Romans 6

Romans 6: Baptism unto Death, Resurrection

                Paul speaks out about baptism and sin…

“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized unto his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should wake in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4)

                Here, Paul makes an interesting point. We are baptized in a symbolic manner, to represent the death of the sinner and the resurrection of a new life. Just like Jesus Christ died for our sins, and was then raised from the dead. We too leave behind our sinful life in the waters of baptism by making a covenant with God to follow Him and to obey (to the best of our abilities) the laws and ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This symbolism can only be achieved through full immersion. Just as Jesus Christ was baptized (see: Matthew 3:16) It is also important to note that baptism must be done by someone who has the authority to baptize. Note that Jesus Christ sought John the Baptist to be baptized (see: Matthew 3:13-17) and that if someone is baptized without the Authority, a proper baptism must occur (see:  Acts 19:2-6)

Paul continues his address by advocating against sinning; “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” (Romans 6:12) Paul explains that just because we have grace in Jesus Christ, does not give us permission to sin, because “…to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey…” (Romans 6:16) Essentially Paul is saying that if you choose to obey the lusts of the world and sin, you will become a slave to them. If, however we choose to be obedient to God and His commandments, we can become a servant to Him. Paul warns that; “…the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) If we chose to not sin, we will be happier and will obtain Eternal Life. This shows that grace, the free gift from God does not entitle us to Eternal Life. For if we chose to sin, we cannot obtain Eternal Life.

Acts 12

Acts 12: Peter Flees from Prison

                King Herod [Nephew of Antipas] persecuted the church, killing the Apostle James with a sword. During the Passover, Peter is arrested. However the Christians throughout the land pray fervently to God for the release of Peter. God sends an angel who breaks into the Prison and causes Peter’s chains to fall from his hands. The Angel helps him get out of the Prison and into the city, and then he departs his own way. From here, Peter goes to the house of Mary, mother of John. A girl named Rhoda tells the apostles Peter has come, but she wasn’t believed until they see Peter for themselves. Finally the Apostles open the door and are astonished to see Peter, but Peter tells them to keep it quiet and to tell James… he then departs.

When Herod finds that Peter has escaped, he orders that the prison guards are put to death. Herod makes an oration to the people of Tyre and Sidon, and is praised by them as a god rather than a man. Because he was being praised as a god and not a man, an angel strikes him dead.

Ezekiel 5-6

Ezekiel 5-6

Chapter 5: Judgment of Jerusalem

Ezekiel is commanded to shave his head and beard. Once he has the hair, he is commanded to evenly divide the hair into thirds.

  • He must burn a third
  • Smite a third with his knife
  • Scatter a third to the wind

He is commanded to do this to indicate the judgment that will be executed on the inhabitants of Jerusalem. The chapter goes on further to explain more judgments; including famine and wild beasts. The result of this judgment leads fathers to “…eat the sons… and the sons shall eat their fathers…” (Ezekiel 5:10) The pangs of hunger cause these wicked people to resort to cannibalism.

Chapter 6: Israel shall be destroyed

Ezekiel sets his face towards the mountains and prophesies against Israel: He is told to tell its people that the high places will be made desolate, those who are close to the city will die by the sword and those far off shall die from famine. After all this desolation, the people will know that God exists.

Ecclesiastes 11-12

Ecclesiastes 11-12

Chapter 11: We Know Not the Works of God

“As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.” (Ecclesiastes 11:5)

I find it interesting how fast people can denounce God and say He does not exist! Some people believe that we know everything and that God never has, and never will exist. We as humans do understand a lot about the world, but there is so much that we are still learning… the reason? Because God knows all and we know very little.

Because life has no guarantees, we should seize available opportunities and not play it safe. Even though life is uncertain, it doesn’t mean that you should let it pass you by. Don’t wait for conditions that many never exist. We should enjoy every day but remember that the afterlife is eternal.

“Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9)

I find it very interesting how we are supposed to follow our heart and do what we want… after all we get one life on earth to live, right? So we need to make it the best one we can! But God warns us that we are still to be held accountable for what we do, so YES we do have agency and we are encouraged to explore the world and learn, but we must know that our desires and our passions are within the bounds… the LORD sets!

Chapter 12: After Death and the Plan

                “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7)

                Everyone will return to God as a spirit and the body will be turned into dust, until of course the resurrection.

                “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether or be evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:12-14)

Solomon concludes the book by giving his antidotes for the two main ailments that he talked about. People who lack purpose and direction in life should fear God and keep his commandments first. The people who think that life is unfair should remember that God will go back and look and everyone’s lives and make his judgment.

It is interesting that it says there is not end to many books… this means that the Bible is NOT the ONLY word of God! The Book of Mormon, if read diligently and prayed about earnestly can be manifest as truly Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

Ecclesiastes 7-8

Ecclesiastes 7-8

Chapter 7: Wisdom Goeth Life

In short… enjoy what you have while you can, but realize that adversity and hard times can strike at any moment. Because of this, life is short. Death is inevitable. We shouldn’t ignore it because it makes sense to plan ahead to experience God’s mercy rather than his justice. People who are too righteous and too wise are blind to their own faults. There will always be things that we don’t understand. Thinking that you have attained enough wisdom is a sure sign that you haven’t.

“Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.” (Ecclesiastes 7:3)

                Sorrow can also bring some of the best knowledge, because by experience we learn.

                “For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.” (Ecclesiastes 7:12)

                You can have defence with money, but only with knowledge and wisdom can you have lasting defence from your enemies.

                “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20)

                We all sin. Simple as that, don’t think you are better than others. It is like the phrase; ‘everyone sins differently’ so don’t go judging people.

                “I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness.” (Ecclesiastes 7:25)

                We need to ACTIVELY search to know the truth, don’t think you know everything. Always be open to learn. A wise man of 70 years old can still learn from a toddler, if that man wants to learn.

Chapter 8: None Have Power over Death

True wisdom comes from knowing and trusting God, not merely the way to find him. Knowing God will lead to understanding and then to sharing that knowledge with others. Even in a man could have all of the world’s wisdom, he would still know very little. No one can fully comprehend God.

“There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death; and there is no discharge in that war…” (Ecclesiastes 8:8)

If you ever think you are invincible or special, realize that we are nothing to God. We have no power over death; if it is our time… we will die.

“When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes:) Then I beheld the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further; thou a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.” (Ecclesiastes 8:16-17)

                God is always working, day and night! Those who seek to know God’s work will never be able to fully understand His work, and those who claim to know His work are fools.

Job 13-14

Job 13-14

Chapter 13: I will trust the Lord

Job complains against his friends who claim to have superior knowledge, to his friends and more especially Zophar, the situation seemed so simple; therefore Job must be somewhat ignorant to see what they believed was so easy to see.

Job did not understand any of his situations and felt that God was against him, not for him (as in Job 9:28 and 10:16-17). At the same time, he could still exclaim: yet I will trust Him. Job goes on to ask God to tell him if sin is indeed the cause of his suffering.

Chapter 14: Shall man live again?

                “If a man die, shall he live again? (Job 14:14) 

Job didn’t know much about the condition of man after death, but he supposed – perhaps hoped – that it was better than his current misery. Job testified of the short and fraility of life, the certainty of death and of a resurrection that would occur later… Yet Job’s general uncertainty is reflected in his question, “If a man die, shall he live again?”

I can’t think of a better place, then the Book of Mormon to answer Jobs and everyone’s questions… what happens after death?

“Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.

And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.

And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house—and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.

Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection.” (Alma 40:11-14, The Book of Mormon)          

 

2 Kings 3-4

2 Kings 3-4

Chapter 3: The Moabites are Defeated

Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria. Jehoram did wickedness in the sight of the Lord, but not like his parents… because Jehoram put away Baal and did not worship him. Instead Jehoram held onto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat which made Israel sin.

Mesha the king of Moab was a sheepmaster and gave the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and 100,000 rams with the wool. But after the death of Ahab, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. Jehoram the now king of Israel goes to the king of Judah (Jehoshaphat) and ask his help in battling against Moab. Jehoshaphat agrees and takes him army with Jehoram through the forest of Edom. As they journey they run out of water and ask for a priest among them. They find Elisha and ask him to help. He tells the kings (Israel and Judah) that they must dig trenches and the water will appear, but not by way of wind or rain… they will just appear. The water appears and from the Moab’s point of view the water appears blood red. The Moab king makes the assumption that Israel and Judah must have killed each other and that they could now collect on the spoils. But in reality, Israel and Judah were waiting for them at their camp… they smite the Moab’s and drive them into their own country where they destroy everything and cause the king of Moab to flee with 700 swordsmen.

Chapter 4: Elisha Raises a Boy from Death

A woman in the crowd calls out to Elisha and tells him that her husband has died and that he left behind debt that the creditors would now be coming for her children. Elisha asks the woman what she has that she could use to pay the debt. She tells Elisha that all she has was a small vessel of oil. So he tells her to borrow vessels from all of her neighbors… go into her house and start pouring the oil out from the vessel she had into the new ones. It was a miracle! She managed to fill all of the vessels and have more to come out of her original vessel. But once all the borrowed containers were full her oil ceased. Elisha then told her to take the oil and sell it to satisfy the debt.

Elisha and his servant kept passing by a “notable woman” who begged for them to come and eat at her house. So every time they passed by her house they would stop and eat. She enjoyed them coming and asked her husband to create a small area in their house, where Elisha and his servant could rest and sleep. So they make a bed for them both. After a while Elisha tells the woman that she has spent a lot of time caring for them and asked her what they could do for her. Elisha tells the lady that she will conceive and have a son and she does have a son! This child grew.  When the child grew he died from what appears to be a blow to the head. He dies on the lap of his mother. Elisha however brings the child back to life through the power of the priesthood. The child turned from cold to warm and then sneezed 7 times before opening his eyes. Elisha returns to Gilgal, where there is a famine in the land. The sons of the prophets then ask for food and they gather herbs and gourds to create a stew. Which after creating the stew, realize that someone had put a plant that was poisonous, so they end up making something with flour in it, instead. Next in the chapter, Elisha does something very similar to what Jesus did with the loaves of bread and fishes. He manages to feed a lot of people with very little food.

2 Kings 1-2

2 Kings 1-2

Chapter 1: “John the Baptist” – Elijah Prophesies the Death of Ahaziah

Moab rebelled against Israel, because of the death of Ahab. Ahaziah fell through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria and sustained injuries because of the fall. He sends messengers to Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron to find out whether or not he would recover from his injuries.

An angel of the Lord speaks with Elijah the Tishbite and tells him to arise and go to meet the messengers of the King of Samaria and ask them if it is because they have no God in Israel that they are reaching out to a fake god of Ekron “Baal-Zebub” to find out whether or not he will recover. So Elijah tells them that he shall no recover, but shall surely die.

After meeting with Elijah the messengers return to Ahaziah; and Ahaziah asks them why they have returned and not done as he had asked. So the messengers explained to him that a man met them and told them what would happen. So he asks the messengers to describe the man and after hearing “a hairy man with a leather belt around his waist, he knew that it was Elijah the Tishbite.

The king then sends a captain of fifty with his fifty men to go and find Elijah. When they find him, he is sitting on the top of a hill and they speak to him, commanding the “Man of God” to come down and Elijah responds by saying that he is indeed a man of God and if he truly is, let fire come down from heaven and consume your fifty men… and FIRE came down from heaven and killed his fifty men.

So the king sends another fifty and they ask for the man of God and the same thing happens, he responds and fire consumes them from heaven.

So the king sends another fifty, except this time the captain comes to Elijah and humbly kneels before him and pleads with him to not kill him or his men. An angel of the Lord tells Elijah that it is safe for him to come down and he does, sparing this group of fifty men.

Elijah delivers the exact same message he delivered to the first group of men that he had met on their journey to see Baal-Zebub, telling Ahaziah that it is because there is no God in Israel that they are going after false gods and because of this he will surely die of his injuries.

Ahaziah dies and leaves no successor to the throne. Because he had no son, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah becomes king.

Chapter 2: Elijah and Elisha

The Lord was about to take Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, but Elijah said to Elisha to stay there, but Elisha tells Elijah that he will not leave him. So they both go down to Bethel and there they are met by other sons of the Prophets who tell Elisha that the Lord will take away his master (Elijah) today and Elisha responds by knowing, but asking them to keep silent about the matter.

Elijah tells Elisha to stay as he travels to Jericho, but again Elisha refuses and goes with him to Jericho. Then the sons of the prophets tell Elisha the same thing, and he asks them to be quiet. Elijah then tells Elisha to stay, because the Lord had called him onto Jordan, but again Elisha refuses and goes to Jordan and again they tell him and he asks them to be silent.

As they cross the river, Elijah takes his mantle, rolled it up and struck the water… causing it to be divided, so they could cross on dry ground. After crossing over, Elijah asks Elisha to ask him anything before he departs. Elisha asks for a double portion of his spirit to be upon him… Elijah thinks that he has asked for a hard thing, but tells him that if he sees him when he is taken away then it shall happen, but if he does not see him as he is being taken away… that it wouldn’t happen.

Elijah and Elisha are walking along talking when suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, that separated the two of them and Elijah went up in a whirlwind of heaven. Elisha took hold of his own clothes and rent them into two pieces and took the mantel of Elijah and stood by the bank of Jordan.

Elisha begins his ministry as the prophet. He takes the mantle of Elijah and stuck the water causing the river to be divided. Once the people from Jericho saw this, they came to meet him and bowed before him saying that the spirit of Elijah rested upon him.

The sons of the prophets come out and ask for a search party to find Elijah thinking that the chariots of fire might have taken him to some other part of Israel. Elisha knew that this mission would be futile and when they come back without finding their master, he tells them… did I not say to “not go”.

The men of the city go to Elisha and ask him to heal the water source. He asks for a bowl of salt, which he pours into the river and tells them that the water source would be healed.

Elisha then left and went to Bethel, and as he was walking along the road, the youths from the city came out an mocked him, calling him “baldhead”, he turned around and pronounced a curse upon them in the name of the Lord which caused to female bears of the forest to come out and mauled forty two of the youths. Then he went to Mount Carmel and from there he returned to Samaria.

1 Kings 21-22

1 Kings 21-22

Chapter 21: Ahab Kills Naboth for His Vineyard

Ahab goes to Naboth and asks him for his vineyard. He wants his vineyard, because it is close to his house and he wants a garden of herbs close to his house. In trade he promises to give him a vineyard that is better or give him money for the piece of land. However Naboth tells him that he cannot do that, because it is his inheritance and he cannot simply give away his inheritance for something else. Ahab is upset by this and goes to his house and essentially from the text it sounds like he is crying on his bed. (see verse 4).

Jezebel comes into Ahab and asks him why is spirit is drained (I can imagine that his eyes are all puffed up from crying), and Ahab explains the situation. Jezebel then tells Ahab that he is over all of Israel and that this should not stop him from getting what he wants. So Jezebel tells him to eat, drink and be merry and that she would get him his land. So Jezebel writes letters in Ahab’s hand telling the Elders that Naboth had blasphemed God and the king and that he must be stoned to death.

The Elders take heed to the request and send two men, who were children of Belial and they witnessed against him and carried him out of the city to be stoned to death. Jezebel received word of the death and she told Ahab to arise and go take possession of the land that Naboth would not give to him for money or trade and he arose and went down to the vineyard to take possession of it.

The Lord goes to Elijah and tells him what Ahab has done and commands him to go down to the vineyard and meet Ahab, there is commanded to tell Ahab of the curse that will be put on him and his wife for working iniquity and evil before the Lord. Ahab and Jezebel will be killed and eaten by dogs in the same place that Naboth was stoned to death. When Ahab hears about this, he rents him clothes and humbles himself before the Lord. The Lord then tells Elijah that because Ahab humbled himself, that he will not cause anything to happen to him, but to happen to his house later on.

Chapter 22: Micaiah Foretells the Death of Ahab

Three years had passed without any war between Syria and Israel.  In the third year the king of Judah, Jehoshaphat went down to visit the king of Israel. While there, the King of Israel tells Jehosophat that Ramoth in Gilead is theirs, but they are hesitant to take it out of the hands of the King of Syria, so he aks the king of Judah (Jehosophat) for his help. Jehosophat tells him that his people and horses are as his. Kind of like the “mi casa es tu casa” saying. Jehosophat is ok with helping Ahab, but he suggests that they first consult God in the matter. Ahab asks his men and they all tell him to go up to take Ramoth Gilead, because the Lord will deliver it in to his hands. It seems that Jehosophat is not comfortable with that, and asks if there is anyone else that they can ask to get a second opinion. Ahab tells him that there is someone, but he hates him… because the prophet named Micaiah always says evil things of him.

But Ahab calls his officer to brink Micaiah the son of Imlah in unto them. While waiting for him to come, both Ahab and Jehosophat are waiting in the entrance of the city and all around them they hear people telling them to go to Ramoth Gilead and fight!

Micaiah arrives… and is asked whether or not they should go to battle against and take Ramoth Gilead. Micaiah tells him the same thing as the rest of the prophets… to go to Ramoth Gilead, because the Lord will deliver it into his hands. But Ahab aks him if he is telling the truth…

So, Micaiah tells of the true prophecy; “…I saw all of Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep wthat have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have not master let them return every man to his house in peace.” (1 Kings 22:17).

This must of angered Ahab, because he turns to Jehosophat and says; (I am paraphrasing) “See, I told you he never will say anything good about me!” Micaiah explains that the other 400 prophets were decieved by a lying spirit who told them things, so that Ahab would go up to battle, fight and die.

Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah was upset and struck Micaiah on the cheek and Ahab commanded that he was to be put into prison. But as an ultimate call of warning, he tells them that they will understand his prophecy once they are backed up into an inner chamber (cave) to hide themselves.

Ahab goes to battle and disguises himself, but tells Jehosophat to put on his robes. Ahab must have thought that by being disquised he would not be a huge target as the king, thus thwarting the doom that was prophesied of him.

The King of Syria tells all his men to only fight with the king of Israel, once they see Jehosophat with the robes, they immediately pursue after him, but once he screamed and ran, they realized that he was not the king of Israel. However, out of chance a random arrow from a bow struck Ahab inbetween the joints of his armor, and he was propped up in the back of his chariot… dying a brave man to keep the spirits of his men high. When the battle was over, everyone found out that Ahab was dead.

Ahab was brought to Samaria and buried there. When they took the chariot back and washed the blood from it, the dogs licked up his blood.

Jehosophat became king when he was 35 years old. His mother was Azubah and his father was Asa. Jehosophat reigned over Judah with righteousness.

Here are a few of the accomplishments of Jehosophat;

  • He sent teachers of God’s Word out to his entire kingdom (2 Chronicles 17:7-9).
  • He established a permanent military garrison along the northern frontier (2 Chronicles 17:1-2, 12).
  • He trained and equipping a sizeable army (2 Chronicles 17:14-19) that was able to quell a Transjordan invasion (2 Chronicles 20:1-30).
  • He placed Edom under Judean control, controlling an important caravan route to the south (2 Kings 3:8-27; 2 Chronicles 20:36).
  • God blessed his reign so much that the fear of the Lord came upon neighboring nations so that they did not make war against Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17:10).
  • Jehoshaphat was also an able administrator, implementing judicial reforms (2 Chronicles 19:5-11) and religious reforms (2 Chronicles 17:3-9).
  • Jehoshaphat was also the king connected to the famous incident when the army of Judah saw a great victory won as the Levites led the battle with praise (2 Chronicles 20:15-23).

 

Ahaziah the son of Ahab became king over Israel in Samaria in the 17th years of the reign of Jehosophat in Judah. Ahaziah reigned for two years and did much evil in the sight of the Lord. He served Baal and worshiped him, provoking God to anger.

1 Kings 17-18

1 Kings 17-18

Chapter 17: Elijah Raises a Little Child from Death

Elijah prays for a drought. Elijah came as a prophet of the Lord at a very crucial time int he wicked times of Israel. Elijah tells everyone that the heavens will be sealed and will not rain again, until the words are spoken from his mouth. Elijah tells everyone where the source of his power comes from… God!

Elijah is instructed of the Lord to leave the current city “Cherith” and go to the Brook of Cherith, which flows into Jordan, there he would be met by ravens that would feed him. There, the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening… and he drank from the brook. After a short while, the brook that he was at slowly dried up until there was no more water. There was no water, because it had not rained… this is exactly what Elijah had prayed for and he got it! Now he had to trust in the Lord to stay alive during this drought.

The Lord speaks to Elijah again and tells him to go to Zarephath where he has a widow lined up to provide for him. Elijah does as the Lord commands, even though this probably made no sense to him at all. When he arrives at the gate of the city, he finds a widow gathering sticks and he calls to her and asks her to bring a little water in a cup. He also asks her for a little bit of bread too.

The widow responds to Elijah by telling him that she has no bread, but a little flour and oil and with her gathering of sticks was going to go home to her son and there she was going to make her last meal (because she had probably run out of food) to die. Elijah responds back and makes a promise to her, that if she makes him bread first and then makes them both bread… that the flour and oil shall not go down until the day that the Lord makes it rain. So the lady does as Elijah had request and she ends up NOT running out of bread!

After a few days the woman and her son become sick. She then indirectly blames Elijah for what has happened; “…art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?” (1 Kings 17:18). Elijah comes in and takes her son in his arms and cries to the Lord and begs God to let the spirit of her son come back into his body. Elijah stretched himself out over the sons body and continued to plead, until the Lord listened and restored the sons soul to his body.

Chapter 18: Elijah Challenges the Prophets of Baal

The Lord comes again to Elijah and he tells him to go present himself to Ahab, because he was going to end the drought. When he went to present himself to Ahab, there was a sever famine in Samaria. The drought (after 3 years) finally came to an end.

Elijah meets Obadiah, who was in charge of the house of Ahab.But he meets him in an unexpected manner… Ahab was worried about the livestock dying of hunger so he commands Obadiah and others to search out pasture land with grass. On the search, Obadiah meets Elijah and immediately recognizes him and falls to the earth in fear (because he feared the Lord). Elijah tells Obadiah that he will see Ahad and that he would make sure he doesn’t get into trouble on his behalf.

When Ahad meets Elijah he blames a prophet of God for the problems of Israel, instead of seeing that his wickedness has actually led them into the problems that they now face. This is where the story and chapter get really interesting, Elijah challenges King Ahab to gather the idol prophets of Ball and Asherah for a meeting at Mount Carmel. So all the prophets gathered on Mount Carmel, the prophets HATED Elijah and their loyalty was to King Ahad and Queen Jezebel.

Elijah asks a question; “…How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him….” (1 Kings 18:21). The people were silent to his question. He tells everyone there that he is a prophet of God, the only one there. But the prophets of Baal number more than 450 men! Elijah proposes a test. In this test each side will pick out a bullock, kill it, cut it up and then put it on the altar with wood, but no fire underneath.

Then Elijah proposed a test; “…call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God…” (1 Kings 18:24). So the prophets of Baal start to pray to Baal and ask for fire to cook the meat. But after some time, there is no success… so Elijah tries to mock them a bit…. “…Cry aloud: for he is a god (Baal); either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or preadventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked” (1 Kings 18:27). So Elijah calls the people’s attention over to him (now that Baal’s people have failed).

Elijah takes 12 stones (to represent the 12 tribes of Israel), he built an altar out of the rocks and around the altar a trench. Elijah then commanded the people to drench his altar with water so much that it filled the trench that he had dug. Elijah then called out to the Lord in prayer; “…Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou  art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done  ball these things at thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.” (1 Kings 18:36-38). Then when the people saw this, they fell to their faces and they knew that he was God. Then he commanded the people to grab the prophets of Baal who were trying to evade and he had them taken to the brook of Kishon, and there he killed them.

Elijah prays for the rain to come back, by praying on the top of Mount Carmel.