I Kings 16-18
The kings of Israel get worse and worse, until we come to the abominable Ahab, who marries Jezebel, daughter of the Sidonian king. She slaughters all of God’s prophets and has Ahab build altars to Baal throughout the land.
Thankfully, the Lord raises up a prophet in the land – and not just any prophet. Elijah is one of the greatest prophets of all times. He knows his God and he believes Him.
Elijah speaks the Word of the Lord and calls for a drought on the land – and it happens. Of course, without rain, the brooks dry up and the crops can’t survive. Thus there is famine.
In the midst of the famine, however, God protects Elijah and miraculously saves the widow who helps the prophet.
After three years of drought, it’s time for a showdown, and Elijah meets 450 prophets of Baal up on Mt. Carmel. As they prepare their sacrifices, the true God is to answer by fire and consume His sacrifice. The 450 priests of Baal jump around, cut themselves, and yell loudly, but nothing happens. Then Elijah ups the ante by pouring water all over his wood.
It must have been a dramatic moment when all of the people see fire come from heaven and burn up Elijah’s sacrifice – even licking up the water he had poured. What a display of God’s might. The people turn back to God … and the rains come.
It seems sometimes that our world is in the place of Israel. The prevailing voices in the land seem to say that there is another god besides the true One. These voices want to proclaim their own laws and reasonings which go against God’s wisdom.
Yet there is only One true God and He is the One we should heed.
My prayer is that in the days to come, He will show Himself strong to our society. I pray that there will be a mighty breath of His Spirit across our land, causing hearts to turn back to Him – to realize that He is the One and the only One.
Do you sometimes wonder how Judas could have betrayed Jesus? I do.
To think that he walked with Jesus, listening to the teaching and seeing the miracles. He partook of His love, just like the others. Yet he betrayed the Lord and led the chief priests and temple officers to Him by night, so that they could take Him away for crucifixion.
It’s reminiscent of Lucifer, the beautiful archangel who rebelled against God and turned into Satan. Even in the midst of heaven itself, there was betrayal. Judas seems to have fallen into the same vein.
In contrast, we see Peter. He too falls away – out of fear. Yet when he hears the cock crow, just as Jesus said it would, he goes away and weeps bitterly. He can’t believe that he has denied his Savior.
Judas will not recover from his betrayal, but Peter will from his denial. Peter is repentant, and later will become one of the Lord’s strongest apostles.
It’s all about the heart. It’s always about the heart.
Peter denied Jesus because of a weak moment during his time of temptation, but his heart wanted to stick with the Lord. Judas, out of a cold heart, betrayed Jesus because he wanted some money. He was cold, calculating, and deceitful – as he kissed Jesus on the cheek.
There was no hope for Judas.
As the many voices of our generation try to deny our Lord and his Word, we should stay girded up. We want to continue as a strong voice of redemption in the land. There are many who have been sidetracked by false doctrines and phony “believers.” They need to hear our voices of the pure gospel.
I want to be one of those voices, and I know that you do also.