Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 18:1–46, Mark 10:17–52, Prov 4:8–17
Today’s Theme: The God who Answers
Today’s theme is about the God who answers. We must ask in faith believing in God’s ability to do what we ask Him for because we know that He alone is good.
1 Kings 18:1–46
Fear the Lord like Obadiah
And Ahab called Obadiah, who was over the household. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly, (1 Kings 18:3, ESV)
We can tell Obadiah really did fear the Lord, it was evident in his daring actions of hiding the prophets and feeding them. We too should fear the Lord and act accordingly.
The responsibility of leaders
And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals. (1 Kings 18:18, ESV)
When a leader rebels against God and goes into idolatry all those under the leader suffer as a consequence. With this in mind, pray for our leaders.
And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. (1 Kings 18:21, ESV)
We must be resolute in our convictions. Jesus and the apostles warn us against being taken by the wind and encourage us to be like stones and rocks.
And you call upon the name of your god, and I will call upon the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, he is God.” And all the people answered, “It is well spoken.” (1 Kings 18:24, ESV)
This is our God YHWH, the only true God.
Is god (the false one) on the toilet!
And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” (1 Kings 18:27, ESV)
This is really funny and tragic at the same time, the devil is such a deceiver, he is bound under the sovereign rule of God and is not even nearly on a par with God.
A lot of sweat, but no answer
And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention. (1 Kings 18:29, ESV)
In some ways this reminds me of the folly in parts of the charismatic movement where people will sweat and work themselves up and at the end of all that there is no answer from God because they are not really praying to the God of the Bible but of their own imagination or belly / lust.
Rebuild the altar
Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been thrown down. (1 Kings 18:30, ESV)
Notice he did not just use any old altar, he repaired the alter dedicated to God. The first step in dealing with idolatry is to rebuild God’s altar in your life, practically that will be time spent with Him in the word and prayer.
Why do you want an answer from God
Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” (1 Kings 18:37, ESV)
Here Elijah gives a good reason why he wants an answer to his prayer. It is for three reasons, for God’s glory, His confirmation as a prophet and for the sake of the people. Can you articulate why you want an answer from God today.
The fire of God
Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. (1 Kings 18:38, ESV)
The very stones and dust were set on fire, this was some powerful fire. The dust also speaks of the flesh.
God gets the glory
And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.” (1 Kings 18:39, ESV)
The result of God’s demonstration of power in this showdown is the worship of the people, bringing God glory.
And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.” And they seized them. And Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there. (1 Kings 18:40, ESV)
We can have no mercy on sin, it must be slaughtered.
Have persistent faith
And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times. (1 Kings 18:43, ESV)
Elijah had persistent faith.
Jesus more than good, he is God
And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17, ESV)
Jesus was not just a good teacher, he was God. The man was focused on the works he would have to do.
Human achievement does not = good
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. (Mark 10:18, ESV)
Jesus corrects this man’s understanding of goodness, no man by any human achievement can be called categorically good only God is categorically and completely good.
The man was putting himself and Jesus on an elevated level because they kept the law but Jesus destroys this false sense of security because we have all fallen short of the glorious goodness of God.
A challenge to idolatry
And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21, ESV)
This is not a maxim to all Christians but a challenge to the man’s idolatry, the breaking of the 1st commandment.
Salvation is only possible with God
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27, ESV)
With man no one rich or poor could be saved, although Jesus’ emphasis is on the trappings of wealth. The point is made that it is only with God that salvation is even possible.
who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. (Mark 10:30, ESV)
If we leave all and follow Jesus in true discipleship we will be assured of eternal life.
God has a plan
but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” (Mark 10:40, ESV)
God has a preordained plan.
But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, (Mark 10:43, ESV)
This is the new way of Jesus to be a servant leader.
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45, ESV)
We are not universalist (those who believe that Jesus died for all people so everyone will make it to heaven regardless of faith in Jesus), we believe the atonement of Jesus is limited in its effectiveness and purpose to all those that God knew ahead of time would put their faith and trust in Jesus for salvation, notice it says a ransom for many, not for all.
We must put our faith in Jesus and repent to be saved.
Ask God in faith
And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way. (Mark 10:52, ESV)
Ask God for what you want Him to do for you and He will do it if you ask in faith and your request is aligned with His word and will.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on Mark 10