This week’s text, 1 Kings 18:1-19 is the setup for the confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel, which we will study next week. The author of 1st Kings uses this lead-in to emphasize how much King Ahab of Israel wanted to get his hands on Elijah. And when they do meet he accuses Elijah of being ‘the troubler of Israel.’ But in reality it is his own sin of idolatry and his fear of God’s power (evident in the famine) that is making him so antagonistic toward Elijah.
In the same way, the rulers and authorities, scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day became angry at Jesus and ultimately condemned him to death because he brought God’s truth and God’s power into their midst. They couldn’t handle the conviction of sin and the potential loss of position and power that he embodied. So they despised and rejected him and ultimately condemned and crucified him.
It’s a communion Sunday, so we’re going to focus our worship on Jesus, the one who was despised and rejected, who suffered and sacrificed himself for us. Heart preparation for this week should include not only spending time with God through the worship songs, and arriving in the morning with a God-centered attitude, but also self-examination, remembering that whatever was done to Jesus by others we ourselves are capable of having done, and he bore it all so that we could be rescued from those very sins.
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us (Hannah J says: we will NOT be playing this as fast as it is done here.)
Stricken, Smitten and Afflicted