1 Kings 14:1-15:24, Acts 10:1-23, Ps 133:1-3, Pr 17:7-8
Today is the 16th day of June. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian. And it is a pleasure, like every day, to be here with you, an honor to be able to read the Scriptures around this global campfire that is our community. And where I envision most every day that roaring fire and us just sitting around, kind of coming in out of the dark, warming ourselves, being together. Cause in a very real way that’s what’s happening. We’re never listening to the Daily Audio Bible alone and someone’s always sitting at the campfire. So, it’s a pleasure and an honor to take the next step forward with you today as we close down another one of our weeks together. We’ve been reading from the Good News translation this week and we’ll continue to do that today. 1 Kings 15:25-17:24 today.
Okay. So, in the book of 1 Kings, we are rapidly moving generation to generation, following two sets of kings, kings in the north in Israel and kings in the south in Judah. And so, yeah, it gets confusing. And then a prophet will come into the mix and so we can kind of anchor ourselves in the relationship that the prophet might have with one of the kings. So, we sort of see that happen in today’s reading as we meet a name that it’s unlikely that you’ve never heard before. Elijah. The prophet Elijah. A great prophet of Israel who is prophesying in the North. Okay, so he’s with the ten Northern Tribes of Israel. And he’s telling the new king, Ahab, that it’s not going to rain for a while. And, so, we will watch that story unfold. But we should note that of Ahab the Scriptures tell us that there was no one worse than him. No one had sinned more against the Lord than him. And the capitol city of the north has now become Samaria. Ahab has built a temple in Samaria to the god Baal. The ruins of that temple still exist in the ancient ruins of Samaria. And they can still be seen today. This is not particularly an easy place to get to right now. Not a place to take tour buses and stuff like that to, but we have definitely gone there and filmed there. And I’ve seen the ruins myself and we’ve filmed them. They’re found in the Promised Land films. So, there is archeology that remains until today from this time that we’re reading about today.
Then we get to the New Testament, the book of Acts. And we kind of started a story that I said has pretty significant repercussions for the early church. And it does. So, Cornelius is a gentile, Peter’s a Jew, there were visions, there was a sending for Peter, Peter has come. And it’s interesting because Peter comes into Cornelius’ house and so he’s like, here I am. You sent for me. What do you want? And Cornelius is kind of like, Well, an angel told me to send for you, so what do you have to say? Quite an interesting way to make an acquaintance for sure. Peter shares the story of Jesus with a house full of gentile people in Joppa. The Holy Spirit falls upon these gentile people clearly. And this forces Peter and the early church that he was associated with to grapple with the fact that God was pouring out his Holy Spirit upon gentiles and they could see it, even though this was a complete reframe of what they thought they knew. They thought what Jesus had done was all in the context of Jewish people. Now they began to understand that the work of Christ was opening up the way of restoration and intimacy and relationship with God to everyone in the world. Now, most of us can be incredibly grateful for that fact because most of us would be considered gentile. And for the most part this isn’t an issue. This isn’t something we’re thinking about every day. But I cannot stress to you the importance of this issue in the early church. This was essentially the first church problem. It was a sincere and significant struggle. And it would take more than an hour to try to tell the whole story, so we’ll tell the story as we continue to move through the Bible, especially as we get into the writings of the apostle Paul, which are kind of next up on deck. But I will give you the implications right now because the implications brought about great tribulation and persecution for the early Christians later on. So, in the time that we are reading about in the book of Acts, the entire land was a part of the Roman empire. So, where this is all taking place in the modern-day area of Israel and the ancient area of Israel, this was the far eastern border of the Roman empire. It was their province of Syria. And these Jewish people who had ancient roots in this area, they were permitted by the Roman government to continue to have their worship of the god that they had always worshipped. That’s not so unusual. The Romans had a pantheon of gods. Everybody could worship whatever gods that they wanted to worship. But they were sort of like the state gods. The kind of worship that would give your allegiance to the empire, that would bind people together as one group of people. The Jewish people wouldn’t do that. They would only worship the God of Israel, which is a little ironic based on the kings that we’re reading through and how they worshipped all kinds of gods and were not faithful to the Lord their God. But anyway, the Jewish people would not worship these Roman gods. They would only worship the one true God. And they kind of had an exception. This was sort of tolerated, permitted. It marginalized them. This was Roman territory and it was being built up as part of the Roman Empire, but the Jewish people separated themselves and so they were marginalized by default and then they were suppressed, oppressed but they got to worship their god without having to worship any of the Roman gods to show their allegiance to Rome. This kind of explains some of the context in Jesus life, like why are the Sanhedrin, why are the Sadducees and the Pharisees plotting to kill Jesus and all this stuff? Why is the High Priest saying it’s better for one man to die for the whole nation than the whole nation to be destroyed? It’s because of this kind of context. They have this tenuous kind of thing going on where they are being oppressed and suppressed but they are given religious freedom to worship only the one true God. So not very many Romans wanted to convert to Judaism. It did happen. They were God- fearers and Cornelius in the book of Acts is one of these people. He wasn’t a Jew, but he was God-fearing. The implications of the Holy Spirit coming into gentile lives and this opening up to the entire world was going to force a separation that would bring about persecution because up until this point, up until God began to work among the gentiles giving his Holy Spirit, people who followed Jesus were just largely looked at as kind of a weird sect of Judaism following a very specific rabbi into certain specific behaviors and they had some mystical feelings about who this rabbi might have been and revering rabbis goes back into antiquity. This wasn’t particularly a new concept. And not everybody knew about Jesus’ life. So, these people who were following The Way, the way of Jesus, never really assumed that they weren’t going to be Jewish anymore. This was the entire context for their lives and Jesus was a Jewish person and lived within that context. So, it was just sort of like a branch of Judaism and it would have found its protection and religious freedom because of the Jewish people. For the Holy Spirit to come into the gentile lives, and for the church, the early church, to acknowledge, this is not just a Jewish thing, this is a whole world thing, would have immediate set the Jews against them and they would have no longer protected them with their religious freedoms and so then they would have been required, like every other Roman, to have allegiance to the roman gods. And over time that played out and brought great persecution, but that’s some context. We have a lot of ground to cover because we look at the book of Acts and we go, that was the Golden age, man. The Holy Spirit was falling everywhere, people were coming to Jesus by the thousands. It was an amazing, amazing time with no problems and everyone was in harmony and unity. And that’s just not how it went though, and we will see how that all plays out and how particularly relevant it is to our lives today as we continue forward over the coming months and getting into the writings of the Apostle Paul. So, I think that’s a pretty good way to end our week.
Father, thank You. Thank You for another week in Your Word and thank You for all that You have brought us through all these stories. Sometimes it feels like they’re coming at us so quickly that we can’t keep up and sometimes they are piercing our heart, they are exposing so much inside of us that we need to submit to You and it’s a beautiful thing the way Your Holy Spirit does move around the world through Your Word. And, so, we’re thanking You for allowing us to be a part of that story. We ask that You plant the words that we’ve heard from the Scriptures this week into our lives, rooting us in You, guiding and directing our steps in the ways that we should go. We ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for here is tomorrow.
Community Prayer and Praise:
Hi there Daily Audio Bible family. This is Alaska mom. And I don’t call very often but I just heard some really sad news. I live in a very small town in Alaska and there was a single car accident sometime last night but it was not even found until tonight. A mother and three children in the car. The mom and the middle child did not make it. The youngest who was about 6 or 7 and the oldest who is about 12 or 13 are being Medevac’d out of town with severe hypothermia and I don’t know what else, but if you could just keep the family in prayer and keep our whole town because this will…this will affect our whole town. It’s…it’s very heartbreaking. Please pray. Thank you.
Hey everybody. It’s Margo from Australia. I just couldn’t resist ringing again today because I just finished hearing today’s reading on the 12th of June and the proverb that Brian read at the end where he said, gold and silver are tested by fire and a person’s heart is tested by the Lord. I love that proverb and it reminded me of one of my all-time favorite verses in the Bible, which is in Job of all places. And most of you will know the story of Job and the suffering that he endured. And there’s a verse in Job 23:10 and its Job speaking. And he says of the Lord, when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold. And that has always been one of my favorite verses. I have a couple my bathroom mirror. When the Lord has tested me, I will come forth as gold. And I’ve always found that so encouraging. When we are going through times of suffering and hardship, remember that at the end we want to come forth as gold. And, so, no matter what’s happening in your…in your life continue to praise the Lord, continue to bless His name, continue to trust in Him and have faith in Him and say to yourself, when He has tested me I will come forth as gold.
Hi DAB family. This is Diane from Indiana. I’m calling to reach out to Jeanette who called to say her husband, Vince, has Parkinson’s disease and is soon to have DBS surgery. I too have Parkinson’s disease and have gone through this same surgery. I know exactly what he’s going through and how precise this surgery has to be. Please let Vince know that I’m praying for him every day while he goes through this process for physical healing and for God to be glorified through it all. Jeanette, please call back and let us know how Vince is doing. Thank you DAB family for your prayers for Vince.
Hi DABbers. My name is Lynn. I’m calling from British Colombia, Canada. I have a prayer request. I recently had a birthday and I relapsed into alcoholism around my birthday. I have something important to do today and I am worried that I might mess up something rather important because of the physical state that I allowed my body to get into with…with the birthday bender. However, a praise report, because I flagged…May…or…March for this year and just re-listened to, ‘be still and know that I am God’, and just listening to that along with Brian’s prayer has given me such hope for today. Thank you. God bless you all.