Devotional Week 4, 2019
Week 4 Monday
January 21, 2019
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“O fear the Lord, you His saints! For there is no want to those who truly revere and worship Him with godly fear…they who seek, inquire of and require the Lord by right of their need and on the authority of His word, none of themshall lack any beneficial thing.”
Psalm 34: 9,10
“The strain of life more testing grows;
More taxing now the things which wear
But heart and mind have for repose –
God’s unremitting care.
Life’s problems grow; its limits press;
More now abundant – things to bear;
Yet, peace can reign in all distress,
Through unremitting care.
Our God still reigns! His hand controls!
And nothing can His love outwear;
And we, who trust to Him our souls,
Find unremitting care.”
J. Danson Smith
Today’s Study Text:
“Elijah said, ‘As the Lord of hosts lives, before Whom I stand, I will surely show myself to Ahab today.’ So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, ‘Are you he who troubles Israel?’ Elijah replied, ‘I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, by forsaking the commandments of the Lord and by following the Baals.’”
1 Kings 18: 15-18
“Who Gets The Blame”
“A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.”
If I make a mistake, am I willing to take the blame and admit my error?
What has happened to me when I have blamed another for a mistake I made?
“It’s a poor workman who blames his tools.”
“Blame is a lazy man’s wages.”
I hope that you never tire of hearing me say that the Bible is such a phenomenal book! I’m inspired, on a daily basis, by not only the spiritual heights to which one can be lifted by studying God’s Word, but also the practical guidance which is contained in the treasure chest of Scripture.
Again today, in our study text, the conversation between Elijah and King Ahab serves to remind us of the way the Bible is so down-to-earth in helping us deal with the challenges we face in our lives. Who needs some self-help guru’s here today, gone tomorrow advice when we have the eternal God’s words of wisdom to give us guidance each step we take.
As I read the passage which is our text for today, I tried to picture what this encounter may have been like. First of all, there was Elijah having just traversed a fair amount of geography on foot. He was likely quite tired and a little dirty from his long trek. And then you have Ahab, who possibly was attired in his kingly robes --trotting about with his royal servants and chariot doing his bidding.
Having had Elijah at the top of Israel’s most wanted list for nearly 3 ½ years, I doubt Ahab expected to run into this man of God as he was out looking for grass for his beasts. Yet much to Ahab’s surprise, who should he uncover but his nemesis Elijah. It didn’t take long for King Ahab to blast Elijah. With words that immediately convey Ahab’s hostile attitude, the king let loose: “Are you he who troubles Israel?” There it is! The blame game. “Are you the one to blame for the mess this country is in?” Isn’t this the gist of Ahab’s accusatory comment? Of course it was. Ahab had to have someone to pawn off all his troubles on. Someone was at the bottom of all the trouble. Why not Elijah?
However, instead of blaming Elijah for the lack of rain, King Ahab should have looked in the mirror. As one individual observed, “If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” And this fact was certainly true of Ahab. The trouble in Israel began at his front door and this is exactly what Elijah told him. Elijah set the record straight by informing Ahab, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, by forsaking the commandments of the Lord and by following the Baals” (1 Kings 18: 18).
It was straight talk to power when Elijah boldly corrected the king on who was to blame for the sad state of affairs in Israel. Apparently, King Ahab, along with his forefathers had completely been overtaken with amnesia when it came to God’s warning through Moses on what would happen in Israel if they conveniently forgot God’s instructions. Here’s a reminder for us from the book of Deuteronomy. “If you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments and His statutes, which I command you this day, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you…the heavens over your head shall be brass and the earth under you shall be iron. The Lord shall make the rain of your land powdered soil and dust, from the heavens it shall come down upon you until you are destroyed” (Deuteronomy 28: 15, 23, 24).
In the late 1800’s, a former baseball player, living in the Midwest region of the United States, felt the call of God upon his heart. Described as a homespun preacher, evangelist Billy Sunday took to the road, lifting high the banner of Christ. As biographer Robert F. Martin portrays in his book, Hero of the Heartland, Billy Sunday in his unabashed manner, “entertained, reproached, exhorted, and astonished,” his audiences with his God-given ability to call people to repentance. But as he once told his listeners, “If you don’t do your part, don’t blame God.”
This was the same message Elijah directed toward the wayward Ahab when he confronted him after 3 ½ long years of punishing drought. “Don’t blame me, Ahab, and don’t blame God. It’s not God’s fault that the land is withered and the sky is brass. It is your fault, and the fault of your relatives, who decided to do what was right in their own eyes.”
In reading this passage, I began to scan the record of my own life and it didn’t take long for me to realize that in my lifetime, there’s been more than one example, when I found myself in a miserable circumstance, and I pointed the finger of blame at others only to have to come to the reality that in fact, I was the one who had driven myself into a ditch. Without any help from others, my own headstrong behavior had been the cause of my downfall. I’m certain that each one of us has had to face the truth that blaming others for the misfortunes we may find ourselves in, doesn’t help us recover from life’s woes, it only increases them. This is why I included the quote from Alexander Pope, which I’d like to repeat: “A man (or woman) should never be ashamed to own he (she) has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he (she) is wiser today than he (she) was yesterday.”
We need to look no further than King David’s failure and his true repentance and acceptance of his own folly, found in Psalm 51, to gain courage from the fact that if we awaken to the truth that we all fail at one time or another in our lives, and that in spite of the mistakes we make, all on our own, it is God’s merciful forgiveness and forgetfulness that gives us a clean start. For on a cross on Golgotha’s hill, the blame game was over when God’s Son called out, “It is finished!” What a wonderful thought for each of us to absorb into our lives. If our heavenly Father, in His gracious kindness doesn’t participate in the blame game, neither should we when dealing with each other and when reckoning with our own failures, whatever they may be.
“He (she) has great tranquility of heart who cares neither for the praises nor the fault-finding of men.”
Thomas á Kempis
“When I look back upon my life nigh spent,
Nigh spent, although the stream as yet flows on,
I more of follies than of sins repent,
Less for offense than Love’s shortcomings moan,
With self, O Father, leave me not alone –
Leave not with the beguiler the beguiled;
Besmirched and ragged, Lord, take back thine own.
A fool I bring Thee to be made a child.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P. S. Thank you so much for the gifts you send to Transformation Garden which continue to assist our ministry here in the United States and in 192 countries around the world. 100% of your donation goes directly to providing for our daily devotionals and gift bookmarks. Transformation Garden is a non-profit organization so your gift is tax-deductible and you will receive a receipt for any gift you send.
Also, if you should happen to miss a devotional for some reason, you can go to www.transformationgarden.com and you will find archived devotionals.
My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com andwww.Christianbook.com or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. Thank you so much for your support of Transformation Garden.