Scripture text for Thursday, February 25th, 2010: 1 Kings 16:29-19:18
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One question replays in my mind as we delve deeper into our E100 adventure in the Old Testament; WHAT WERE THE ISRAELITES THINKING!?
They see God part the Red Sea, come to earth as a fiery pillar to talk with Moses, level the walls of Jericho, defeat their enemies time and time again. However, they continue to turn away from God.
Now as we read through 1 & 2 Kings we see the worsening impact of the Israelites request for a king so they could be “like the other nations” (1 Samuel 8:4-21).
Did they really think about the consequences, a foreign or evil person might rule over them? Or did they only think of the political victory a king might bring?
Which leads us to the Super Bowl event of this passage, Elijah vs. the prophets of Baal. All the tribes of Israel are called in to watch the showdown. Elijah asks the question of Israel: "How long will you waiver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." (1 Kings 18:21b)
God doesn’t leave the tribes of Israel wondering. God provides another visible, obvious, overwhelming manifestation of his power and authority over the prophets of Baal and all of Israel. In the moment, the Israelites even follow some of God’s commands to destroy the prophets of Baal.
Just a few day later, the rulers, Israel so desperately desired, attempt to hunt down and kill Elijah, the prophet of God, and the people don’t do anything to stop it.
Which leads me back to my first question. I see God act in powerful and miraculous ways, not by setting a water-logged altar on fire, but by transforming the lives of the people around me: saving marriages from divorce and friends from addiction, entire families transformed through the salvation of one, lives touched by the generosity of strangers, and people of all ages, races, & education worshiping together.
Then I find myself making rash, short sighted, and self-centered choices placing my desires for my life above God’s. It is easy for me to question the Israelites as I sit and read, but am I really more like them than I think?
Devotion prepared by Everette Mills