1 Kings 15:25–17:24
In this brief section we read of six evil kings in Israel and one good king in Judah.
1. Nadab, the son of Jeroboam reigned (2 years)
2. Baasha, conspired against Nadab and reigned (24 years)
1 Kings 15:28–29 (NKJV) “Baasha killed him in the third year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned in his place. 29 And it was so, when he became king, that he killed all the house of Jeroboam. He did not leave to Jeroboam anyone that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according to the word of the LORD which He had spoken by His servant Ahijah the Shilonite.”
3. Elah, the son of Baasha reigned (2 years)
4. Zimri, the servant of Elah conspired against Elah and killed him and reigned (briefly – 7 days – but then committed suicide by burning the house down on himself).
5. Omri, the commander of the army conspired against Zimri and reigned (12 years)
1 Kings 16:25 (NKJV) “Omri did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all who were before him.”
6. Ahab, the son of Omri reigned (22 years) and things just continue to get worse.
1 Kings 16:30–33 (NKJV) “Now Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD, more than all who were before him. 31 And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. 32 Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. 33 And Ahab made a wooden image. Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.”
1 Kings 16:34 is a fulfillment of Joshua 6:26 spoken 500 years earlier.
We will be reading a lot about King Ahab, Jezebel, and Elijah. A spiritual war is made public in 1 Kings 17:
1 Kings 17:1 (NKJV) “And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.”
Elijah knew the Word, that the LORD promised to shut the heavens if His people worshipped other gods (Deuteronomy 11:16-17) so he simply prayed Bible. We can do the same, and if God wills, He can open and shut the heavens. We may look at Elijah and think he was some sort of superman, but he was just like us. James teaches the church that we can all have a ministry like Elijah – the key is prayer.
James 5:17–18 (NKJV) “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”
Who is this guy who just bursts onto the scene, storms into the palace, declares war, and shuts the heavens on Israel? He’s a man who has spent some serious time in prayer. Elijah is one of my favorite characters in the Bible. God feeds him with ravens (how cool is that?). God leads him every step of the way, eventually to a Gentile widow and they’re a mutual help to each other. The LORD leads Elijah to the widow in Zarephath. When Elijah asks her for some food, a little pancake, she tells him that she only has enough for her son and her. It’s the last of the oil and flour, they’re about to eat it and get ready to die (the drought is severe). Elijah responds:
1 Kings 17:13 (NKJV) “And Elijah said to her, ‘Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son.
Was Elijah being selfish? Why did he ask her to make him a small cake first, bring it to him, and THEN make some for themselves?
Pastor Chuck Smith said, “…he was asking her to give all she had to the Lord. We see this principle in action: If you put God first, He’ll take care of the rest. Give God your first fruits; then watch Him miraculously provide.”
Woven in is a principle deeper than tithing, it’s truly, totally, trusting God to provide. Give to God what belongs to God and watch God work! I wonder if this story was an inspiration to another widow we read about later in the Bible who gave her whole livelihood to God (Mark 12:41-44).
As we read through the Scriptures we see certain seasons of when there were “more” miracles:
1. At the Exodus.
2. During the time of Elijah and Elisha.
3. When Jesus came.
4. At the establishment of the church.
Here we see Elijah even raise the dead (1 Kings 17:21-24).
Peter was open and moved by the Spirit – it was radical for a Jewish man to enter the home of a Gentile (non Jew).
Cornelius was sincere in his faith but needed more truth and guidance – the fact that he worshipped Peter upon his entrance shows us this, but also shows us that even the best of men are men at best. Peter lifted him up and told him not to do that, “I myself am also a man,” he said. God was making things clear.
Acts 10:28 (NKJV) “Then he said to them, ‘You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.’”
Peter’s taking it all in, one step at a time. He’s learning that there is no partiality with God, that the Gentiles are not to be called or thought of as unclean.
Peter then asks Cornelius why he was summoned. Cornelius tells him the story and then ends with every preacher’s dream come true, “When he comes he will speak to you,” in other words, they were all there ready to listen to whatever Peter had to say, open ears, and open hearts.
Peter goes on to preach Jesus to them; peace through Jesus, the power of Jesus who did good and healed all who were oppressed by the Devil. Crucified on a tree (cross) but raised the third day, witnessed by many, openly, they were even eating and drinking with Him after He rose from the dead; Jesus…ordained to be Judge.
Acts 10:43 (NKJV) “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”
And WHILE Peter was speaking, they believed, they were saved in that instant, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues. Wow!
God used Peter to open the door to the Gentiles.
That’s all it takes is faith in Jesus’ name to be forgiven. They believed, they were saved, and the tongues were a sign for everyone to see and hear – it was true conversion. They didn’t have to go forward to the altar, say a certain prayer, or anything else, they were instantly saved, sealed, and delivered by the Spirit of God – by faith in Christ, they believed and received the Gospel. That doesn’t mean altar calls are wrong in any way, it’s just important to know the simplicity and power of the Gospel.
I like what Warren Wiersbe said, “Peter did not get to finish his sermon. When he said, “Whosoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43), they believed and were saved. What a great way to stop a sermon!”
The Jews were astonished and rightly so! It’s ALWAYS blessing to see someone saved, filled with the Holy Spirit, and what a joy to see God correct the horrible misconception of partiality.
Acts 10:34 (NKJV) “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.’”
And right there and then, they were baptized.
O Lord, I thank You that You love everyone, even me. I still remember the day – the moment I was saved, just like these Gentiles. May I live a life of gratitude and freedom to obey You, enjoy You, and share Your message of life and love, wherever You may send me.
This is the final Psalm of Ascents (pilgrim Psalm).
Here we have the pilgrim encourage the priests and Levites, who kept watch at the Temple, to bless the LORD, to lift their hands to God.
As we lift our hands to the Lord we worship.
As we lift our hands to the Lord we surrender.
As we lift our hands to the Lord, we’re like children ready to receive from our Father, which is the final prayer of the pilgrim for the priests.
Psalm 134:3 (NKJV) “The LORD who made heaven and earth bless you from Zion!”
V. 9 – We have a visual of this in:
Genesis 9:23 (NKJV) But Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.
1 Corinthians 13:4 also shares the positive portion of this passage, “Love thinks no evil…” meaning it keeps no record of wrongs.
On the flip side, how ugly it is when the worst of words separate the best of friends – be careful THINK before you speak and “repeat a matter.”
V. 10 – When we’re wise, the rebuke does us good, it’s effective, productive, helpful, life-changing.
But to the fool, 100 blows (think of that) are ineffective to truly change him, or help him. The painful discipline is ignored, he hardens his heart, he loves his sin, clings to his pride, and remains a fool.
V. 11 – It’s easier to understand in the New Living Translation.
Proverbs 17:11 (NLT) “Evil people are eager for rebellion, but they will be severely punished.”
Some are proud of the fact that they go against the flow of the church or the Bible – eagerly, that they’re captains of their own ship. God allows people the freedom to choose hell, to rebel, sin and rebellion, but He also warns, the day will come when they will be severely punished.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.