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God's Provision through the Poor

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Through the study of (sociohistorical) context we can see how God may often place us in a situation where our trust in him is tested.

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Introduction

Context

The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament 17:1-18:15: Elijah and the Drought

Zarephath. Zarephath (modern Sarafand) is a town near the coast of the Mediterranean between Tyre and Sidon. It is listed as a harbor city in thirteenth-century B.C. Egyptian texts. It was a flourishing manufacturing and industrial center throughout the first millennium B.C. and down into Roman times. Its importance here is that it shows that Yahweh had also produced a drought in Baal’s own home territory.

The New American Commentary: 1, 2 Kings (3) Elijah’s Miraculous Powers (17:7–24)

Zarephath is located in Phoenicia, the very heart of Baalism.

Holman Concise Bible Commentary Elijah and Micaiah (17:1–22:53)

The Elijah cycle of stories departs from the stereotyped reporting of the kings in chapters 12–16. The stories of the prophet Elijah show that the makers of Israel’s history were not the kings but the prophets who dramatically shaped the future of each royal house.

Elijah’s ministry occurred during Israel’s greatest religious crisis under Ahab and Ahaziah (1 Kgs. 22:51–2 Kgs. 1:18).

Concept of the Betrayal Barrier
What is it?

The ‘Betrayal Barrier’: when we feel that God has betrayed us.

1. It is when God appears to be disloyal and takes the side of the enemy.

(a) God is said to be ‘for us’ (Romans 8:31) and ‘on our side’ (Psalm 124:1).

(b) But sometimes he appears to be disloyal: ‘Is it not you, O God, you who have rejected us and no longer go out with our armies?’ (Psalm 60:10).

It is when the past, present and future appear equally bleak.

(a) It seems that the past cannot possibly work together for good, which Romans 8:28 promises.

(b) It is when the present Finds us without any sense of God, presence of mind or reason for living.

(c) It is when the future is so bleak that there seems absolutely nothing to live for.

Understanding Theology, Volume One 1. Examples of the Betrayal Barrier

Elijah.

1. After his prophecy to Ahab.

(a) Elijah prophesied: ‘No rain except at my word’ (1 Kings 17:1).

(1) But how would Elijah himself survive?

(2) Answer: God said to him, ‘You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there’ (1 Kings 17:4).

(b) But Elijah became a victim of his own prophecy!

Regardless that Elijah seemed like god was not on his side he had to be obedient to what the Lord commanded him.

Obedience

Elijah who prayed for the drought

No grain or oil

Conclusion

Trust

Conclusion

Summary

The New American Commentary: 1, 2 Kings (3) Elijah’s Miraculous Powers (17:7–24)

the main purpose of this narrative is “to demonstrate on Phoenician soil, where Baal is worshiped, that Yahweh has power over things in which Baal has failed.” Since Baal worshipers explained the drought as a sign that Baal was dead, he could not help the widow and her son. “In the absence of Baal who lies impotent in the Netherworld, Yahweh steps in to assist the widow and the orphan, and this is even done in the heartland of Baal, Phoenicia.”

Application

The New American Commentary: 1, 2 Kings (3) Elijah’s Miraculous Powers (17:7–24)

Zarephath is located in Phoenicia, the very heart of Baalism. Here Yahweh will defeat Baal in his own territory

The New American Commentary: 1, 2 Kings (3) Elijah’s Miraculous Powers (17:7–24)

God’s people have what they need and what Baal cannot provide.

Holman Concise Bible Commentary Elijah and Micaiah (17:1–22:53)

The Elijah cycle of stories departs from the stereotyped reporting of the kings in chapters 12–16. The stories of the prophet Elijah show that the makers of Israel’s history were not the kings but the prophets who dramatically shaped the future of each royal house.

Elijah’s ministry occurred during Israel’s greatest religious crisis under Ahab and Ahaziah (1 Kgs. 22:51–2 Kgs. 1:18).

House, Paul R. 1, 2 Kings. Vol. 8. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995. Print. The New American Commentary.

It is God’s way, and it is his glory, to make use of the weak and foolish things of the world and put honour upon them. He is, in a special manner, the widows’ God, and feeds them

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