Bible reading for October 15.
1 Kings 18.
"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)
EPIC BATTLE. Howard Hendricks called this contest, "The Battle of the Gods," and indeed it was an epic event! Ahab, like so many people today, blamed his problems on others, here Elijah, whom he called the "troubler" (vv 17-18). But the trouble was with Ahab himself, being double-minded about which God (or gods) to follow (v 21). It is a decisive battle on Mount Carmel, culminating with fire from heaven and then Elijah's successful prayer for rain (James 5:17-18). There is only one true and living God who answers prayer. Baal, along with every other false god, cannot bring salvation: "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" (v 29).
REFLECT. We limp when we have one good leg and one weak one. Until we wholeheartedly serve the Lord -- the only true and living God -- we are unstable and cannot make sound decisions or good progress in life (James 1:5-8). Today, are you walking decidedly with God, or are you limping about in double-mindedness? Are you allowing compromise with the lies of the world (which can only produce trouble and uncertainty), or are you fixed upon the certainties of the Lord and his word?
1 Thessalonians 1.
"For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come." (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10)
THE CHURCH AT THESSALONIKA. This is one of Paul's earliest letters (after Galatians), written during his second missionary trip about AD 51. You can read about the founding of this church in Acts 17:1-10. One repeated theme is the return of the Lord Jesus. Notice also the big three: faith, hope, and love, in verse 3. Despite the opposition that came quickly during Paul's visit (he may have only stayed a few weeks!), there was a clear demonstration of the work of God among these people. We can see from verse 9 that faith (turning TO God) and repentance (turning FROM idols) are flip sides of the same coin. Saving faith includes repentance.
REFLECT. Go back through this chapter: what are the evidences that Paul points out to show that a true work of God's Spirit had taken place among them? Have you seen these evidences in your own life, and in the lives of others?
Image credit. Photo of statue of Elijah on Mount Carmel, courtesy of Ray Vander Laan at thattheworldmayknow.com. 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.