Day 166: Responding in Faith

1 Kings 17:1-7 Before Israel had kings, God called forth judges to guide his people out of idolatry and back to fidelity to the Mosaic Law; in the age of kings, he called forth mighty prophets to guide the kings and the people to faithfulness to the covenant, especially whenever they strayed from his path. Here, Elijah was called to combat the pagan idolatry and immorality of Ahab and Jezebel. The long and difficult drought was understood to be God’s punishment for Ahab’s sins, and it also provided the setting by which God would show his power through Elijah.

Ch 17:6 The feeding of Elijah by the ravens is reminiscent of the manna provided to the Israelites as they wandered in the desert. (CCC 1094, 1334)

Ch 17:7-24 Elijah taught the widow at Zarephath about faith and trust in God’s Word. The woman was short on food, but with Elijah’s assurance her supply of flour and oil lasted miraculously for the duration of the drought. Her faith was further confirmed when her son died and Elijah’s prayer raised him back to life. (CCC 2583)

Ch 18:1-19 Ahab had been searching for Elijah ever since he began prophesying against the king’s idolatry. At great personal risk, Elijah arranged to visit Ahab. Obadiah bore witness that many in Israel remained secretly faithful to the one true God. 

Ch 18:20-39 A contest between Elijah and hundreds of pagan prophets served as a test of faith for the people of Israel. Elijah means “the Lord is my God,” which was the cry of the people when Elijah’s holocaust was set ablaze through an extraordinary divine intervention. Elijah’s prayer, “Answer me, O Lord, answer me,” is repeated in the Eucharistic Prayers of the Byzantine Rite. (CCC 2582-2583)

Ch 18:26 Unlike the prayers of some of the Gentiles, who believed that magical powers would be unleashed merely by repeating the correct formulas and incantations, Christian prayer is a conversation with God. Vocal prayer, whether memorized or spontaneous, is a raising of the body, heart, and mind to God. (CCC 2766)

Ch 18:38-39 The fire called down by Elijah is a type of the Holy Spirit (TYPOLOGY!!), who changes and renews us through his transforming power. In Scripture, fire is often a sign of God’s presence, as when Moses saw the burning bush (cf. Ex 3:4) and when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles in the form of tongues of fire (cf. Acts 2:3). The fire of the Holy Spirit is not a fire of destruction but of purification and love. (CCC 696)

Ch 18:40 The order to kill the false prophets might seem a harsh and unacceptable act in light of the New Covenant of Christ. However, it was the prescribed penalty under the Mosaic Law, which represented an incremental stage in God’s gradual regathering of his people under his eternal law and the fullness of Revelation culminating in the Incarnation. (CCC 53)

2 Chronicles 19:1-11 Jehoshaphat erred in his alliance with Israel, but God looked favorably on him because of his effort to eradicate idolatry. He established a judicial system of judges in each city along with an appeals process in Jerusalem to be presided over by certain Levites, priests, and heads of families. All were reminded that, since their authority came from the Lord, they had to conduct themselves fairly and ethically at all times. (CCC 1899, 1901, 1918, 2234)

Song of Solomon 5:1-8 The lover comes knocking at the door of the beloved, but the beloved, for whatever reason, is slow to answer, When she finally opens the door, her lover is gone, and she is anguished. For the Christian, this account is a lesson to be ready and watchful always for Christ’s call and to be swift and sure in responding to him. (CCC 1090, 1400, 1843, 2854)

Ch 5:9-16 The lover is described in terms of strength and beauty, which is seen in Christian tradition as an allegory of the perfection of Christ. 

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Key Event 42: Jezebel Leads Israel Astray (1 Kings 18-21; 2 Kings 9)

King Ahab brings trouble on Israel by marrying the pagan princess Jezebel and sharing in her idolatry (1 Kings 16:30-31). Both are devoted to the god Baal and violently opposed to the Lord's prophet Elijah.  Using royal authority to commit injustice, Jezebel famously arranges the murder of Naboth and steals his vineyard for Ahab (1 Kings 21).

Key Event 43: Elijah Defeats the Prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:20-40)

In order to demonstrate that the Lord alone is God, Elijah arranges a contest between himself and 450 prophets of Baal.  The prophets are challenged to call upon Baal, the god of storm and lightning, to send down fire to consume their sacrificial offering, but nothing happens.  When Elijah calls upon the name of the Lord, his sacrifice is consumed with fire from heaven even though he has gone to the extra lengths of drenching his sacrifice with water. 

Ahab and Elijah

Mount Carmel

Recalling the Exodus

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we thank you. We thank you for your love for us. We thank you for the way in which you reveal to us how you work once again in history, how you work in our lives, how you work through ups and downs, and how you work through our faithfulness and even in the midst of our unfaithfulness. You don’t abandon us. You don’t give up. You continue to call us back to you. Help us to respond to that call with our whole heart, our whole strength, our whole might, our whole mind, and with everything we are in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Dustin's Insights

Sg. 5:

My Study Color Code

Suffering, Martyrdom Places The Church, Sacraments, Divinity Horticultural Imagery People Messianic Kingship Sin, Death, Decay