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bible reading oct 14



Bible reading for October 14. 

1 Kings 17.

"And the woman said to Elijah, 'Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.'" (1 Kings 17:24)

CATCHING UP. The kingdom has divided into north (aka Judah) and south (aka Israel). The curious story of the two disobedient prophets highlights the importance of integrity and complete obedience to the word of God not just among kings but among prophets (ch 13). The death of these two unnamed prophets will bring us to the great prophetic period begun with Elijah (ch 17). In our story in Kings we will now read alternating accounts of the kings, north and south, good and bad. The name of a king is introduced, the length of his reign, an assessment of his heart, and often, the name of his mother (see 14:21, 31). Most of these sons were not raised by their fathers but by their mothers from other religious backgrounds, hence, the problems with idolatry. "And there was war between..." reminds us that apart from faithfulness to the Lord conflict is inevitable (James 4:1-4). Good kings do appear, for example, Asa (15:9-15). Even the good kings, however, have their spiritual and moral failings. Chapter 16 gives us the background of Omri's founding of Samaria as the capital of the northern tribes. As we read the biblical story, the words "Samaria", "Israel", or "Ephraim" (Joseph's son), especially as used by the prophets, will be taglines for the rulers and people of the northern tribes. "Israel" can refer to all of the tribes of Israel (north and south) or sometimes just the northern tribes. 

ENTER ELIJAH. Just as the period of the kings concluded the period of the judges in Israel's history, so the appearance of Elijah the Tishbite begins a new prophetic period, signaled also by the deaths of the two unnamed prophets in chapter 13. Miracles will attend the ministries of both Elijah and Elisha. Even in the biblical narrative miracles are not common. Most of the supernatural signs of the Bible occur in three periods: Moses and Joshua (introducing the Law), Elijah and Elisha (introducing the prophets), and Jesus and the Apostles (introducing the gospel). Elijah confronts King Ahab and pronounces a judgment of drought and famine in accordance with God's warning of Deut 28:12, 24. Elijah is miraculously sustained beside the brook Cherith (17:1-7). Later he goes to lodge with the widow of Zarephath in Sidon (vv 8-24). Both the miraculous feeding of her and her son, and the son being raised from the dead, foreshadow similar miracles by our Lord Jesus (Matt 14, 15; Lu 7:12-15). 

REFLECT. God really hates idolatry! Idols are lies about who God is and what is ultimate. They deceive people regarding power, truth, life, character, and what can be trusted. Worship of idols perverts our faith and dishonors God. God desires that his people be wholly faithful to him. Elijah is not only a prophet of God -- as the widow said, "the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth" -- but he also becomes a model to us of faith and prayer (James 5:16-18). In these days of social isolation, not too unlike Elijah's time, we also must find our sustenance in God's word and strive for faithfulness to him alone. Practically, what habits are you building in order to remain faithful to the Lord and his word?   

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Colossians 4.

"And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent." (Colossians 1:17-18) 

SUMMARY. Paul's letter to the church at Colossae was written about the same time as his letter to the church at Ephesus (c. AD 60). There are similar points made in both epistles but the emphasis in Colossians is on the preeminence of Christ in all things and the completeness of our salvation in him (1:15-20). Apparently, the Colossian believers were being influenced by teachers who were presenting a kind of Jewish mystical asceticism (2:8-23).  Again and again in his ministry the Apostle Paul must confront false teaching and insist that Jesus Christ is wholly sufficient for those who trust in him. Many false teachings tell us that "Jesus is fine but you also need this ____ to be complete". These add-ons -- whether diet, circumcision, secret knowledge, visions of angels, mystical experiences, ascetic practices, etc. --  all robbed Christ of the honor of being our one and only Savior. To add anything to Christ is to subtract from him. Our salvation is full and complete in Christ (2:9-10). We are to grow and bear fruit in him in the same way we came to him in the gospel: by faith with thanksgiving (2:6-7). Many of the same exhortations found in Ephesians, such as putting off the old life and putting on the new, are written here too. By faith we walk in our new identity in Christ. 

MYSTICISM TODAY. Many of these dangerous teachings exist today, albeit in slightly different forms. One particular teaching aimed at evangelical Christians is Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. The author, instead of dealing with what Jesus actually has said, tries to imagine what Jesus might say and thus in subtle ways leads Christians astray with her devotionals of Jesus supposedly speaking. Theologian Benjamin Warfield wrote about the differences between mysticism and Christianity: "Evangelical Christianity interprets all religious experience by the normative revelation of God recorded for us in the Holy Scriptures, and guides, directs, and corrects it from these Scriptures, and thus molds it into harmony with what God in His revealed Word lays down as the normal Christian life. The mystic, on the other hand, tends to substitute his religious experience for the objective revelation of God recorded in the written Word, as the source from which he derives his knowledge of God, or at least to subordinate the expressly revealed Word as the less direct and convincing source of knowledge of God to his own religious experience. The result is that the external revelation is relatively depressed in value, if not totally set aside." (B. B. Warfield, "Mysticism and Christianity", in Biblical and Theological Studies) Read more of this article at the-highway.com/articleJuly18.html  For reviews of Jesus Calling see challies.com/articles/10-serious-problems-with-jesus-calling/ and epm.org/blog/2018/Jun/18/some-concerns-about-jesus-calling-and-thoughts-suf

REFLECT. We must ever be vigilant about "fake news" concerning Christ. Many people act like they respect Christ, but then add... "he's only a prophet" or "you need something more" or "the gospel is good as far as it goes" and on and on. Remember earlier when Paul wrote, "But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ" (2 Cor 11:3). We don't need to be negative all the time, but we should call out falsehood, especially when it concerns our Lord Jesus. John Calvin once wrote, "A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God's truth is attacked and yet would remain silent."


We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. One recommended resource is NETBible.org, a ministry of bible.org.




 

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