Today's Readings: 1 KINGS 17 | Jeremiah 43 | 1 Corinthians 1
Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 1Kings 17
Elijah was a prophet of the LORD; a man sent from God (1Ki 17). He appeared out of Gilead to Ahab, the apostate king of Israel, who ruled the ten rebellious tribes that worshipped at Bethel and Dan. Evils covered the Land like a flood. For three and a half years Elijah prayed for no rain; the LORD answered with drought and famine. The Land literally burned during that judgment, for its natural life and livelihood depends on the water from heaven.
Elijah hated Queen Jezebel's promotion of Astarte, the goddess named for the planet Venus. He hated the whoredom of the people who worshipped the goddess of "love" and "queen of heaven" through the religious cult that included sodomy and prostitution. Elijah hated the robbery and oppression condoned by King Ahab. He hated the people's disobedience to the Law given to Israel at Sinai. Ahab also worshiped the calves, the pagan imagery of the worship of the "host of heaven," which dates from even before the time of the exodus from Egypt.
Elijah was one individual among 7,000 who remained faithful to God during Israel's apostasy of the ten tribes. He was very zealous for the one true God, who created the heavens and the earth. A righteous man, Elijah was also a passionate man. Simple, child-like, trusting; at times not fully understanding why, he nevertheless did the bidding of his God. That's all. Because he was hot and not cold to do His work, God will send him [or someone very like him!] to Israel again, before Christ returns to rule from Zion's hill.
Reading 2 - Jeremiah 43:7-11
"So they entered Egypt in disobedience to the LORD and went as far as Tahpanhes. In Tahpanhes the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 'While the Jews are watching, take some large stones with you and bury them in clay in the brick pavement at the entrance to Pharaoh's palace in Tahpanhes. Then say to them, "This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will send for my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and I will set his throne over these stones I have buried here; he will spread his royal canopy above them." He will come and attack Egypt, bringing death to those destined for death, captivity to those destined for captivity, and the sword to those destined for the sword' " (Jer 43:7-11).
At last the emigrants arrived at Tahpanhes, ten miles west of where the Suez Canal now stands. There, in response to the word of the Lord, Jeremiah the prophet called the attention of his fellow-Jews to a specific prophecy regarding Nebuchadnezzar, whose wrath they had sought to flee.
Not only would the king of Babylon come into Egypt, but he would even set up his pavilion and throne of administration at the very place where they now were. Egypt would surely feel the weight of his military might. There would be plundering and destruction -- and surely these fearful and faithless Jews would not escape him, even in this distant land!
In as powerful way as he possibly could, Jeremiah warned them, 'You may run from the judgments of Yahweh, but you can't hide!'
Reading 3 - 1Corinthians 1:27-29
"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-- and the things that are not-- to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him" (1Co 1:27-29).
This is one of the fundamental messages of the Bible, and shown in practice a hundred times:
God saves a nation through one man, after first selling him into slavery, and casting him into prison.
God rescues that same nation through one little baby destined for death, but plucked out of his burial coffin on a whim by a king's daughter.
God sends home 30,000 troops, and wins a great victory with 300.
Another army cringes in their tents at the threats of a giant warrior, who blasphemes the name of the God of Israel, but a little boy -- rejecting all the armaments of a soldier -- goes out to "fight" him with a shepherd's sling... and faith.
A whole nation is brought to the brink of ruin, and extinction, with a huge army surrounding its capital city -- and then, to top it all off, its king is smitten with a deadly disease -- but God answers his prayers and the threat is wiped out in a single night.
Thousands of Jews die ugly, horrible deaths on Roman crosses, but one of those poor suffering "criminals" turns out to be the Saviour of the world.
In our Father's world, a still, small whisper of wind shakes the earth; a tiny cry in a lonely manger introduces a new world order; a microscopic seed grows into a great tree; and a little stone becomes a great mountain to fill the whole earth...
..."So that no flesh may boast before HIM..."