~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
1 Kings 15:25-17:24 ~ Acts 10:24-48
Psalm 134:1-3 ~ Proverbs 17:9-11
Old Testament - 1 Kings 15 verse 26 stood out to me right away today - "But he did what was evil in the LORD's sight and followed the example of his father, continuing the sins of idolatry that Jeroboam had led Israel to commit." The key word that stood out to me in this verse is "example." I think sometimes we can forget that every action we take is an example to others. We are either exampling godly behavior or ungodly behavior. Obviously Jeroboam exampled ungodly behavior - and unfortunately, since he was king of Israel, his bad example had far reaching effects. Even though you or me aren't king of any land, I do believe that the examples we set have bigger impacts than we realize. Our kids, our parents, our siblings, our neighbors, our co-workers, the stranger on the street, the person at the coffee shop, are all watching what we do. How we behave. Who we are. Our very lives are examples to so many people each and every day. What type of example are you setting with your life? Do you realize that people are literally following your example each and every day?
1 Kings 16 is quite the chapter full of drama! It's like a soap-opera. As I was reading this chapter, and in particular when Zimri was plotting to kill Elah, I was reminded of Macbeth's old quote - "Heavy is the head that wears the crown." Indeed very true in this chapter!
Great readings in 1 Kings 17 today! We are introduced to the prophet Elijah! And what an introduction. I love the visual of Elijah being fed by ravens. Elijah was completely dependent on God for his food delivery via birds. This image reminds me of how dependent you and I are today on God... (even if we do not realize how dependent we really are....)
Elijah was the first prophet in a long line of prophets to come over the next 300 years in Israel. As the kings of Israel were now all sinning and there were few Levitical priests left in Israel (most were in Judah), God brought forth the prophets to bring God's word to his people in Israel. More on who Elijah was is at Bible.org at this link. More on the message of Elijah is at this link.
Great readings today about Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath! Verses 21 through 23 are awesome - "And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the LORD, "O LORD my God, please let this child's life return to him." The LORD heard Elijah's prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he came back to life! Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother. "Look, your son is alive!""
Bible.org's commentary on our 1 Kings 17 readings on Elijah today titled "Testings By the Brook" is at this link and at this link and commentary titled "Testings and Ministry at Zaraphath" is at this link and commentary titled "The Death and Resurrection of the Widow's Son" is at this link. There is a lot of great in-depth commentary on 1 Kings 17 at Bible.org!
New Testament - Acts 10 verses 25 & 26 stood out to me today - "As Peter entered his home, Cornelius fell to the floor before him in worship. But Peter pulled him up and said, "Stand up! I'm a human being like you!" This reminds me that this type of stuff can still happen today. I am afraid that sometimes we can end up worshiping people today, instead of worshiping God. And I'm afraid that this can oftentimes happen in the context of our churches. I have to say that I have seen what almost looks like worship of Pastors at churches. And that ain't a good thing... Pastors are human beings just like us! Yes, they are called to a very high standard in Paul's letter to Timothy, which we'll read later this year. But Pastors are not God. They are not divine. They should not be worshiped. Yes, they can help lead us in worship of God in great ways and with great messages. But let us make sure we are directing our worship at the true Rock and Light and Author of All who will never fail us and never let us down - God. So, stand up before your pastor. Pastors are humans just like us...
Peter's words in verses 34 - 36 are so powerful and are a huge turning point in the Gospel beginning to be preached to the Gentiles (non-Jews) - "I see very clearly that God doesn't show partiality. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right. I'm sure you have heard about the Good News for the people of Israel--that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all." Do you believe that God does not show partiality? Do you believe that in every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right? Do you believe there is peace with God through Jesus? Do you know this peace?
Psalms - Psalm 134 is a great little Psalm! This Psalm is basically taking place as worshippers are leaving the Temple in Jerusalem for the night - and in the first two verses the Worshippers are speaking to the Levites (priests) in the temple - giving blessings to the Levites and asking them to bless God overnight. Then, in the third verse the Levites give a departing blessing to the worshippers as they leave the temple - "May the LORD, who made heaven and earth, bless you from Jerusalem." And that is certainly my prayer for each of you reading this - May God bless you!
Proverbs - Wow. Proverbs 17 verse 9 is a challenging one for me today - "Disregarding another person's faults preserves love; telling about them separates close friends." I get the wisdom of it initially. Makes sense. Makes me think about a marriage relationship really... :) But, what about speaking the truth in love? Isn't there is a time and place to let folks know about something that is maybe a major issue that needs some attention? If someone is doing something wrong that is harming them or others around them, shouldn't we speak up? I know there is a fine line here... I need to meditate on this Proverb a bit more... (This is the beauty of the Bible! We will not understand every single verse every single time. Could take years! The Bible's got depth, that is for sure. I am glad you are on this journey into the depths of the Bible with me this year.) Let me know your thoughts on this Proverb in the Comments section below? When do we zip our mouth to preserve love and when do we not zip it?
Comments from you - What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!