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1 Kings 18

Elijah Meets the King’s Servant

18 Some time later, in the third year of the famine, the Lord told Elijah, “Go, make an appearance before Ahab, so I may send rain on the surface of the ground.” So Elijah went to make an appearance before Ahab.

Now the famine was severe in Samaria. So Ahab summoned Obadiah, who supervised the palace. (Now Obadiah was a very loyal follower of the Lord. When Jezebel was killing the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah took one hundred prophets and hid them in two caves in two groups of fifty. He also brought them food and water.) Ahab told Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grazing areas so we can keep the horses and mules alive and not have to kill some of the animals.” They divided up the land between them; Ahab went one way and Obadiah went the other.

As Obadiah was traveling along, Elijah met him. When he recognized him, he fell facedown to the ground and said, “Is it really you, my master, Elijah?” He replied, “Yes, go and say to your master, ‘Elijah is back.’” Obadiah said, “What sin have I committed that you are ready to hand your servant over to Ahab for execution? 10 As certainly as the Lord your God lives, my master has sent to every nation and kingdom in an effort to find you. When they say, ‘He’s not here,’ he makes them swear an oath that they could not find you. 11 Now you say, ‘Go and say to your master, “Elijah is back.”’ 12 But when I leave you, the Lord’s spirit will carry you away so I can’t find you. If I go tell Ahab I’ve seen you, he won’t be able to find you and he will kill me. That would not be fair, because your servant has been a loyal follower of the Lord from my youth. 13 Certainly my master is aware of what I did when Jezebel was killing the Lord’s prophets. I hid one hundred of the Lord’s prophets in two caves in two groups of fifty and I brought them food and water. 14 Now you say, ‘Go and say to your master, “Elijah is back,”’ but he will kill me.” 15 But Elijah said, “As certainly as the Lord who rules over all lives (whom I serve), I will make an appearance before him today.”

Elijah Confronts Baal’s Prophets

16 When Obadiah went and informed Ahab, the king went to meet Elijah. 17 When Ahab saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is it really you, the one who brings disaster on Israel?” 18 Elijah replied, “I have not brought disaster on Israel. But you and your father’s dynasty have, by abandoning the Lord’s commandments and following the Baals. 19 Now send out messengers and assemble all Israel before me at Mount Carmel, as well as the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah whom Jezebel supports.

20 Ahab sent messengers to all the Israelites and had the prophets assemble at Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long are you going to be paralyzed by indecision? If the Lord is the true God, then follow him, but if Baal is, follow him!” But the people did not say a word. 22 Elijah said to them: “I am the only prophet of the Lord who is left, but there are 450 prophets of Baal. 23 Let them bring us two bulls. Let them choose one of the bulls for themselves, cut it up into pieces, and place it on the wood. But they must not set it on fire. I will do the same to the other bull and place it on the wood. But I will not set it on fire. 24 Then you will invoke the name of your god, and I will invoke the name of the Lord. The god who responds with fire will demonstrate that he is the true God.” All the people responded, “This will be a fair test.”

25 Elijah told the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls for yourselves and go first, for you are the majority. Invoke the name of your god, but do not light a fire.” 26 So they took a bull, as he had suggested, and prepared it. They invoked the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “Baal, answer us.” But there was no sound and no answer. They jumped around on the altar they had made. 27 At noon Elijah mocked them, “Yell louder! After all, he is a god; he may be deep in thought, or perhaps he stepped out for a moment or has taken a trip. Perhaps he is sleeping and needs to be awakened.” 28 So they yelled louder and, in accordance with their prescribed ritual, mutilated themselves with swords and spears until their bodies were covered with blood. 29 Throughout the afternoon they were in an ecstatic frenzy, but there was no sound, no answer, and no response.

30 Elijah then told all the people, “Approach me.” So all the people approached him. He repaired the altar of the Lord that had been torn down. 31 Then Elijah took twelve stones, corresponding to the number of tribes that descended from Jacob, to whom the Lord had said, “Israel will be your new name.” 32 With the stones he constructed an altar for the Lord. Around the altar he made a trench large enough to contain two seahs of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut up the bull, and placed it on the wood. 34 Then he said, “Fill four water jars and pour the water on the offering and the wood.” When they had done so, he said, “Do it again.” So they did it again. Then he said, “Do it a third time.” So they did it a third time. 35 The water flowed down all sides of the altar and filled the trench. 36 When it was time for the evening offering, Elijah the prophet approached the altar and prayed: “O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, O Lord, are the true God and that you are winning back their allegiance.” 38 Then fire from the Lord fell from the sky. It consumed the offering, the wood, the stones, and the dirt, and licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw this, they threw themselves down with their faces to the ground and said, “The Lord is the true God! The Lord is the true God!” 40 Elijah told them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Don’t let even one of them escape!” So they seized them, and Elijah led them down to the Kishon Valley and executed them there.

41 Then Elijah told Ahab, “Go on up and eat and drink, for the sound of a heavy rainstorm can be heard.” 42 So Ahab went on up to eat and drink, while Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel. He bent down toward the ground and put his face between his knees. 43 He told his servant, “Go on up and look in the direction of the sea.” So he went on up, looked, and reported, “There is nothing.” Seven times Elijah sent him to look. 44 The seventh time the servant said, “Look, a small cloud, the size of the palm of a man’s hand, is rising up from the sea.” Elijah then said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up the chariots and go down, so that the rain won’t overtake you.’” 45 Meanwhile the sky was covered with dark clouds, the wind blew, and there was a heavy rainstorm. Ahab rode toward Jezreel. 46 Now the Lord energized Elijah with power; he tucked his robe into his belt and ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

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Acts 11

Peter Defends His Actions to the Jerusalem Church

11 Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers took issue with him, saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and shared a meal with them.” But Peter began and explained it to them point by point, saying, “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, an object something like a large sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came to me. As I stared I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild animals, reptiles, and wild birds. I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; slaughter and eat!’ But I said, ‘Certainly not, Lord, for nothing defiled or ritually unclean has ever entered my mouth!’ But the voice replied a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not consider ritually unclean!’ 10 This happened three times, and then everything was pulled up to heaven again. 11 At that very moment, three men sent to me from Caesarea approached the house where we were staying. 12 The Spirit told me to accompany them without hesitation. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 He informed us how he had seen an angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter, 14 who will speak a message to you by which you and your entire household will be saved.’ 15 Then as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as he did on us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, as he used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 Therefore if God gave them the same gift as he also gave us after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to hinder God?” 18 When they heard this, they ceased their objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted the repentance that leads to life even to the Gentiles.”

Activity in the Church at Antioch

19 Now those who had been scattered because of the persecution that took place over Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the message to no one but Jews. 20 But there were some men from Cyprus and Cyrene among them who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks too, proclaiming the good news of the Lord Jesus. 21 The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. 22 A report about them came to the attention of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with devoted hearts, 24 because he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith, and a significant number of people were brought to the Lord. 25 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught a significant number of people. Now it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.

Famine Relief for Judea

27 At that time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, named Agabus, got up and predicted by the Spirit that a severe famine was about to come over the whole inhabited world. (This took place during the reign of Claudius.) 29 So the disciples, each in accordance with his financial ability, decided to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. 30 They did so, sending their financial aid to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.

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Psalm 135

Psalm 135

Praise the Lord!
Praise the name of the Lord!
Offer praise, you servants of the Lord,
who serve in the Lord’s temple,
in the courts of the temple of our God.
Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good!
Sing praises to his name, for it is pleasant!
Indeed, the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself,
Israel to be his special possession.
Yes, I know the Lord is great,
and our Lord is superior to all gods.
He does whatever he pleases
in heaven and on earth,
in the seas and all the ocean depths.
He causes the clouds to arise from the end of the earth,
makes lightning bolts accompany the rain,
and brings the wind out of his storehouses.
He struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
including both men and animals.
He performed awesome deeds and acts of judgment
in your midst, O Egypt,
against Pharaoh and all his servants.
10 He defeated many nations,
and killed mighty kings—
11 Sihon, king of the Amorites,
and Og, king of Bashan,
and all the kingdoms of Canaan.
12 He gave their land as an inheritance,
as an inheritance to Israel his people.
13 O Lord, your name endures,
your reputation, O Lord, lasts.
14 For the Lord vindicates his people,
and has compassion on his servants.
15 The nations’ idols are made of silver and gold,
they are man-made.
16 They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see,
17 and ears, but cannot hear.
Indeed, they cannot breathe.
18 Those who make them will end up like them,
as will everyone who trusts in them.
19 O family of Israel, praise the Lord!
O family of Aaron, praise the Lord!
20 O family of Levi, praise the Lord!
You loyal followers of the Lord, praise the Lord!
21 The Lord deserves praise in Zion—
he who dwells in Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!

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Proverbs 17:12-13

12 It is better for a person to meet a mother bear being robbed of her cubs,
than to encounter a fool in his folly.
13 As for the one who repays evil for good,
evil will not leave his house.

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New English Translation (NET)

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