Day 100 – Thru the Bible
Congrats, today we hit 100 days of Bible reading! We will also wrap up First Kings and continue in Psalms.
1 Kings 20 – After Elijah’s recruitment of Elisha, one expects to read of his anointing of Hazael as king over Syria and of Jehu as king over Israel (compare 19:15–18). Instead, one finds a different prophet appearing (20:13) and a different king of Syria (Ben-hadad) losing a war with Ahab. The message of ch. 19 is thus illustrated: Elijah is not the only remaining servant of God; and, the Lord will bring about in His own good time the events spoken of in 19:17.
Israel is to fight according to a divine battle plan that does not make much human sense (as in the case of Gideon in Judges 7). The servants, young men unschooled in military matters, are to initiate the battle. The plan benefits from Ben-hadad’s being drunk as the Israelites approach. He is seemingly incapable of giving instructions.
The Syrians plan next time to fight the Israelites in the plain, where horse and chariot will give them an advantage that they wouldn’t have in the hills. But they fail to realize that the Lord is the only real God, and He can give victory to His people anywhere He chooses.
How does this story remind you to remember that God can give you victory even when your circumstances seem impossible?
1 Kings 21 – If anyone ever doubted the extent of Ahab’s evil character, they need only read the summary provided in verses 25–26: “There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab. . . . He acted very abominably in going after idols.” Because of Ahab’s extreme wickedness, the Lord had promised to obliterate his dynasty in the manner first observed with Jeroboam.
Finally now, the repeated assaults on the heart of Ahab found a breach, causing what appears to be genuine repentance. But it is even more astounding to observe the Lord’s willingness to act in light of Ahab’s repentance, withholding the execution of His judgment until the next generation.
The final verses in this chapter give readers an important glimpse into God’s willingness to respond to repentance, even the repentance of a great sinner. Thus, in those moments when our hearts lie to us, causing us to believe that we have sinned beyond the hope of repentance and mercy, we remember the repentance of Ahab, the murdering idolater of Israel, and we repent yet again.
We cannot out-sin God’s grace. God would have to “de-God” himself to turn His back on those who come to him in penitent faith, for His Son has paid for the failures of all who trust him. God poured His wrath on His own Son so that he would never have to pour it on His adopted sons and daughters (you and I). This is our hope, provided by the marvelous grace that goes deeper than all our sin and weakness.
How will you refuse the lie that you’ve strayed too far for receive God’s love and forgiveness?
1 Kings 22 – Although the house of Ahab is under a prophetic curse, the complete fulfillment of the prophecy will be delayed until the reign of Ahab’s son. However, Ahab’s own death has been foretold by two different prophets (20:41–42; 21:19). Now, after a third prophet confirms the word from the Lord, Ahab will die.
These prophets are not truly prophets of the Lord, as events will prove. They say whatever the king wants to hear. This is further implied in Jehoshaphat’s response to their advice: “Is there not here another prophet of the Lord?”
We may at first be baffled that the Lord would put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets. But we should remember though God himself does not do evil, He sometimes uses evil agents to accomplish His purposes. You may recall that previously we saw this point and pointed out that we can see this same thing in the crucifixion of Jesus.
The sad irony is Micaiah is telling the truth, but the king simply won’t listen.
We, too, can get our minds made up about something and not want to listen to the wise council of others. How does Gospel-Centered community help keep you from falling into this trap?
Psalm 100 – This hymn is not explicitly a psalm celebrating God’s kingship, but it brings the collection of kingship hymns to a close with its enthusiastic call to come before the Lord in worship.
Providing seven ways to give thanks, the psalmist exhorts worshipers to be grateful at all times. The most obvious expression of gratitude is singing, which is the joyful expression of love and overflows from a liberated heart (Colossians 3:13–16).
The redeemed also act gratefully when they pursue knowledge of God through His Word and works (Romans 16:25–27). Knowing God not only humbles dependent creatures, it heartens them to realize that He is willing to make Himself known, and ultimately He does so through Jesus, revealing our God as a Father and Good Shepherd (Matthew 6:9; John 10:14).
In Hebrew there is no distinction between serving the church or people at work. The same word describes worship in every place (Colossians 3:17). All of life in every realm is an opportunity to “give thanks to Him” and “bless His name”.
The Father also provides reasons for His commands. The most obvious is that He is good in all His roles. He is the good Creator who endowed us with His image, which requires treating every person with dignity (James 3:9). His universal rule reminds us of His protection (Exodus 6:7; Isaiah 3:15), calls us to bold prayer (John 17:6–9), and motivates us to discipleship as those purchased at a great price (Titus 2:14).
That purchase was made out of the “steadfast love” that epitomizes God’s character. How does God’s character find its full expression in the death and resurrection of Jesus? Hint: John 10:11; Revelation 7:17.
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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