In today's edition of #FridayFaves, I share one of my favorite OT stories.
I can't tell you how many times people have been super honest with me about their challenges with consistent bible reading. Maybe you experience the same challenges:
- It can be difficult to understand (lots of hard to pronounce words, lineage and history)
- It can be difficult to relate to our modern day lives.
Hey, I totally get it. Listen, I felt that way too. Don't feel discouraged if bible reading isn't fully your jam (yet). It's not like any of us popped out of the womb knowing how to thumb through the scriptures and with full understanding of it's contents. Even doctorate-level theologians had to start the same way we all do. And let me just say, if you struggle with getting excited about diving into the OT because you think it's boring...stick with me, I'll help break it open in a way that you'll develop an insatiable hunger ignited by the Holy Spirit and you will likely become a #NerdoftheWord too! :)
Israel, the northern kingdom has had a history of wicked, pagan kings. God sent power player prophets to help bring God's word to the people and influence the leaders in order to rescue Israel from its moral and spiritual decline.
King Ahab, the most evil king of Israel is ruling the land...well he's ruled by his seriously wicked wife and bloodthirsty Queen Jezebel. Her M.O. is to convert the people to worship pagan idols and false gods of Baal.
God used the prophet Elijah to deliver the message to Ahab that there would be a severe drought essentially as a form of punishment for promoting such rampant sins of idolatry and Baal worship. This was especially infuriating to this wicked royal couple because Baal was believed to be the god who brought the rains and bountiful harvests.
Jezebel goes on a killing spree and put out a hit list for any prophet of God to be slaughtered. One hundred of God's prophets are hiding in two caves, 50 each and are being cared for and fed in secret by Obadiah, King Ahab's palace administrator.
Elijah & The Showdown on Mt. Carmel
In an all-out Holy hoedown at Mount Carmel, the prophet Elijah goes toe-to-toe with King Ahab along with 450 false prophets of Baal AND the 400 prophets of Asherah. (That's 850 pagan prophets and one evil king against ONE Mighty Man of God!) It's a pretty gruesome scene filled with all kinds of crazy, but ultimately Elijah challenges them to call fire down from heaven after an few year long drought in the land. This is BY FAR one of my most favorite stories in scripture (1 Kings 18:16-39). Check out Elevation Church's creative piece for a recap...it'll amp you to grab your bible and check this out for yourself:
You can see this video also in the last blog post, "Praying with Shameless Audacity"
So...What can we take from this?
If you feel like the odds are stacked against you...remember your new friend, Elijah. He had it far worse. I'm sure you've heard it said, "Don't tell God how big your problems are, instead tell your problems how BIG your God is!" Because the truth is, "No weapon formed against you shall prosper" (Isaiah 54:17) and one cannot curse whom God has blessed (Numbers 23:8, 20). Dear One, allow me to remind you that you have the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead living and dwelling within you (Romans 8:11) therefore whom shall you fear? (Psalm 27:1). Don't retreat. Awaken, arise and shine!
As for those who still find it difficult to relate to the bible, I have some advice.
Find a teacher you connect with
In 2012 a friend casually mentioned the name "Steven Furtick" to me. I googled and found Elevation Church. Because I was on the church search for years and craving a church home, I dug around and found that Elevation Church had an extension site in my area. I reached out to the leader and started plugging into the home groups. IMO, Pastor Steven is one of the most dynamic bible communicators and Kingdom leaders of our generation. He has been able to lasso my heart to the bible by igniting intrigue. He teaches in a way that captivates my attention and unpacks complex historical stories and deep theological concepts in a way that makes complete sense without compromising the integrity of the message or "watering down" the gospel.
Some may not agree. And that's okay. My point is find a teacher YOU connect with!
For a brilliant explanation of the story of Elijah and the face off at Mt. Carmel, check this out: