Reading #1 – Judges 17
Reading #2 – Psalms 16
Reading #3 – Proverbs 23
Reading #4 – Acts 19
Reading #5 – 1 Kings 18
Judges 17 – Micah’s Idols. This incident might seem to be ridiculous because the child stole the money, admitted it, and the mother had an idol made out of the silver coins. The son, in turn, created a center of worship around the coins he stole. A Levite comes to town looking for a place to live and is made the young man’s father and priest. This was a time just before Saul arose as king over the tribes of Israel (6).
Psalms 16 – A Psalm of David. Trusting in a person you cannot see but know that He is always with you requires faith. Faith is developed by seeing how the individual comes through on His promises. You might ask, “why don’t we see his promises being fulfilled today.” The answer is, we are an enlightened society that can we can rationalize everything but lose sight of the small things that grow around us. I will bless the LORD who guides me; even at night, my heart instructs me. I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me (7-8). David’s faith in G_d was not “blind faith”, it was a faith that was developed from early childhood to the waning days of his life.
1 Kings 18 – Contest on Mount Carmel. Now the drought in Israel had grown dire being the grass had withered up so the animals had no place to eat. Obadiah, a believer in G_d, was sent to go look for a small patch of grass that the horses and mules belonging to Ahab king of Samaria. The contest on Mount Carmel brought together the two diametrically opposing “Lords” for the battle “G_d versus god”. So Ahab summoned all the people of Israel and the prophets to Mount Carmel. Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the LORD his God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent (20-21). There is a blank spot in this chapter and that is Obadiah’s report and Elijah’s claim “I am the only prophet of G_d remaining (13 verses 22). Elijah gives the prophets of Baal the first Up. The Priests of Baal are given the choice of animals to uses in sacrifice. This removes the opportunity for the priests of Baal to complain that the “animal just wasn’t good enough”. As is normal in any contest between Satan and G_d, Satan will not show up for the battle and will abandon his worshippers. So it is Elijah’s turn at-bat. Elijah has his servants pour more than 5 gallons of water on the sacrifice to the point that the wood, the trench, and sacrifice are completely flooded. O LORD, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself (37).”
Proverbs 23 – Life in the Kingdom of G_d. As children of G_d and citizens of his kingdom, we are given the responsibility for living our lives. Living for G_d is more than just a “Sunday thing” it is a 24/7 thing. How we live our life will tell the truth of which G_d or god we serve. When it comes to our kids, it is much the same thing. my son, give me your heart. May your eyes take delight in following my ways (26),
Acts 19 – Paul’s 3rd Missionary Journey. Paul was known for his oratorical skills and he employed them in preaching the Good News of Jesus the Risen Christ; yet, that wasn’t how received the ability to lay hands on people and they would recover nor how “touching handkerchiefs would heal people (11-12).” This power comes from the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit. “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven (Luke 24:49).” When Paul ministered to the Ephesians, he asked them “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” he asked them.“No,” they replied, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit (2).” This power was not limited to the 1st-century church just as it was not limited to the prophets Samuel, Elijah, and Elisha. There will always be Nuts like the Seven Sons of Sceva who thought it was pretty cool to go around and command the demons to leave (13-14). Being obedient to G_d in all areas of our life brings the transformative power to reach others and to do mighty works of faith. Having the power of Heaven in our hearts is not without problems. The merchants who made a good living out of selling idols in the image of Artemis started a riot by proclaiming a lie that was believed and passions arose to the point that the city was in turmoil (27-29) (Future writing – The Devil In the Details).