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Don’s Daily Devotions

DonsDailyDevotions

Sat 8th August – 1 Kings 21:25-29:

Sat 8th August  –  Read 1 Kings 21:25-29:

V25:  Here is the solemn record of Scripture, that even among the godless kings of Israel, there was none like Ahab – he is, as it were ” the worst of a bad bunch!” and Jezebel was instrumental in inciting him to this wickedness.

V26:  Again it is recorded how he pursued the worship of abominable false gods, like those of the nations God had previously driven out of the land to give His people possession of it – now, under Ahab, they are just like those nations – but “God is not mocked.”

V27-29:  So it is almost with amazement that we now read that Ahab is now brought, in fear, to humble himself before God. and the Lord tells Elijah that because of this, the full judgement he has declared will not fall in Ahab’s own day, but once his son has succeeded him. These are difficult verses to understand – clearly Ahab’s ” change of heart” falls far short of genuine repentance. and he surely does not come to real faith, yet God will at times tarry judgement in temporal mercy at even a measure of contrition under the convicting power of His Word. But praise God, if we know the full measure of His mercy and grace, through true repentance and saving faith in Christ.

DonsDailyDevotions

Fri 7th August – 1 Kings 21:17-24:

Fri 7th August  –  Read 1 Kings 21:17-24:

As we are following Scriptures record of Elijah and his ministry, we now ” jump” to this passage. The earlier verses of ch 21 record how Ahab, egged on by Jezebel, has continued in his godlessness, untouched by God’s mercy after the drought, to covet the vineyard of a man named Naboth, and had Naboth falsely accused and condemned to death so that he can take it.

V17-18:  God now sends Elijah to confront Ahab in the very vineyard he has stolen so wickedly.

V19:  God is never ” unaware” – nothing takes Him by surprise and though His judgement may tarry – in mercy, to give space for repentance, – it never sleeps. Elijah is sent to face Ahab with what he has done, and speak in the starkest terms of God’s judgement to come upon him. Do we shy back from delivering God’s warnings of sure judgement to come?

V20: As once before, Ahab tries to blame Elijah – his “enemy”. With his old God-given boldness restored, Elijah tells him how he has given himself entirely to evil in God’s sight.

V21-22:  Elijah delivers God’s message of judgement – the “I” of these verses is, of course, God Himself, not Elijah – Ahab’s whole line will perish, as had that of other godless kings before him, for he has made the whole nation sin against the Lord, and brought forth God’s wrath.

V23-24:  Again in the grimmest terms, the judgement that will come upon Jezebel, and all who show them allegiance is foretold.

We might not like verses like these, but we dare not deny or sanitise the truth of God’s judgement. The final outpouring of His wrath against sin will go far beyond the gruesome fates spoken of here. But, praise God, in the Lord Jesus Christ there is an escape from that wrath for all who will trust in Him, for He has born it for us. ( Romans 5:9.)

DonsDailyDevotions

Thurs 6th August – Read 1 Kings 19:19-21:

Thurs 6th August   –  Read 1 Kings 19:19-21:

V19:  Elijah is again in God’s will and obedient to His command – surely God’s revelation of Himself has restored him. He goes first to find Elisha, who is ploughing his father’s land. The 12 yoke of Oxen indicate a wealthy, perhaps influential, family, probably very different from Elijah’s own background. God calls His people from all walks and conditions of life. The cloak appears to be symbolic of the prophetic office, and of God’s call to it.

V20:  Elisha knows at once he has been called to follow Elijah, and asks to be allowed to go and say farewell to his parents. Elijah’s brusque response may puzzle us. Does he suspect the kind of limited response Jesus speaks of in Matthew 8:21-22, where the point is that the father is not yet dead, and the man seeks to delay his commitment? Or more likely, is he simply testing Elisha, will he truly follow or will he be easily put off?

V21:  Elisha does go back home for a while, but only to offer the oxen with which he had been ploughing as a sacrifice to God, and feast ” the people” – his servants? – with their flesh. He is surely saying farewell to, and putting off his old life to heed God’s call. Then he goes to follow Elijah, first as his servant/assistant. There was surely to be a period of preparation for service, which Scripture does not record, serving and learning from the older prophet.

DonsDailyDevotions

Wed 5th August – 1 Kings 19:14-18:

Wed 5th August   –   Read 1 Kings 19:14-18:

V14:  Out pours the same complaint, word for word. Isn’t this Elijah ” digging his heels in”, as we say. How often we do that, when we don’t want to accept what God is saying to us from His Word – yet to me the repeated complaint is surely with less conviction, though still in stubbornness.

V15:  God’s response is, in effect ” Snap out of it, Elijah. I still have work for you to do. You are to anoint a new king of Syria – a remarkable instance of God’s sovereignty over the nations, in which Elijah will be His instrument.

V16:  Then, to anoint a new king of Israel ( Ahab’s days are numbered, and he will not escape God’s judgement.) And then, to anoint a new prophet, who will in due time succeed Elijah himself as God’s appointed “voice to the nation”, the young man Elisha. God’s work does not depend on any one man, however greatly used by God, He will raise up the servants of His choice to continue His work – the power is His, and His work is in His own Sovereign hand. ( So, compare His word to Joshua, in Joshua 1:1-2, 5.)

V17:  These men, each in his own context, will be instruments of God’s judgement. Perhaps only Elisha will be conscious of this, but compare Isaiah 10:5-7; 45:1-3.

V18:  But Elijah is told his view of himself as ” the only servant of God left in Israel” is very skewed. He does not see the whole picture, but God does. How often we need this lesson too. God has 7000 in Israel who have never truly compromised with Baal worship. Elijah has looked too much at himself ( v 10/14.) – we too can be tempted to do this, especially when we are feeling “down”.

DonsDailyDevotions

Tues 4th August – 1 Kings 19:11-13:

Tues 4th August    –   Read 1 Kings 19:11-13:

V11:  God brings him to the entrance of the cave, and sends mighty physical manifestations of power, a wind so strong it devastates the hillside, an earthquake, yet ” the Lord was not in them”. What does this mean? Obviously it was God’s power that produced them, but they were not the revelation of God that Elijah needs at this moment – they are not what the Lord has to say to him to deal with his condition.

V12:  Again, fire sweeps across the hillside, but again, this is not what God is saying to Elijah. He has seen the fire of God fall from heaven on Carmel, now he needs something else. It comes in ” a low whisper” – as the old AV so evocatively put it ” a still small voice”. Surely, what God is saying is ” Elijah, you’ve seen mighty demonstrations of my power, but it is not and will not always be like that. I’m with you even when “nothing seems to be happening”. Listen for what I’m saying to you in the quietness. Realise that I’m always with you! How often we need to realise this afresh – perhaps very much at this present moment.

V13:  Elijah clearly recognises God’s voice. Why then the repetition of the question? Because Elijah still needs to take the lesson to heart, as we so often do.

DonsDailyDevotions

Mon 3rd August – 1 Kings 19:9-10:

Mon 3rd August – Read 1 Kings 19:9-10:

V9:  Elijah – who has been brought to Mount Horeb by God, with no such intention of his own, remember, comes to a cave on the mountainside, where ” the word of the Lord came to him”. Whether an audible voice or an inner conviction, we don’t know, but surely the source was the One who is the eternal Word of God (John 1:1.) The question ” what are you doing here Elijah?”, does not mean what are you doing in this place – he is only there because God has brought him there – but what are you doing in this current condition of spiritual lowness, this state of despair? What has brought you to this?

V10:  And Elijah pours out the burden of his heart – He alone has stood firm for God, he has faced and challenged the whole apostate nation for the Lord, and now “they seek my life”. Here surely is the aftermath of a hard and lonely ministry, and God’s servants do have such low times, when everything seems suddenly to overwhelm them. For Elijah, it seems that Jezebel’s threat has convinced him that despite the victory on Mount Carmel, in reality ” nothing has changed.” Do we ever feel like that? I know I do. Yet look how much “I” occurs in this verse – Elijah is for a moment focussed on himself rather than his Lord – and it may be like that for us sometimes too. We will go on to see how God deals with His servant’s low condition.

DonsDailyDevotions

Sat 1st August – 1 Kings 19:7-8

Sat 1st August  –  Read 1 Kings 19:7-8

V7:  Now we learn something even more amazing. This is no “mere angel” – if we dare say that – but ” the angel of the Lord”, that mysterious figure who came to chosen servants of the Lord in the OT and left them somehow aware that they had met with God Himself, so that as narratives developed this person is called at times simply ” the Lord” ( See for example, Genesis 22:15-17; Exodus 3:2-6: Judges 6:12.) This person, meeting whom is meeting God, and would be devastating but for His grace, is regarded by most Bible scholars as a “pre-incarnation” appearance of Jesus Himself – eternally the Son of God – many think appearing in the form that would be His in His earthly life. So, we may say it is Jesus Himself who comes to minister to Elijah in his low condition, even to feed and sustain his body. He tells Elijah he needs this food to sustain him for a journey. Remember, he had no intention of making a journey – just wanted to die. God is still dealing with his servant  in His great mercy and tenderness.

V8:  And that ( miraculous?) food sustains him for a 40 day journey to Horeb, the mount of God, another name for Sinai, where God met with Moses to give him the law, and in the desert far below the southern border of Judah. God has his servant in His hand, and is preparing him for the revelation he needs, in his low state.

DonsDailyDevotions

Fri 31st July – 1 Kings 19:4-6

Fri 31st July  –  Read 1 Kings 19:4-6

V4:  Fleeing alone into the desert, it seems that all Elijah wants is, as we might say, to curl up and die, pleading with God to take his life. This is not the positive longing of faith expressed by Paul in Philippians 1:23 – this is sheer despair. He feels a failure, his life and ministry have achieved nothing – he is no better than his ancestors. To his eyes, nothing has really changed after Carmel, Jezebel still exercises her cruel power, he wants to give up. Do we ever feel like this?

V5-6:  But God begins to deal with his overwrought servant. As he sleeps the sleep of sheer exhaustion, we read “an angel touched him”, telling him to eat, to sustain himself – and there beside him is a basic meal for his immediate physical need. How wise and caring God is for His people in need – often our physical state needs to be dealt with before our spiritual condition can be.

DonsDailyDevotions

Thurs 30th July – 1 Kings 19:1-3

Thurs 30th July  –  Read 1 Kings 19:1-3

V1:  Sadly, nothing has truly touched or changed Ahab. He returns home only to report to Jezebel – increasingly seen to be the “power behind the throne” who dominates her husband – what Elijah has done, including executing the prophets who were her proteges.

V2:  She immediately sends a threat against Elijah’s life – he will be like them – dead – or let her god’s do the same to her. Her gods are, of course, nothing, and the true and living god will in His own time deal with Jezebel.

V3: At first reading, we are surely amazed to see the effect on Elijah. He is afraid for his life and flees to the city of Beersheba, deep in the southern kingdom of Judah, and some 80 miles from Jezreel. But only to leave his servant there. Is this the man who has just stood so fearless for God on Mount Carmel? Then we recall the words of James 5:17, and say – yes, he is a man ” just like us”. How often we may let our guard down after a time of great blessing, and be at our most vulnerable spiritually.

DonsDailyDevotions

Wed 29th July – 1 Kings 18:42-46

Wed 29th July  –   Read 1 Kings 18:42-46

V42: As Ahab goes, Elijah seeks God’s face in humble prayer, as shown by the posture he adopts. Here surely is an intercessor praying for and identifying with his people. Compare Moses, in Exodus 33:30-32. Note also, that though Elijah is confident in what God will do, he still prays for it in humble faith ( See James 5:18.) This is a balance God’s word sets before us. May it mark our praying.

V43: He sends his servant to look out over the sea. ( Carmel is on a high promontory that looks over the Mediteranean. ) But no sign of rain yet appears – Elijah sends him back to look again – 7 times! Faith waits in humble patience yet confident trust, for God’s time to answer.

V44: On that 7th time – Biblically the number of fullness or completion, remember –  the servant reports a small cloud, in the distance so far it seems no bigger than a man’s hand. This is enough for Elijah – he sends the servant to tell Ahab to get in his chariot and drive home quickly, for the rain will soon be so torrential it would stop him doing so.

V45: So it is – soon clouds darken the sky and the rain pours down. This is God’s mercy, after bringing Israel to the measure of repentance seen in v39, even though that will prove less than complete. God is still the same God of mercy and grace – do we pray in real anticipation of the “showers of blessing” of which we sometimes sing?

V46: God’s spirit so comes upon Elijah that he can outrun Ahab’s chariot, returning to Jezreel – the city where Ahab has his palace. God will always equip and enable His servants for what He calls them to do.