshiping Yahweh so that the people would not go to Jerusalem, this inevitably led to idol worship. With Omri, Baal worship officially comes to Israel through the marriage of his son, Ahab, to Jezebel, the daughter of the neighboring kingdom of Phoenicia.
The record of kings in both Judah and Israel is almost entirely disastrous. While a few select kings in Judah fear the Lord and attempt reform, most of Judah’s kings forsake God, and all of Israel’s kings are evil. This reaches a climax in the reigns of Omri and Ahab, when full idolatrous Baal worship comes into Israel.
- What is required for a king to be considered good?
- Why are there no good kings in Israel?
- What does Israel’s downfall reveal about the dangers of religious syncretism (mixing true worship with false worship)?
Day 124: Elijah
Reading: 1 Kings 17; Psalm 29
1 Kings 17, Verse 1. Tishbite. Tishbe was a town east of the Jordan River.
Verse 3. Brook Cherith. Likely a seasonal brook that dried up in the hot season.
Verse 9. Zarephath. A town on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea controlled by Ahab’s father-in-law.
God sends the prophet Elijah to confront Baal worship and to demonstrate that only Yahweh is the true and living God. He proclaims judgment of a drought upon Israel, and God confirms him as a true prophet through miraculously providing for his needs and by using him to raise the widow’s son from the dead, something that Baal was supposed to have the power to do.
- Why did God send Elijah?
- In what ways did God prove that he was God and Baal is not through Elijah?
- Why did God allow Elijah to raise the widow’s son from the dead?
Day 125: Elijah and the Prophets of Baal
Reading: 1 Kings 18
Verse 3. Obadiah. This is not the minor prophet, but the chief servant of Ahab’s court, probably second in command of the while kingdom. Privately, he had continued to worship Yahweh, but he was a bit of a compromiser, afraid to stand up to the idolatrous king.
Verse 19. Mount Carmel. Elijah chose this mountain because it lay at the border of Israel and the neighboring nation of Phoenicia, Jezebel’s native land. It was also known for frequent lightning strikes, so in a sense, Elijah was giving Baal, the supposed “god of storm,” the “home field advantage.”
An ultimate display that Yahweh was the true God, Elijah’s encounter with the prophets of Baal is one of the most colorful stories in the Old Testament. Contrary to the pagan’s chaotic worship in which they attempted to initiate an encounter with their god, Elijah prayed a simple request to God, based on God’s own commands and initiative, in which he asked God to reveal that he was the true and living God. The result left no doubt.
- How did Elijah contrast with Obadiah?
- Why did Elijah choose Mount Carmel?
- How was the pagan worship different from how Elijah approached God?