1 KINGS 19:11 - Berean Lamp Memory Verse - (Mar 25-Apr 1)
The Berean Lamp Memory Verse for this week is:
“So He said, ‘Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake” (1 Kings 19:8).
Elijah had felt powerless and defeated by Jezebel and what she represented—the god Baal that had seduced and conquered the hearts of "everyone" in Israel. Elijah had been called to stand against this evil and turn the hearts of Israel back to God. It seems Elijah had taken God’s call entirely upon himself, until he felt like he alone was the "last man standing." Many of us have felt similarly at times as our culture drifts from God and the churches and people we know no longer serve the God of God's Word. We've asked God, "Where are you people? Am I the the last one?" Perhaps for Elijah, that meant taking upon himself a burden he could not carry - fighting FOR God. That seems to be his attitude as he fled for his life and collapsed in the wilderness, decrying his failure to save Israel for God. But Israel wasn't Elijah's to save.
Elijah thought he was the last one serving God in the entire world. And now he was defeated - and in that defeat was the idea of the defeat of God. Had Baal conquered Israel?
After refreshing Elijah's body, God ordered the prophet to travel 40 days and 40 nights in the strength of that physical refreshment to "the mountain of God," where God had delivered His Word to Moses, and here, He was going to show Elijah something—something we need to remember today. God is sovereign and in control. God is never defeated. We do not fight or work for God - God fights His own battles - and He fights for His people - He saves His own people. Nowhere is that more true than in the person of Jesus Christ - He does the work of salvation, His Spirit wins the battles for us, and He will win the final battle against satan. Here on the mountain of God, Elijah was restored spiritually to the proper perspective as he "rested" in the power of God, spiritually refreshed by the Spirit of God.
Elijah learned that "man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord" (Deuteronomy 8:3) - even if man should faint or sleep or fail, God does not - nor does His Word, which is untiring and unswerving.
God is never defeated. God told Elijah He had reserved 7,000 people in Israel who had never worshiped Baal. And it was time for Elijah to let them step up in God's plan.
We see this idea in many of the Prophets - the idea that they are never shown the full mind of God and some of that revelation is for other people, not them. "As for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, 'My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?' He said, 'Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time" (Daniel 12:8-9). No one knows the mind of God but God Himself. You serve the almighty God, you are not His counselor or His champion. He will win the victory Himself. Even if man should fail, God is never defeated.
It is valuable to us to realize we serve a God Who understand our nature, physically and spiritually. This immensely powerful God came down and related to Elijah, spiritually nourishing him with the very awesome presence of God - reminding him that God's strength is all-sufficient - reminding us that not only is God more powerful than the immovable strength of mountains, but we belong to this all-powerful God and have access to the very throne of God - His very Spirit dwells in us and intercedes for us "with groanings too deep for words" (Romans 8:26b). God gave Elijah perspective and we need that perspective in our lives. May we take courage in God's understanding of Elijah's physical, emotional, and spiritual condition in our own struggles that have us collapsing in the metaphorically wilderness, running for our lives and wishing death as a release because we are at the end of our strength and abilities. God is our sufficiency.
"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed" (2 Corinthians 9:8). "And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
May we praise God for His love and goodness to the downtrodden and oppressed - and for His loving ministry of perspective to us in our frail estate - jars of clay holding the immense treasure of the very Spirit of God. May we be strengthened and encouraged by the Word of God, His Holy Spirit, and the surety of our glorious future in Christ! May we look forward together to the favorable year of the Lord and enter His rest through Christ. Amen. Come, Lord, Jesus!
Other verses to consider:
GOD PHYSICALLY REFRESHES ELIJAH
“Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, ‘So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.’ And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.’ He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, ‘Arise, eat.’ Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, ‘Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.’ So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God” (1 Kings 19:1-8).
GOD SPIRITUALLY REFRESHES ELIJAH
“Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He said, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.’ So He said, ‘Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ Then he said, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.’ The Lord said to him, ‘Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram; and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. It shall come about, the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall put to death. Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him’” (1 Kings 19:9-18).
GOD CARES FOR THE POOR AND VULNERABLE
“For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes” (Jeremiah 31:25).
“He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him” (Proverbs 14:31).
“The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor, The wicked does not understand such concern” (Proverbs 29:7).
“‘What do you mean by crushing My people And grinding the face of the poor?’ Declares the Lord God of hosts” (Isaiah 3:15).
“But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked” (Isaiah 11:4).
“Thus has the Lord of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another’” (Zachariah 7:9-10).
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19).
THE BIBLE ON REST
“By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (Genesis 2:2-3).
“Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and became the father of a son. Now he called his name Noah, saying, ‘This one will give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the Lord has cursed’” (Genesis 5:28-29).
“Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:9-10).
“Six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female slave, as well as your stranger, may refresh themselves” (Exodus 23:12).
“Therefore you are to observe the sabbath, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the Lord; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death. So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.’ It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed” (Exodus 31:14-17).
“You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest” (Exodus 34:21).
“For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a holy day, a sabbath of complete rest to the Lord; whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. You shall not kindle a fire in any of your dwellings on the sabbath day” (Exodus 35:2-3).
“‘Observe the sabbath day to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant or your ox or your donkey or any of your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you, so that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to observe the sabbath day” (Deuteronomy 5:13-15).
“Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes” (Psalm 37:7).
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:8-29).
“At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat. But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, ‘Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath.’ But He said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions, how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests alone? Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent? But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here. But if you had known what this means, “I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,” you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.’ Departing from there, He went into their synagogue. And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Jesus, asking, ‘Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?’—so that they might accuse Him. And He said to them, ‘What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.’ Then He said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand!’ He stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against Him, as to how they might destroy Him” (Matthew 12:1-14).
“And it happened that He was passing through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples began to make their way along while picking the heads of grain. The Pharisees were saying to Him, ‘Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?’ And He said to them, ‘Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions became hungry; how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?’ Jesus said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath’” (Mark 2:23-28).
“On another Sabbath He entered the synagogue and was teaching; and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if He healed on the Sabbath, so that they might find reason to accuse Him. But He knew what they were thinking, and He said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Get up and come forward!’ And he got up and came forward. And Jesus said to them, ‘I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to destroy it?’ After looking around at them all, He said to him, ‘Stretch out your hand!’ And he did so; and his hand was restored. But they themselves were filled with rage, and discussed together what they might do to Jesus” (Luke 6:6-11).
“And He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And there was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit; and she was bent double, and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, ‘Woman, you are freed from your sickness.’ And He laid His hands on her; and immediately she was made erect again and began glorifying God. But the synagogue official, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd in response, ‘There are six days in which work should be done; so come during them and get healed, and not on the Sabbath day.’ But the Lord answered him and said, ‘You hypocrites, does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead him away to water him? And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?’ As He said this, all His opponents were being humiliated; and the entire crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things being done by Him” (Luke 13:10-17).