Wednesday, July 06, 2022

2022.07.06 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Kings 18:41–46

Read 1 Kings 18:41–46

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom did Elijah speak (1 Kings 18:41a)? What does he tell him to do? Why? What does Ahab do in 1 Kings 18:42? Where does Elijah go? What does he do there? To whom does he speak in 1 Kings 18:43? Where does he tell him to go? To do what? What are the results? How many times? When does the result change (1 Kings 18:44)? What is the new result? How big is the cloud? Now to whom does Elijah send his servant? To tell him to do what? When? Why so fast? Now what is happening in the sky (1 Kings 18:45)? And what happened on the earth? And where did Ahab go? Then what came upon whom (1 Kings 18:46)? And what did Elijah do? In front of whom? All the way to where?

What does God’s mercy to an enemy look like?  1 Kings 18:41–46 looks forward to the first serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these six verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the Lord’s Word that could and should destroy us is offered to us instead to lead and direct us.

The power of God’s Word. Only the Word could bring rain (cf. 1 Kings 17:1). And now Elijah, the mouth of God, tells Ahab “Go up, eat and drink for there is the sound [literally, “voice”] of abundance of rain. Not even a fist-sized cloud has appeared in the sky, but he lets Ahab know that he can go ahead and drop the rationing, because abundance is coming. Eat and drink; more is on the way. How does Elijah know this? He hears the “voice” of abundance of rain. 

And when the first hint of rain appears, Elijah gives fair warning, because this special, Word-brought storm will be a doozy. In fact, the advice to Ahab now changes… harness up that chariot and go, because this is going to be the kind of rain that stops chariots. And it was so. “The sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain.”

The humility of God’s servant. As the mouth of God, who has just won a great victory for God, Elijah might have indulged fleshly pride and enjoyed his victory. But it was the Word’s victory. And the servant of the Word still had service to do. So what do we see him doing in 1 Kings 18:42? Praying. So constant in prayer as not even to go look for himself. He sends his servant to look, while he takes a servant posture before God in prayer. But even that is not so easy. He persists in prayer through seven iterations of sending his servant, etc. The Lord often humbles His servants not only into lowliness, but into having to patiently endure in prayer and lowliness.

The offer of God’s Word to take other servants. All of this power that God has demonstrated in the fire at the sacrifice and the water of the storm (and to enable a prophet to outrun a chariot for miles in the rain) is now offered to sustain and support Ahab. After all that Ahab has done, this is a marvelously gracious offer to him in the form of the prophet running in front of his chariot in 1 Kings 18:46

Whenever God’s Word is presented or preached to us, the same offer is made. Submit to God, be the servant of His Word. Trust in His salvation. Know that His atonement means that He is entirely for us. God offers to take us for His own, and instruct and direct us throughout our lives, spiritually nourishing and reviving us.

What examples of the power of God’s Word do you know of from the Bible? From history? From your own life? In what circumstances has God brought you low? Made you persist in prayer? How are you responding to God’s offers to have your life directed by His Word? When does He do so in your life?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for the display of Your power in the rain that came by the prayer of Elijah. You have made us with like nature to his, but we are not believing or persistent in prayer like we ought to be. Forgive our unbelief and laziness. Make us to remember that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Thank You for sending Your Word before us. Forgive us for wanting to direct and instruct You, rather than be led and instructed by You. Truly, You are gracious, and we are stubborn. Overcome our stubbornness by Your grace, we pray, through Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”

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