1 Kings 18
Elijah versus Baal’s prophets
18 After many days, the Lord’s word came to Elijah (it was the third year of the drought): Go! Appear before Ahab. I will then send rain on the earth. 2 So Elijah went to appear before Ahab.
Now the famine had become especially bad in Samaria. 3 Ahab had called Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace affairs. (Obadiah greatly feared the Lord. 4 When Jezebel killed the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah took one hundred of them and hid them, fifty each in two caves. He supplied them with food and water.) 5 Ahab said to Obadiah, “Go throughout the land and check every spring of water and every brook. Perhaps we can find some grass to keep our horses and mules alive so we don’t have to kill any of them.” 6 To search, they divided the land between themselves. Ahab went one way by himself, while Obadiah went a different way by himself.
7 While Obadiah was out searching, suddenly Elijah met up with him. When Obadiah saw him, he fell on his face. “My master!” he said. “Are you Elijah?”
8 Elijah replied, “I am. Go and say to your master, ‘Elijah is here!’”
9 Then Obadiah said, “How have I sinned that you are handing me, your servant, over to Ahab so he can kill me? 10 As surely as the Lord your God lives, there’s no nation or kingdom where my master Ahab hasn’t looked for you. They would insist, ‘He’s not here,’ but Ahab would make them swear that they couldn’t find you. 11 And now you are commanding me: ‘Go and say to your master, “Elijah is here”?’ 12 But here’s what will happen: As soon as I leave you, the Lord’s spirit will carry you off somewhere—I don’t know where—then I’ll report to Ahab, but he won’t be able to find you. Then he will kill me! But your servant has feared the Lord from my youth. 13 Wasn’t my master told what I did when Jezebel killed the Lord’s prophets? I hid one hundred of the Lord’s prophets, fifty each in two caves. I also supplied them with food and water. 14 But even after all that, you tell me, ‘Say to your master, “Elijah is here!”’ Ahab will kill me!”
15 Elijah said, “As surely as the Lord of heavenly forces lives, the one I serve, I will appear before Ahab today.”
16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab. He told him what had happened. Then Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is that you, the one who troubles Israel?”
18 Elijah answered, “I haven’t troubled Israel; you and your father’s house have! You did as much when you deserted the Lord’s commands and followed the Baals. 19 Now send a message and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel. Gather the four hundred fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
20 Ahab sent the message to all the Israelites. He gathered the prophets at Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you hobble back and forth between two opinions? If the Lord[a] is God, follow God. If Baal is God, follow Baal.” The people gave no answer.
22 Elijah said to the people, “I am the last of the Lord’s prophets, but Baal’s prophets number four hundred fifty. 23 Give us two bulls. Let Baal’s prophets choose one. Let them cut it apart and set it on the wood, but don’t add fire. I’ll prepare the other bull, put it on the wood, but won’t add fire. 24 Then all of you will call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers with fire—that’s the real God!”
All the people answered, “That’s an excellent idea.”
25 So Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of these bulls. Prepare it first since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but don’t add fire.”
26 So they took one of the bulls that had been brought to them. They prepared it and called on Baal’s name from morning to midday. They said, “Great Baal, answer us!” But there was no sound or answer. They performed a hopping dance around the altar that had been set up.
27 Around noon, Elijah started making fun of them: “Shout louder! Certainly he’s a god! Perhaps he is lost in thought or wandering or traveling somewhere.[b] Or maybe he is asleep and must wake up!”
28 So the prophets of Baal cried with a louder voice and cut themselves with swords and knives as was their custom. Their blood flowed all over them. 29 As noon passed they went crazy with their ritual until it was time for the evening offering. Still there was no sound or answer, no response whatsoever.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here!” All the people closed in, and he repaired the Lord’s altar that had been damaged. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob—to whom the Lord’s word came: “Your name will be Israel.” 32 He built the stones into an altar in the Lord’s name, and he dug a trench around the altar big enough to hold two seahs[c] of dry grain. 33 He put the wood in order, butchered the bull, and placed the bull on the wood. “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the sacrifice and on the wood,” he commanded. 34 “Do it a second time!” he said. So they did it a second time. “Do it a third time!” And so they did it a third time. 35 The water flowed around the altar, and even the trench filled with water. 36 At the time of the evening offering, the prophet Elijah drew near and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. I have done all these things at your instructions. 37 Answer me, Lord! Answer me so that this people will know that you, Lord, are the real God and that you can change their hearts.”[d] 38 Then the Lord’s fire fell; it consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up the water in the trench!
39 All the people saw this and fell on their faces. “The Lord is the real God! The Lord is the real God!” they exclaimed.
40 Elijah said to them, “Seize Baal’s prophets! Don’t let any escape!” The people seized the prophets, and Elijah brought them to the Kishon Brook and killed them there. 41 Elijah then said to Ahab, “Get up! Celebrate with food and drink because I hear the sound of a rainstorm coming.” 42 So Ahab got up to celebrate with food and drink. But Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. He bowed down to the ground and put his face between his knees. 43 He said to his assistant, “Please get up and look toward the sea.”
So the assistant did so. He said, “I don’t see anything.”
Seven times Elijah said, “Do it again.”
44 The seventh time the assistant said, “I see a small cloud the size of a human hand coming up from the sea.”
Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Pull yourself together, go down the mountain, and don’t let the rain hold you back.’” 45 After a little while, the sky became dark with clouds, and a wind came up with a huge rainstorm. Ahab was already riding on his way to Jezreel, 46 but the Lord’s power strengthened Elijah. He gathered up his clothes and ran in front of Ahab until he came to Jezreel.
Jerusalem church questions Peter
11 The apostles and the brothers and sisters throughout Judea heard that even the Gentiles had welcomed God’s word. 2 When Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him. 3 They accused him, “You went into the home of the uncircumcised and ate with them!”
4 Step-by-step, Peter explained what had happened. 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying when I had a visionary experience. In my vision, I saw something like a large linen sheet being lowered from heaven by its four corners. It came all the way down to me. 6 As I stared at it, wondering what it was, I saw four-legged animals—including wild beasts—as well as reptiles and wild birds.[a] 7 I heard a voice say, ‘Get up, Peter! Kill and eat!’ 8 I responded, ‘Absolutely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 The voice from heaven spoke a second time, ‘Never consider unclean what God has made pure.’ 10 This happened three times, then everything was pulled back into heaven. 11 At that moment three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea arrived at the house where we were staying. 12 The Spirit told me to go with them even though they were Gentiles. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered that man’s house. 13 He reported to us how he had seen an angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and summon Simon, who is known as Peter. 14 He will tell you how you and your entire household can be saved.’ 15 When I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, just as the Spirit fell on us in the beginning. 16 I remembered the Lord’s words: ‘John will baptize with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, then who am I? Could I stand in God’s way?”
18 Once the apostles and other believers heard this, they calmed down. They praised God and concluded, “So then God has enabled Gentiles to change their hearts and lives so that they might have new life.”
The Antioch church
19 Now those who were scattered as a result of the trouble that occurred because of Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch. They proclaimed the word only to Jews. 20 Among them were some people from Cyprus and Cyrene. They entered Antioch and began to proclaim the good news about the Lord Jesus also to Gentiles. 21 The Lord’s power was with them, and a large number came to believe and turned to the Lord.
22 When the church in Jerusalem heard about this, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw evidence of God’s grace, he was overjoyed and encouraged everyone to remain fully committed to the Lord. 24 Barnabas responded in this way because he was a good man, whom the Holy Spirit had endowed with exceptional faith. A considerable number of people were added to the Lord. 25 Barnabas went to Tarsus in search of Saul. 26 When he found him, he brought him to Antioch. They were there for a whole year, meeting with the church and teaching large numbers of people. It was in Antioch where the disciples were first labeled “Christians.”
27 About that time, some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, Agabus, stood up and, inspired by the Spirit, predicted that a severe famine would overtake the entire Roman world. (This occurred during Claudius’ rule.) 29 The disciples decided they would send support to the brothers and sisters in Judea, with everyone contributing to this ministry according to each person’s abundance. 30 They sent Barnabas and Saul to take this gift to the elders.
- Acts 11:6 Or birds in the sky
135 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord’s name!
All you who serve the Lord, praise God!
2 All you who stand in the Lord’s house—
who stand in the courtyards of our God’s temple—
3 praise the Lord, because the Lord is good!
Sing praises to God’s name because it is beautiful!
4 Because the Lord chose Jacob as his own,
God chose Israel as his treasured possession.
5 Yes, I know for certain that the Lord is great—
I know our Lord is greater than all other gods.
6 The Lord can do whatever he wants
in heaven or on earth,
in the seas and in every ocean depth.
7 God forms clouds at the far corners of the earth.
God makes lightning for the rain.
God releases the wind from its storeroom.
8 God struck down the Egyptians’ oldest offspring—
both human and animal!
9 God sent signs and wonders into the very center of Egypt—
against Pharaoh and all his servants.
10 God struck down many nations
and killed mighty kings:
11 Sihon the Amorite king,
Og the king of Bashan,
and all the Canaanite kings.
12 Then God handed their land over as an inheritance—
as an inheritance to Israel, his own people.
13 Lord, your name is forever!
Lord, your fame extends from one generation to the next!
14 The Lord gives justice to his people
and has compassion on those who serve him.
15 The nations’ idols are just silver and gold—
things made by human hands.
16 They have mouths, but they can’t speak.
They have eyes, but they can’t see.
17 They have ears, but they can’t listen.
No, there’s no breath in their lungs!
18 Let the people who made these idols
and all who trust in them
become just like them!
19 House of Israel, bless the Lord!
House of Aaron, bless the Lord!
20 House of Levi, bless the Lord!
You who honor the Lord, bless the Lord!
21 Bless the Lord from Zion—
bless the one who lives in Jerusalem!
Praise the Lord!
12 Safer to meet a bear robbed of her cubs
than fools in their folly.
13 Evil will never depart from the house
of those who return evil for good.