1 Kings 18: 1-46
Yesterday we read about how Israel was fully stuck in the sin cycle. Today we get to see how the cycle crumbles when God intervenes. We read that God is faithful to his word because Israel is experiencing a famine. Remember, you reap what you sow. In God’s economy if you worship idols, He sends curses to, hopefully, get you to change your ways. FYI, this is still true today. You reap what you sow.
I think Elijah’s challenge to the Baal worshippers illustrates reaping and sowing. The Baal worshippers sowed for all they were worth into their rituals to get Baal to do what they wanted. They spilled their own blood even! But they were sowing into nothing but hard ground and fake worship. However, Elijah sowed into God’s truth. He sowed into obedience of God’s commands, and when the time came for God to show the Baal worshippers who was really God, Elijah only had to sow into praying for God to answer. You have to sow into the right thing. I find myself all the time toiling and trying and essentially spilling my blood to get something to happen, only to find sowing into myself results in disappointment. However, when we sow into God’s word, and faith, we are sowing into the power of God, which never disappoints. EVER!
Also, I was convicted when reading this today that prayer is a last resort for me. I noticed that the Baal Worshippers tried all these different things, abused themselves, strived to get the outcome they wanted and finally gave up. Then Elijah steps up, wets the altar making it more difficult to be set on fire and then prays. He did not try a bunch of stuff, and then finally prayed. He started with prayer because he knew that is where the power came from. Later in the story we see that he prayed 7 times for the boy to be brought back to life. I think I would have used a defibrillator, done an amateur tracheotomy, gave him 5cc of Epi STAT, and done mouth to mouth before it occurred to me to ask God to do it. I think, that when prayer is not our first thought, it betrays our trust in ourselves.
Acts 11: 1-30
We get to see God’s brilliance displayed today. He knew that the Law was so entrenched in the Jewish mindset that he had to do something big, like get Peter, the Pillar of the new Church thing, to go to the Gentiles himself and give them the full message. As he revealed what they had missed since John the Baptist, the Spirit came on them, thereby giving them God’s stamp of approval. As soon as the Jews back in Jerusalem heard this they were like, “You ate with the Gentiles?!?! Oh, for same, Oh, for same!!!” Peter is like, “hold up guys, it’s all good. We are unified!” They believed him. In fact, they said, “We can see that God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of repenting of their sins and receiving eternal life.” And all the Gentiles (you and me) raise our hands and say THANK YOU LORD!!!
We get another “progress report.” Luke tells us that at this point the message has gone as far as Antioch of Syria. And we meet Barnabas, aka: The Encourager, who goes and grabs Saul (Paul) and they get busy preaching.