1 Kings 19:1-21
My heart goes out to Elijah. He went through that valley of depression and wanted to die.
At first, I didn’t understand how he could swing from one extreme to the other. How could he conduct himself with such courage before the king, be supernaturally supported by God for three years, lead an absolutely amazing and awesome victory over 450 prophets of Baal (calling fire down from heaven) and then have a complete meltdown at the threat of ONE woman.
It goes to show us that sometimes the most dangerous place to be is on the mountain-top of victory.
It goes to show us that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers (Ephesians 6:12) and any study of Jezebel would definitely lead to the conclusion that she was under the influence of the devil himself.
It goes to show that the battle doesn’t go away. Maybe Elijah thought the battle was over, but wasn’t.
If you were to look at a map, you would see that Elijah, ran, and ran, and ran, not just fleeing the nation of Israel, but to the very bottom, the southernmost portion of Judah (Beersheba). He sat down under a tree, and prayed that he might die.
And a word came to me – maybe God allowed this to happen to Elijah as an encouragement to the many, many people who struggle with similar thoughts. Who don’t have a will to live, they’ve lost that desire to keep going. Maybe some will be encouraged when they see what happened to Elijah, and realize, if it can happen to him, such a strong man of God, then I’m not without hope.
God will meet you there. It may not be in a spectacular way, like a hurricane, an earthquake, or a fire, it may just be in a still small voice. God sustained Elijah in every way, and He will do the same for you. Elijah thought his life and mission were in vain, that he was the only one left and he was about to die – that it was ALL in vain – but it wasn’t. God revealed to Elijah that He had reserved 7,000 men who had not bowed the knee to Baal.
God even commissioned Elijah with more work to do. His mission wasn’t over – as a matter of fact, it would expand. Elijah would be used to anoint the next king of Israel, and even in Syria. Elijah would anoint a successful successor (which says a lot), and check this out, ELIJAH WOULD NOT DIE. Not yet anyway. He would be taken up in a chariot of fire and return at the end of world history to usher in the coming of the King – THEN he would finish his race.
May we all be encouraged by this mysterious prophet named Elijah – a man with a nature like ours…in so many ways (James 5:17).
In Acts 12 we begin and end with King Herod, who stretches out his hand and kills James the Apostle (James had finished his race). After that, King Herod arrests Peter with the same intention (he sees how it pleases the Jews – it’s all politics to him). Peter is being guarded by 4 squads of soldiers, but he’s also being guarded by God.
Pastor Chuck informs us that, “This King Herod was Herod Agrippa, the First. He was half-Jewish, so he often tried to ingratiate himself with the Jews.”
In Acts 12:5 we read something so important,
“…but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.”
In answer to their prayers, God sends an angel, who sets Peter free. Peter walks to Mary’s house (the mother of Mark) where they are all gathered together praying. When Rhoda lets them know that Peter’s at the gate, they say she’s crazy. But sure enough, it’s Peter, who tells them to send the report to James and the others in Jerusalem, while Peter lays low for a while. In reading the account, I don’t think we can credit their great faith (they doubt the answer when it comes) but we can definitely credit God’s grace, and learn a little lesson on their mustard seed of faith, and their willingness to pray.
Warren Wiersbe writes, “It is always right to pray, even if your faith is so weak you are surprised when the answer comes! Keep knocking—God opens doors.”
Peter is only mentioned one other time in the book of Acts (15:7), as God now shifts to the ministry through Paul the Apostle.
Meanwhile, it’s interesting how the Scriptures go on to chronicle King Herod. One day he’s giving a speech to the people of Tyre and Sidon, who flatter him for food. We read in Acts 12:22, that the people kept shouting, “The voice of a god and not of a man.” So, God struck him, because he did not give glory to God…and did you notice the order of events? First he was eaten by worms and then he died.
Herod tried to stop the work of God, but no man can!
Gratitude and Mercy flow through this Psalm.
“Oh give thanks…” how we are to forever and always be grateful to God.
Grateful that His mercy endures forever. He doesn’t give me what I deserve. I deserve Hell. I deserve death. I deserve punishment. I deserve the loss of all that is good, but – His mercy endures forever.
As we read through this Psalm, the history of the world and Israel – 4 things stand out. We should be grateful to God for His:
Psalms 136:23-24 (NKJV) “Who remembered us in our lowly state, for His mercy endures forever; and rescued us from our enemies, for His mercy endures forever.”
He remembered me in my lowly state, and saved me from my enemies (the world, the flesh, the devil – and the power and penalty of sin).
My life is now very simply a life lived in gratitude…for His mercy endures forever.
V. 14 – The NIV puts it this way;
Proverbs 17:14 (NIV) “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.”
“Beware of the entrance to a quarrel…” – Shakespeare wrote
Most of us have heard that phrase, “Nip it in the bud.” Wise is the man who is able to do just that, nip it, stop it, recognize that “water” when it only begins to release – even the very drips of strife. Only by the grace of God our Father, the wisdom of Christ, and the personal power of the Holy Spirit can we stop contention before a quarrel starts, escalates, and then devastates.
V. 15 – Proverbs 17:15 (NKJV) “He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.
There are those out there who let the wicked go free, and condemn the innocent. Tragically it happens frequently. We see it in personal situations amongst friends, work situations with employees, even judicial situations in court – bribes and favoritism have a lot to do with it – and God hates it. It’s an abomination to Him.
Abomination is a strong word, God’s displeasure upon such injustice is thoroughly hated by Him…it’s good for us to know this, so that we would always be fair and impartial.
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.