Wednesday, June 22, 2022

2022.06.22 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Kings 18:1–18

Read 1 Kings 18:1–18

Questions from the Scripture text: What came to whom when (1 Kings 18:1)? What the LORD tell Elijah to do? What did the LORD say that He would do? What is the condition of Ahab’s capital city (1 Kings 18:2)? Whom had Obadiah called to do what (1 Kings 18:3)? Whom did Obadiah fear? How much? Who had done what in 1 Kings 18:4? But what had Obadiah done? What project was Obadiah in the middle of in 1 Kings 18:5-6? What was Ahab’s plan? Whom does Elijah meet in 1 Kings 18:7? How does Obadiah react? What does Elijah tell him to do in 1 Kings 18:8? What does Obadiah think will be the certain outcome (1 Kings 18:9)? What actions and behavior of Ahab bring Obadiah to this conclusion (1 Kings 18:10)? What does Obadiah fear will happen now (1 Kings 18:12)? For what does Obadiah consider this to be a poor repayment (1 Kings 18:12-13)? How does Elijah reassure him in 1 Kings 18:15? What does Ahab say to Elijah in 1 Kings 18:17? How does Elijah answer (1 Kings 18:18)? Who has troubled Israel? 

Where do man’s troubles come from?  1 Kings 18:1–18 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eighteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that wickedness is the troubler of man, because a holy and just God is sinful man’s greatest trouble.

Ahab and Israel are in great trouble of famine. Elijah is being hunted by the Ahab (1 Kings 18:10). Obadiah is afraid of being killed by Ahab. How can these troubles be resolved?

The Word of the LORD is in control. Ahab seems to think that Elijah is in control (1 Kings 18:17), but Elijah is under the direction and control of the Word (1 Kings 18:1a). It is this Word that has withheld rain for three years, causing a famine (1 Kings 18:2). It is this Word, which will restore rain again (1 Kings 18:1b). By comparison, Ahab is helpless to track down the prophet (1 Kings 18:10), and has to mount a nationwide campaign just to track down grass (1 Kings 18:5-6).

It is the LORD Who must be feared. Obadiah feared Ahab’s sword (1 Kings 18:91 Kings 18:12b). But he feared the LORD more (1 Kings 18:31 Kings 18:12c), which is why he saved the lives of a hundred true prophets (1 Kings 18:41 Kings 18:13). His fear of the LORD was not that slavish fear that shrinks from punishment, but a fear that believes that God is, and that God is a rewarder of those who seek Him (cf. Hebrews 11:6). So Obadiah pleads this reward, when he says, “was it not reported to my lord what I did?” in 1 Kings 18:13

Therefore the commandment of the LORD must be obeyed. Ahab had not feared the LORD, and Ahab had not obeyed the LORD. Therefore, Ahab had only Himself to thank for his and Israel’s troubles. He wanted to call Elijah the troubler of Israel (1 Kings 18:17), but that trouble didn’t start in the mouth of the prophet but in the disobedience of things. “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the LORD and have followed the Baals” (1 Kings 18:18). Our sin, and its consequences, is our great trouble. So, we are our own greatest troublers. 

Sin and its guilt are our great trouble. Ahab thinks the famine was severe trouble (1 Kings 18:2), but the fate of the prophets of Baal in the next episode should have disabused him of that mistaken thinking. Whatever our troubles are in this world of misery, they are a reminder that our sin is the great troubler, and our guilt is our greatest trouble. If like Ahab we fail to take the hint, then we will fail to see and receive the wonderful grace of God. For that is the story here. The Word is being preserved. The LORD still maintains to Israel His primary prophet Elijah. And He even maintained, through Obadiah, a hundred other prophets. His Word persisted, even with such a stubbornly wicked people. May His patience lead us to repentance! God forbid that we would be stubborn against His mercifully extending unto us His Word.

What situation feels out of your control? What “powerful” people are really out of control? What troubles do you have? What do they remind you are your real trouble? What is your hope in it? 

Sample prayer:  Lord, we praise and thank You for maintaining Your Word to us. We are tempted to consider those who rebuke and correct us as our troublers. But truly, as with Ahab, we are our own troublers. Forgive us our sins, and forgive us our dullness to Your Word and resistance to Your Word. Grant that we would fear You greatly and look to You for our safety and blessing, which we ask in Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH434 “A Debtor to Mercy Alone” 

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