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November 2013

Devotions November 2013

Buffalon In December
                              Buffalo In November

 1.                    God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                             November 1, 2013               

Good Morning!
Many centuries later another widow of her city would seek, and find, relief from her great anxiety when Jesus came there (Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30).

MAKE ME A CAKE FIRST:
1 Kings 17:13. “And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. 
14. For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. 15. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. 16. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.

Let us look at this for a moment. A stranger demands a share of her last meal. Or, rather, he demands the first share. “Make me a cake first” (v.13). Now consider her position. She is reduced to her last morsel. So sore is the famine that she and her son, after they have eaten this meal together, are about to lie down and wait for death. They must have suffered hunger enough already; they must have dreaded the hunger even unto death which awaited them.

At this moment a stranger suddenly appears before her and says he must eat first And at home, her own flesh and blood, the son of her womb, stretches out his skinny fingers, starved from prolonged famine, and cries for all she has to give. Moreover, if this prophet could multiply food, as he promised to be able to do, why should he ask her for bread? Was it reasonable that she should part with her last morsel on the strength of such a promise?

“Charity begins at home.” “Let the children first be filled.” “Shall I take my bread and my water and give it one that I know not whence they be?” (1 Samuel 25:11).
Thus she might justly have argued. We could not have wondered had the ordeal been too great for her; had she kept fast hold of her children’s bread and denied it to “dogs.” But, like that other Syro-Phoenician woman (Matthew 15:21-28), her faith was equal to the test, she “Went and did according to the saying of Elijah.” And, therefore, of her also it might justly be said, “I have not found so great faith, no not in Israel.” She proved the genuineness of her faith by her works.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Jeremiah   19  20      Psalm   133

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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2.  3.                   God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                                 November 2 & 3, 2013               

Good Morning!
Simon Peter informs us that these Holy Men spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1:21), so the things they spake came to pass as if it were God himself talking.

IT WAS GOD HIMSELF SPEAKING THROUGH ELIJAH:
1 Kings 17:15. “And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. 16. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.”

Elijah had said, “The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth.” God fulfills that promise, “And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.” Can we imagine this widow woman going to the meal barrel day after day, week after week, and month after month for about two and a half years and there was the same amount in it as the first, and the oil remained the same.

The phrase, “And her house,” probably indicates that her friends and poor relatives came to partake of her plenty, along with her son and Elijah and they were all sustained by the miracle-working power of God for two years and a half. The meal in the barrel and the oil in the cruse was not only imperishable, but it, like the loaves and the fishes (John 6:1-14), grows as it is dispensed, multiplies with the using. How delightful were the spiritual feasts of those two and a half years in the widow’s dwelling, flavored by heavenly conversation, perhaps the only quiet happy season in Elijah’s life.

How Could This Poor Widow Hope For Such Distinction? A poor widow, so poor that she had no servant and no fuel to build a fire in her house. A widow with her son, both at the point of death! A stranger, and a stranger of Zidon too—the land of Baal—and the land of Jezebel. God’s ways are not our ways. He brings unlikely things to pass. How little do we know what may be the thoughts of his heart concerning us? To be permitted to do anything for God is an unspeakable honor. Anoint his feet—feed him—visit him. Let us ever be in that attitude of whole-hearted consecration to God which will make us eligible for any service he may be pleased to promote us to.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Jeremiah   21  22
Jeremiah   23  24           Psalm   134             

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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4.                God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                           November 4, 2013               

Good Morning!
The many days (2 ½ years?) in the home of the widow had been a happy, quiet, resting time for Elijah. Perhaps the only quiet happy season in all his life.

WHEN DEATH COMES TO THE DOOR:
1 Kings 17:17. “And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. 18. And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?”

The phrase in verse fifteen which is translated “many days,” is understood by some Hebraists to denote a year. So the phrase in verse seventeen, “And it came to pass after these things,” implies that the widow’s son died after Elijah had been in her house one year. Her son falls sick and dies. How heartbroken she must have been. He was the last living thing that she had in this world.

Many people become bitter and angry towards God, the church, or the preacher, when things like this happen. She might have had hard thoughts of God, or unworthy thoughts of the prophet. It is a wonder she held fast her integrity. But she only thought harshly of herself. It must be, she reasoned, a judgment for her sin. The man of God had read her life; and had brought her sin to the remembrance of his Master (ver. 18). She had recognized the presence of God with Elijah and witnessed his miraculous power demonstrated in the provisions of the meal and oil.

Prophets were sent, usually, to reprove, and pronounce judgments. This bereavement, therefore, might suggest to the widow her sin in general, or some particular sin, though not clearly defined to her as yet. She supposed that God might have overlooked her sin, had it not been that he was present with His prophet in her home; and she associated discipline with retribution. It is significant that the thought of her own sin should be her first thought. The calamity brought this to her remembrance because it seemed to her a sign of God’s remembrance of it. It is a true instinct which leads us to think of our sins in times of adversity.

Whenever affliction comes to us it should produce tenderness of conscience and call forth the prayer, “Show me wherefore thou contendest with me” (Job 10:2), in order that if there be a secret sin in ourselves that demands this severe discipline we may have grace to fight against it and cast it out.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Jeremiah   25  26

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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5.                   God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                             November 5, 2013               

Good Morning!
Here is a touching scene—a poor widow pressing to her bosom the corpse of her only child, and while in the agony of her bereaved soul, addressing Elijah.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE POWER OF FAITH:
1 Kings 17:19. “And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed.”

Elijah had confidence in God before he prayed. This is evident from the manner in which he asked the widow for the corpse. He did not tell her what he intended to do. But, on the other hand, neither did he express any hesitation as to the comfort she might expect. A man of Elijah’s strong nature would have strong affections, and we can imagine how intensely he had come to love this child. This incident shows a side to his character which is often overlooked, one that was tenderly sympathetic and very humane.

On hearing of his death he could only say to the distraught mother, “Give me thy son,” and then carried him up to his own room, and cried to God in an agony of prayer. It had been over three-thousand years since God had formed Adam from the dust of the earth, and because of Adam’s sin death had come to the human race. Since that day death had laid hold on every living thing on the face of the earth. The trees and vegetation had lived and died, the birds an animals and creeping things had all tasted death. Death held firm hold on all living things. And nothing had been able to break the chains of death, all these were still held in its chamber.

So what did Elijah expect, what was he thinking, can the fingers of death be pried loose from its gasp of this boy? It had never let go before, not for Abraham, nor Jacob, nor Moses, nor David who pleaded seven days for his son 2 Samuel 12:15-23. But Elijah would be the first to persuade the One Who holds the key to death, hell and the grave to unlock the door to the chamber of death and bring this boy to life.

What a tremendous act of faith for Elijah to ask for life to be restored to the dead child. Elijah was asking for something which had never been tried before, life from the dead.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Jeremiah   27  28       Psalm   135

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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6.                  God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                            November 6, 2013               

Good Morning!
In this incident we have one of the greatest examples of intercessory prayer in the bible. It was offered in solitude; not even the mother was there. Such intense crisis in life must be met alone.

AN EXAMPLE OF INTERCESSORY PRAYER:
1 Kings 17:20. “And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? 21. And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again. 22. And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23. And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth.

Elijah’s prayer was intensely earnest (James 5:17 He prayed earnestly). Elijah could not be denied. His was not a speech, but a cry. Three times he prostrated himself upon the child, each time asking that life be restored to him. He looked for the awakening and flung himself on the dead child in an agony of earnestness as if he would infuse his own warmth and life. The act was reenacted by Paul when a young man fell out of the third loft and was taken up dead (Acts 20:10). The touch was similar to that of Peter when he took the cripple man by the hand and raised him up (Acts 3:7). The human touch was not the cause of blessing, but the medium of blessing. The divine power works through the human agency. Jesus explained this to his disciples (Mark 16:17-18).

“And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.” The prayer was followed by a revelation of God’s power such as, till then, man had never seen: the dead were raised. Jesus said, “ask, and ye shall receive” (John 16:24). Elijah could not give life, but he could ask God for it. The soul that asks will see God’s salvation.

v. 24. “And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.” In the widow’s exclamation we see the joy of a soul that for the first time is made fully conscious of the presence and power of God. Very ancient tradition says that this boy became Elijah’s servant (1 Kings 18:43; 19:3), and was later the prophet Jonah.

Read-Thru-The Bible 
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Jeremiah   29  30

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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7.                God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                           November 7, 2013               

Good Morning!
We find Elijah back in Israel after three and one half years in a foreign country living on the provisions God had supplied to a widow woman. No rain had fallen during this period of time and severe conditions existed in Israel.

ELIJAH BACK IN ISRAEL:
1 Kings 18:1. “And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth. 2. And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria.”

Like an insidious plague, drought builds slower, spreads farther, lasts longer, and touches more lives than any other natural disaster. Drought’s impact ripples like heat off pavements, crops die, food costs soar, livestock starve, water tables drop, wildfires rage, and heat takes human lives.

The 1988 drought was the costliest natural disaster in U. S. history, with losses of more than 39.2 billion dollars. Fires burned more than 12.6 million acres of the Yellowstone national park. Much of the corn, wheat, and other crops were devastated, the cattle, hog, and poultry farm losses ran into billions of dollars, thousands of municipalities had to ration water, and worst of all there were more than 10,000 heat related deaths. As we write Mid-America is held in the grip of an extended drought which will close farmland in much of the area.

Much of the world is subject to drought at any given time. Abraham experienced a drought not long after he came into Canaan and left for a while to go to Egypt (Genesis 12:10). Jacob later went to Egypt because of drought and his family remained there for 400 years (Genesis 46:6).

When the drought lasted through the third year and into the fourth, and when absolute ruin and death stared the nation of Israel in the face, the heart of people was slowly being turned backward, from Baal and Ashtoreth, to the Lord God of Israel. The Lord looked upon the sufferings of his people, and upon their changing attitudes towards him, and he told Elijah to return to Ahab and he would send rain upon the earth. Thank God, “His Mercy Is Everlasting.”

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Jeremiah   31  32          Psalm   136

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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8.                 God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                            November 8, 2013               

Good Morning!
At the bidding of God the prophet leaves his Gentile dwelling, takes an affectionate farewell of the humble widow, winds along the old highway by the coast road, and reaches the dominion of Ahab.

OBADIAH GOVENOR OF AHAB'S PALACE: 
1 Kings 18:2. “And Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab. 7. And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he knew him, and fell on his face, and said, Art thou that my lord Elijah? 8. And he answered him, I am: go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here. 10. As the LORD thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not.”

In Elijah we see his courage, his unwavering confidence in God, and unhesitating obedience to his divine command. “Hide thyself at Cherith,” said God before, and Elijah went. “Show thyself unto Ahab,” God says now, and into the very jaws of the lion the prophet goes without murmur or pause.

The conditions of the country are most distressing. There is drought everywhere. The marshes are dry; the fountains have ceased; the most torrent-beds can yield little or no water. At first threats had been freely uttered against Elijah, who was perversely regarded as the author of all this misery and the neighboring countries were scoured to find him. Moreover reprisals were made on the system, which he represented, by a fierce persecution of the prophetic order, of which he was a part.

Seemingly the whole nation, under the malign influence of Jezebel and Ahab, had abandoned the God of their fathers, and turned itself to the licentious worship of Phoenician gods. The altars of Jehovah had been overthrown, and a determined effort was made by Jezebel to stamp out His Prophets and Professors of Jehovah.

In these verses we are introduced to one of the most remarkable men in the Old Testament, in fact in the entire Bible, the governor of Ahab’s house, Obadiah. We would never dream of finding any followers of the Lord occupying an exalted position, living under the shadow of the Palace, or in close contact with the determined and unscrupulous queen, yet we find Obadiah not only living there but using Ahab’s resources to feed a hundred prophets of the Lord.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Jeremiah   33  34

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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9.  10.                    God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                      November 9 & 10, 2013               

Good Morning!
We may well believe that, despite his brave words when Jezebel was at his side, and the cheap courage he manifested when he had the court and the priests of Baal at his back, Ahab must have looked forward to this meeting with something like apprehension.

BEHOLD ELIJAH IS HERE:
1 Kings 18:7. “And as Obadiah was in the way, behold, Elijah met him: and he knew him, and fell on his face, and said, Art thou that my lord Elijah? 8. And he answered him, I am: go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here. 16. So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him: and Ahab went to meet Elijah.”

For three and a half years king and prophet have not met (Luke 4:25). The time to favor Israel is come, and the king and the prophet meet again. Seldom in all history has there been such a meeting. It was an anxious moment for each of them. It was a critical moment in the history of the Church. Let us mark the words; let us observe how they bear themselves; we shall surely learn something from their demeanor and discourse.

What a meeting! One of the worst of kings with one of the noblest of prophets. What confrontation will there be in the great day of judgment! What reversals of past confrontations! What reversals in the order of superiority! It is Elijah’s task to reprove the king; hence, in a manner he summons him before him. “BEHOLD ELIJAH:” The proud monarch, who has scoured all lands in search of him, must now humble himself to go before the prophet.

1 Kings 18:17. “And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” The two are face to face; it is a solemn moment; the conflict is God’s, and both heaven and the regions of hell are moved in view of the issue.  There is no doubt that Ahab fears to meet Elijah. It is true that Ahab is the first to speak, and accuses the prophet of troubling the land, yet it is probable that, though he put on a bold front, he was from the first thoroughly cowed.

Ahab had good cause for misgivings and fears. First, he was to encounter a true prophet, and one vested with supernatural powers. Of one thing he could have no doubt, as to the “sure word of prophecy” in Elijah’s lips was true.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Jeremiah   35  36             Psalm   137
Jeremiah  
37  38

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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11.            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                        November 11, 2013               

Good Morning!
“Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” It is a common charge against the prophets and people of God. The saints are always in the wrong, and made to carry the blame.

THE KING AND HIS MASTER:
1 Kings 18:18. “And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim. Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel's table. (The righteous are bold as a lion)

Ahab only speaks “after his kind.” He saw that Elijah had been instrumental in bringing down the drought and the terrible famine which accompanied it. He never pauses to ask what moved Elijah to call for a drought, or what caused Elijah’s God to send it. The same charge is made, and with the same unreason and perversity at the present day.

It has been supposed, by some, that Ahab hoped to abash (rattle) the Tishbite, perhaps to have him at his feet suing for pardon. If so, he must have completely misjudged his man. And why should the prophet sue for pardon, when he was clearly master of the situation, it is difficult to imagine? There is no trace of fear in his words. The truth has nothing to fear.

Elijah Has Taken Charge: The King endures the upbraiding of the Prophet. Ahab is charged with the ruin of his country, and is speechless. His courage has evaporated. He who would accuse Elijah cannot defend himself. Though anointed king, he is weak and helpless (2 Samuel 3:39), and accepts his subject as his superior. How soon have they traded places?

Ahab has been hunting for the prophet’s life, has been vowing vengeance upon him if found. Now he has found him, and he trembles before him. And this is because his conscience has made him a coward. He knows in his inmost heart that Elijah has spoken the truth; that God is on his side; and he is afraid of him, just as Saul, giant and king though he was, was afraid of the lad, David.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Jeremiah   39  40           Psalm   138

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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12.                God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                            November 12, 2013               

Good Morning!
In every instance when God chastises, whether it be a nation or an individual, his sole purpose is to bring them to a place of repentance. After three and one half years of extreme drought, God looked upon the suffering of his people and sent Elijah back to them to offer them an opportunity to repent.

The King Obeys The Prophet’s Commands:
1 Kings 18:19. “Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel's table. 20. So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto Mount Carmel.

Elijah might be king from the commands he issues. “Send and gather to me”---observe “to me” “all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal and Asherah…” It is probable that, though Ahab hoped for rain, still he anticipated no good to his or Jezebel’s prophets from this meeting. He, no doubt, would have disobeyed if he dared. But he has found his master, and it is in this uncouth, untutored Gileadite.

At Elijah’s bidding his heralds go throughout the land. The prophet has had a triumph already. The truth and consciousness of right, and the power of God’s presence have proved greater than scepter and crown. It would take several days for the news to reach everyone. And finally all Israel stood at the meeting place on Mount Carmel. There is a large plateau on Carmel which overlooks the valley of Jezreel which has a wide area with enough room to accommodate a very large congregation of people. The Mediterranean Sea is on the western side of the Carmel range. It was to this prominent plateau no doubt that Ahab summoned Israel.

Can we imagine Elijah standing on a prominent place, surrounded on the one hand by the King and his court, with the prophets of Baal and the prophets of Asherah in attendance, and on the other hand the thousands of the people of Israel. Yet Elijah’s main concern centered upon the people of Israel, and so he begins his address to them. From the conversion of Israel on that day at Carmel we may gather some lessons as to the true doctrine of conversion, the conversion of a man from sin to righteousness, from the power of Satan unto God.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Jeremiah   41  42

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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13.                God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                             November 13, 2013                

Good Morning!
Let us follow the steps which Elijah took to lead them toward conversion.

ELIJAH URGED A CHANGE OF MIND:
1 Kings 18:21. “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.”

“…Came Unto All The People,..” Elijah is concerned, not so much with the King, as he is with the people of the Lord. His object was, not to prove that it was Ahab, and not he, that had troubled Israel, but to prove that Jehovah, not Baal, was God. “… And said, how long halt ye between two opinions,..” The same word translated “halt” in the K.J.V., is used in ver. 26 of the swaying, tottering, dance of the prophets of Baal where they are leaping back and forth. The word denotes the passing over from one place to another—between two opinions.

“How long are you going to jump back and forth between two opinions?” “How long?” Elijah’s voice of stern, yet sorrowful, rebuke must have struck deep into many hearts that day, yet “They answered him not a word.” For indecision there is no defense. Jesus forecast a day when multitudes mould stand before him Speechless (Matthew 22:12).

As a whole “the people” were what we call “wishy-washy”— those who tried to keep good terms with God and the Devil— leaning sometimes to one side and sometimes to the other, swayed by the influences that happened to be strongest upon them at the time. The “Halters” Are Still The Majority. How few amongst the multitude of the world have resolved in heart and soul that they will go entirely with the devil. It is time you made up your mind one way or the other. That Elijah’s rebuke of the people for “halting between two” implies their power and obligation to decide.

It Is The Responsibility Of Every Man And Woman As Regards His Own Religious Opinions. Opinions, mental judgments, convictions, thoughts, these are the roots from which the fruits of all religious feelings and actions grow. Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: ...” We cannot exaggerate the importance of the relation that thoughts bear to the highest interests of our being. It is thought that inspires affection, moulds character, guides the will, determines conduct, and rules man.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Jeremiah   43  44        Psalm   139

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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14.            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                         November 14, 2013               

Good Morning!
Let us use with up-rightness of spirit all the means within our power for the formation of right opinions, and welcome and follow the light that shines from heaven upon our way.

THE CONSEQUENCES OF INDECISION:
1 Kings 18:21b. “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him:”

It gets increasingly difficult to choose for the good as the years pass and we get older. Ecclesiastes 12:1. “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;” Evil Habits Grow In Strength As The Years Pass:

The simple sprig of ivy can be gathered by a child’s hand, but after the growth of years, though it is killing the tree, you cannot tear it off. A worldly man, who is now impervious to good, never meant to be what he is, but expected that, when the stress of making his status was over, he would have time and inclination to attend to affairs of the soul. Unnoticeably God seems to have “Given him over to a reprobate mind, because he did not like to retain God in his knowledge.” (Romans 1:28)

Joshua 24:15. “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; ...” Hebrews 3:15. “While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.”

So we see the urgency of the need for making the right decision- “How Long?” Elijah asks. “When will Israel be true and steadfast in her allegiance to her God and true King?” There will also come the loss of opportunity to choose. Even if it were easier to decide for God next year, it would be madness to delay.
Proverbs 27:1. “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” Jesus gives us a good example of a person who procrastinates in the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21).

Finally will come irreparable ruin and then judgment. If opportunity for God is lost, it will not be re-created after death. See how Jesus spake of Capernaum, of Chorazin, of Jerusalem, because they did not seize the opportunity while it was obtainable (Luke 10:13-15). Ecclesiastes 12:14. “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” In the face of such penalties press home the question on the undecided, “How Long?”

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Jeremiah   45  46

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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15.                     God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                               November 15, 2013               

Good Morning!
The conversion of Israel on that day was not an emotion, an experience, an ecstasy, but a change from Baal-worship to Jehovah-worship. It was a change from impurity and devilry, to righteousness; it was a turning “from idols to serve the living and true God.” Without this change of conduct there is no change at all.

ELIJAH ADDRESS TO THE PEOPLE:
1 Kings 18:22. “Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men. 23. Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: 24. And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.”

Elijah stood alone as the prophet of the Lord. If the prophets fed by Obadiah had come forth from their caves, they did not stand forth on Carmel in their official character. It also seems that the seven thousand which had not bowed their knees to Baal (1 Kings 19:18) were not willing, or were too fearful, to take a stand with him. One thing he knew that he alone was left to prophesy and to confront the whole hierarchy of false gods. Still addressing the people Elijah proposes a test to prove which was the true God.

They were wealthy, Elijah was poor. It is fitting that Elijah should choose a bullock as the sacrificial victim. The image of Baal was a bull. This animal was regarded by the ancients as the emblem of fire. We have the name of this god still preserved in our English bull. The test was to be fair and above board. Not only might the priest of Baal choose their bullock, cut it in pieces after their approved method, and lay it on the wood of their altar; but they must “put no fire under.”

This, Elijah emphasized because under some heathen altars holes were dug, in which fire, or in some cases boys, were concealed, that came through cracks between the stones and set the wood on fire to make simple people believe that the sacrifice was consumed by miraculous fire. This Elijah would not permit. 1 Kings 18:24. “And call ye on the name of your gods.” As Elijah is still addressing the people, not, as yet, the prophets of Baal and Asherah (v.25), this change of person is significant. He sorrowfully assumes that they have taken Baal and Asherah for their gods.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Jeremiah   47  48        Psalm   140

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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16.  17.           God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                  November 16 & 17, 2013               

Good Morning!
The people accepted Elijah’s proposition, but whether eagerly or reluctantly it is difficult to say. The Hebrew conveys that they admitted its fairness and reasonableness.

THE TEST OF FIRE:
1 Kings 18:24b. “and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken. 25a. And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal,”

It must have been by special divine directions that Elijah was moved thus to put the relative claims of God and of Baal to a public test. It appeared to give every advantage to the worshippers of Baal. Baal was the fire god, or lord of fire. His followers imagined that Baal was the fire, or body, of the sun, rather than it’s light. Elijah’s first object was to demonstrate, before this great convocation on Carmel, the absolute impotence and nothingness of their idol god. (“An idol is nothing in the world” (1 Corinthians 8:4). He had been proving for three and one half years that Baal and Asherah had no dominion over the weather.

And that they could not discharge that primary function of a god, that is to control nature and give his devotees rain from heaven and fruitful seasons (Leviticus 26:4; Deuteronomy 11:17; 1 Samuel 12:17-18; 1 Kings 8:36; Psalms 68:9; Jeremiah 2:23; Joel 2:23; Amos 4:7; Acts 14:17). Now Elijah offers to prove that Baal has no power over the fire.

It is to be observed that there is no mention of rain. We might have expected after the drought that this would be the test. But that could not be promised until the Lord had first been recognized as God. He will also prove that the Lord whom he serves can give both fire and rain.

Having gained the consent of the people, for whose verdict he and the prophets of Baal were now contending, and who were, consequently, entitled to be consulted as to the sign which would satisfy them, Elijah turns to the band of 850 prophets, who probably in all the bravery of their sacrificial vestments (2 Kings 10:22), occupied a separate position on the hill top, between the king and the people, and repeats his proposal to them.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Jeremiah   49  50            
Jeremiah   51  52       Psalm   141

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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18.            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                      November 18, 2013               

Good Morning!
The first choice was given to the priests of Baal. Every pre-eminence and advantage which Elijah gives them will make his triumph, when it comes, all the greater.

THE FAILURE OF THE PROPHETS:
1 Kings 18:26. “And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.”

The prophets of Baal and Asherah were obliged to proceed to the trial which ended in their humiliation and loss of face. Evidently they declined to choose a bullock so one was given them. “And they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us.” Their prayer began early. Everything seems to have been in readiness soon after daybreak; and soon afterwards the cry arose, “O Baal, hear us.” The worship of the true God should not be any less zealous.

Their prayer was persistent: They continued their supplications, “even until noon.” as the sun rose higher and higher their hopes rose with it. As it neared the zenith they felt it was now or never, and 850 voices in full chorus cried, "O Baal, hear us." Their god was contemptible: 1 Kings 18:26c. ... But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. For three and one half years their cry for rain had gone unanswered, and now, their cry for fire to come down and consume the sacrifice was also unanswered.

Baal Did Not Answer: Baal was destitute of the attributes they attributed to him. Paul summed this up when he called them “dumb idols” (1 Corinthians 12:2). How different is the true God! He Is A Spirit--Invisible—Omniscient—Omnipresent, Omnipotent—Holy—Just—Good. He claims, and should receive, the homage of all our faculties.

They began to “leap upon the altar.” This is the same word that is translated “halt,” in verse 21. It was a description of the reeling, swaying, bacchantic dance of the priests of Baal and Asherah. Also a description of the “halting” opinions of the people. Jumping from one side to the other, Make up your mind to serve the Lord.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Lamentations   1  2

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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19.                   God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                          November 19, 2013               

Good Morning!
Elijah was silent from sunrise till noon and when the experiment had a fair trial he rallied the idolaters with a ridicule that was full of exclamations, and arguments of why Baal was not answering them.

ELIJAH MOCKED THEM:
1 Kings 18:27. “And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.”

“He is a god;” in your estimation, so, “cry loud:” and long, to get his attention, was Elijah’s mockery of them. Here is one of the few examples of irony in the scriptures. “Maybe he is talking, ...” “He (your god) is so thrilled with the sound of his own voice and with the voices of his associates in the shrine that he cannot hear the ordinary voices of mortals.” This same word is also translated, “meditating.” “Or else he is in a deep study,” “therefore cry aloud.”

1 Kings 18:27c “..., or he is pursuing, ...” “Or, he is so engaged with some other matter that he cannot hear, or does not have time for, your feeble voices.”
1 Kings 18:27d. “…, or he is in a journey.” “Maybe he’s on a trip.” “Or he is so far away that your prayer will be useless unless you can cry aloud.”
1 Kings 18:27. “…, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.” “Maybe he’s daydreaming.” “Maybe he is taking his midday siesta, therefore, you must raise a clamor about his ears to arouse him, or you pray in vain.” Elijah’s derision raised the clamor of the prophets of Baal and Asherah to a fever pitch.

1 Kings 18:28. “And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.” Although they were under the watchful eyes of their king and patron, and of the entire body of people, yet it is still impossible to doubt their sincerity. “They cried aloud.” Eight hundred and fifty voices in full chorus cried, “O Baal, hear us! And cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.” They urged their entreaties with frantic gestures and mingled their own blood with their sacrifice.

Idolatry is essentially cruel, and this contrasts strongly with the service of Jehovah, who declared through Moses that his servants should not mutilate their bodies (Leviticus 19:28; Deuteronomy 14:1-2).

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Lamentations   3  4         Psalm   142

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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20.            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                    November 20, 2013               

Good Morning!
In vain the priests of Baal cry and leap, and cut themselves in their savage rites; and there came no answering voice from their deaf and dumb idol.”

BAAL DID NOT ANSWER:
1 Kings 18:29. “And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.
30. And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.”

Elijah allowed them all the time he could, considering the great work he had himself to do, which would absorb all the rest of the day. They continued their frenzied cries; they pursued their calling, “they cried and prayed, until the time of the evening sacrifice.” The time of the evening sacrifice was offered at the ninth hour, or three p.m. The scripture is emphatic concerning the futility of their cries. “And there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.” “But No Voice Came, No One Answered, No One Paid Any Attention.”

When evening set in they gave up the contest in despair. There is an evening in which all contests with Jehovah shall so terminate (Matthew 25:31-32). Elijah left the priests of Baal prophesying in despair. Satan, if permitted, could have brought fire down (Job 1:12; Revelation 13:13); but God restrained him. The Septuagint (LXX) has a curious variation and addition here: “and Elijah the Tishbite said to the prophets of idols, stand back; I will now make ready my offering.”

He was done with the priests. They have had their opportunity; his turn has come. The people had gathered around the altar of Baal, and some, no doubt, had joined their prayers with those of the priests Verse 24a. Now they must stand around the altar he is about to build. He will have eye-witnesses and ear-witnesses. There must be no suspicion of imposture. The people were now convinced that Baal was not able to hear his priests; so they drew around Elijah, and observed the order in which he proceeded with his preparation.

There are still preparations that one must make when they come to worship the Lord. The scripture says to “Come boldly to the throne of grace.” But that does not mean to just stride into His presence, we must come humbly, and worshipfully to receive His blessings.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Lamentations   5           Ezekiel   1

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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21.               God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                          November 21, 2013               

Good Morning!
Elijah’s repairing the Altar was an act of profound significance. Elijah would not use the altar used by the priests of Baal. The service of Jehovah must be pure. It must not be contaminated by the remotest connection with idolatrous abominations.

REPAIRING THE ALTAR OF THE LORD:
1 Kings 18:30b. “And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.
31. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name:
32. And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.”

Then there had been an altar of the Lord on Carmel. This altar may have dated from a time when there was no house built unto the name of the Lord. Some great man, as Abraham, or Samuel, had built an altar there, and its relics remained as a memorial of the piety of earlier times. It is likely that it had been restored by some of the “seven thousand who had not bowed their knees to Baal” (1 Kings 19:18), or by the one hundred who had been fed by Obadiah. We can hardly be mistaken in saying that this was one of the “altars thrown down” by Ahab or Jezebel’s orders.

“And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob.” This was done to show that, though ten of the tribes had separated from the house of David, still, in worship, there should be no division, but unity. Through out the Old Testament twelve stones represented the unity of the children of Israel. Likewise Joshua commanded that twelve stones be taken from the Jordan River and be set up as a memorial to their entrance into Canaan (Joshua 4:9, 20).

As the minister of Jehovah, Elijah took the twelve stones he had salvaged from the former altar, and rebuilt it in the name of, and by the authority of, and for the glory of, Jehovah, and dedicated it to his service. Let us note the meticulous care with which Elijah went about building an altar and the detail, as to the wood, and the preparation of the sacrifice.

1 Kings 18:32b. “…: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.” Various interpretations have been given as to how large the trench was, so, we will just say he dug a big trench around it. The people, along with Ahab and the prophets of Baal, must have wondered, “why the trench?”

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Ezekiel   2  3        Psalm   143

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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22.            God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                        November 22, 2013               

Good Morning!

And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.

WATER ON THE SACRIFICE:
1 Kings 18:33.“ And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. 34. And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time. 35. And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.”

To the astonishment of all the spectators, Elijah ordered that four barrels of water be poured on the sacrifice. Did he not know that water was the most precious commodity in the land? Did he not realize that the drought had dried up rivers and lakes and streams and wells, to the point where gold and silver could not purchase water? And here is Elijah asking that four barrels of this precious substance be poured on the altar of sacrifice.

Two questions arise. How big were the barrels? Where did the water come from? The Hebrew word (kad) has been translated “pitcher” fourteen times and “barrel” four times, so it seems that it was a large portable jar carried on the shoulder, mostly by the women, which held about 3½ gallons (Genesis 24:16). The water could very well have been brought from the Mediterranean Sea which was on the western side of Carmel.

Greater astonishment must have come, when, after great effort and sacrifice, of bringing the first four barrels of water and pouring them on the altar, Elijah commanded them to do it a second time and a third time. It seems to indicate that after twelve barrels of water had soaked the sacrifice, and the altar, and the wood, Elijah himself filled the trench around the altar.

The object of the repeated drenching of the sacrifice, and the altar, was to preclude all suspicion of fraud. Idolatrous priests were accustomed to set fire to the sacrifice from a hollow place concealed beneath the altar and this practice was well known in Elijah’s day. Sometimes a man or boy was hidden under the altar for this purpose and many of these died of suffocation in the ensuing fire. Elijah intended, by the people watching him lay the stones, and the great quantity of water, which gave everything a profuse soaking, to avoid all suspicion of fraud.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Ezekiel   4  5

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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23.  24.                  God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                    November 23 & 24, 2013               

Good Morning!
All preparations by Elijah are complete. It is the time for Jehovah to put an end to the contest. There is an evening coming in which all contests with Jehovah shall so terminate.

ELIJAH’ PRAYER, HIS IRRESISTIBLE WEAPON:
1 Kings 18:36. “And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD (Jehovah) God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.”

The evening sacrifice was probably offered then, as it certainly was at a latter day, at the ninth hour (3 p.m.), which became the hour of prayer in New Testament times (Acts 3:1), This was also the hour that Jesus died on the cross (Mark 15:34). When Elijah completed his preparations for offering his sacrifice, the prophets of Baal stopped their ranting and raving and gathered to watch, hoping that the servant of Jehovah likewise would fail. And, should Elijah fail, then would they fall upon him and destroy him. No doubt such thoughts flashed through their minds; but the moment has arrived; the preparations are complete.

Not only does the sacred name stand at the head of his prayer, it is mentioned three times. He wanted the people to know to whom he was calling upon. Two Things Are To Be Noticed Here. First, That this formula had only once before been used, and that by God himself, before the giving of the law, at the burning bush (Exodus 3:6 & 15). It was when God revealed himself in flaming fire, that he had proclaimed himself the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Secondly, That the variation “Israel,” in place of Jacob (ver.31), not only to proclaim the Lord as the “God of Israel,” but also to suggest that the name and privileges of Israel belong to all the sons of Jacob.

This is a lesson for all of us when we have a petition; let us direct it to the one and only name that represents all of heaven, the name of Jesus. He told us that if we ask anything in His name it will be given unto us (John 14:13-14). There is great power in the name of Jesus, in fact He tells us that, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18). It is a name above every name (Philippians 2:9).

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Ezekiel   6  7               Psalm   145
Ezekiel   8  9

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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25.             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                       November 25, 2013               

Good Morning!
“Prove Yourself To This People.” “Prove Me By Thy Glory.” “Prove that everything was done according to thy word. The drought, the ensuing famine, the contest with Baal, and the miracles you are going to perform today, prove it by sending fire and rain,” was Elijah’s prayer.

PROVING THAT THERE IS A GOD:
1 Kings 18:36b. “Let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. 37. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. 38. Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.”

The prayer reminds God of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It sues for mercy to the penitent. “And that thou hast turned their heart back again.” Elijah speaks with such faith as if God had already answered with fire and the people had already believed and repented. The blessings of the covenant are predicated, or conditioned, upon faith and repentance. Without Repentance There Is No True Faith.

How few are the words of this prayer (63)! No vain repetitions. How wide the contrast with the clamor of Baal’s priests! “Then the fire of the LORD fell, ...” Not lightning, as some would have us believe, but supernatural flames and heat emanating from God himself. Less than a century before, at the close of Solomon’s prayer of dedication, the same fire had fallen on the sacrifice, and had been kept burning in the temple by the priests (2 Chronicles7:1).

There Was No Mistake About It. It was indeed the fire of Jehovah, miraculous fire, for it worked downward, contrary to the ordinary operation of fire, which works upwards. So hot that the very stones and dust were vaporized (2 Peter 3:12). They were vitrified, volatilized, dissolved … The destruction of the altar pointed to the will of God that patriarchal high places should be removed, and that all Israel should henceforth worship at the Levitical altar of the temple at Jerusalem. This is the last instance on record in which God accepted a sacrifice on a Patriarchal altar.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Ezekiel   10  11        Psalm   145

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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26.              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                       November 26, 2013               

Good Morning!
Elijah acted immediately upon the false prophets. The people had not fully recovered from their terror and awe before he proceeds with judgment.

THE END FOR THOSE FALSE PROPHETS:
1 Kings 18:38c. “And licked up the water that was in the trench. 39. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God. 40. And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.” 

“Licked” is clearly onomatopoetic (imitating the sound), like our lick. It expresses well the action of tongues of flame licking up the water. This well represents the decent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost when, "There appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them." (Acts 2:3) The demonstration was irresistible. The people were filled with wonder and amazement.

The total consumption of the sacrifice, along with the stones of which the altar was constructed, the dirt which was packed between the stones, and the water, which is the natural enemy of fire, was so overwhelming, and convincing, that the people fell on their faces in reverence of Jehovah. They recognized in the fire the token of the divine presence, and they gave to God the ultimate homage, as was so often demonstrated in the Bible by those convinced of his magnificence.

Here was an act of reverence toward God; it was also the sign of their renunciation of Baal. This prostration before the Lord was accompanied by a confession in words, “the Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God.” The Apostle Paul reiterates the importance of confession in our salvation. Romans 10:9. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Many times the judgment and retribution of God is swift, consider Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24-25), also King Herod. (Acts 12:21-23) Hebrews 10:31. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. It is necessary for those who challenge Elijah’s conduct in this respect, who call him bloody, vindictive, & etc., to settle their account with the law which he obeyed. And, indeed, with Him who has approved this deed, and has forewarned us that he too will act in like manner.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Ezekiel   12  13

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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27.             God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                        November 27, 2013               

Good Morning!
We will study Elijah as he prays for rain on top of Mount Carmel. We will observe his posture before God, and his unending intercession until the rains came.

ELIJAH’S PREMONITION OF RAIN:
1 Kings 18:41. “And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. 42. So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, ..”

This clearly indicates that the king had gone down with the crowd to the Kishon. Then Elijah turned to Ahab (this is the first time he had spoken to him since he first met him after his return to Israel ver. 18, 19) and said “Get thee up, eat and drink;” It is probable that the excitement of the whole ordeal was so intense that the king had not tasted food all day long. Elijah now bids him eat if he can, after what he has witnessed. It is probable that the attendants of the king had spread a tent for him upon the plateau, and had brought food for the day along with them.

The next phrase gives the reason why he should eat and drink. “For there is a sound of abundance of rain.” I feel that Elijah could already hear the sound of the deluge of rain, but if so, it was only in the spirit. Elijah speaks of signs and allusion understood only by himself. The sound comes before the rain. It is heard in the branches of trees, and in the waves of seas and lakes. There is a certain feeling and refreshing smell in the air. Rain was indeed coming but it would come after much intercession by Elijah.

Revivals Have Their Premonitions: So is a coming revival discerned in the church by emotion when the word goes forth. There is greater interest in religious services both public and private. Prayers are more fervent and there is increased evangelistic activity. This is first heard by the spiritual. Elijah was the first to hear the sound of the coming rain even though there was not a cloud in the sky. It begins in the high heavens before it reaches the earth. Those who are in much prayer have sensitive ears to hear “afar off” (Mark 8:18). Let us pray for an outpouring of the Spirit of God in revival for our Church.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Ezekiel   14  15        Psalm   146

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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28.                  God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                         November 28, 2013                

Good Morning!
The man who stands nearest to God is the lowliest of all God’s worshippers.

WE NOTICE ELIJAH’S POSTURE IN PRAYER:
1 Kings 18:42. “So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees,”

Elijah climbed high on Carmel and “cast himself down upon the earth.” He prostrated himself full length with his face to the earth, as many easterners still do in prayer. The posture witnessed to the intensity of his supplication. Three and one half years before this he had prayed intently, earnestly, effectually, and fervently (James 5:16-18), that God would withhold the rain. The same kind of fervency would be required to open the heavens once again.

I once noticed a young girl, in the midst of hundreds of other people who were shouting and dancing and running across the front of the church, but she was on the floor with her face buried in the carpet crying and weeping before God because of some burden on her heart. I mentioned to our Pastor that she was closer to God  than all those who were running and shouting. God has told us that he takes note of the lowly in spirit. Like the publican who came and would not so much as lift up his head but asked God to have mercy upon him (Luke 18:13).

It is with the prophet himself we need to chiefly concentrate our thoughts on. We want to especially take notice of how he conducts himself in the presence of God. He had met Ahab in the valley of Jezreel with fierceness and fire. He had met the deluded and sinful nation with manly and honest rebuke. He had confronted the priests of Baal and Asherah with ironical scorn. But now when he meets God, he “casts himself down upon the earth, his face between his knees.”

We are arrested by the prophet’s humility—the oak is now a bulrush, the lion has become a lamb. We are arrested by his simple-minded obedience to duty; for although conscious that the blessing (rain) is coming, God had promised that He would send rain (1 Kings 18:1; & 41), he yet makes it the subject of prayer. This is a lesson to every believer that God’s promises can never do away with God’s commands. So, holding true to the course which was set before him, he retires to that solitary cleft, and in the attitude of entire submission to God, pleads for rain.

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Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Ezekiel   16  17

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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29.           God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts                     November 29, 2013               

Good Morning!
There are three different scenes on Carmel now to meet our view. First there is Ahab, on the lowest ridge, amid the lingering glow of an eastern sunset, preparing to leave for Jezreel. The thousands of Israel are returning to their homes. Next there is Elijah on the middle ridge in earnest supplication. Last, on the highest ridge, straining his eyes out over the sea, there is the prophet’s attendant.

AN OBEDIENT SERVANT:
1 Kings 18:43. “And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times.”

This is the first mention of a servant. There is an old tradition that this was none other than the son of the widow of Zarephath, and another old tradition says that he was later the prophet Jonah, but this last tradition is probably not correct because Jonah came 50 years later than this. Yet he was probably the one who wrote, or told, about the events of the day because the vivid descriptions could only have been given by an eye witness. While Elijah interceded he sent this servant up to the peak of Carmel with instructions to look for signs of the coming blessing; look out over the sea, which is the most likely direction from which rain would come. After prayer, let us look, with expectation, in the most likely direction, or place, that the answer may appear.

We are reminded of the words Elijah spoke to Ahab in their first meeting (1 Kings 17:1), “As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand.” The servant stood before God’s prophet ready at any and all times to do his every bidding. And when Elijah began his prayer meeting he said to the servant, “Go up now, and look towards the sea.” The servant immediately began the climb to the very top of Carmel. He looked and saw nothing, and came back “and said, “There is nothing.” Elijah sent him again and again, he made the climb again and again, he came back with the answer, “There is nothing.”

When we see the faithfulness and patience shown by the servant in executing this order without a mummer it implies a devotedness of no common kind. This also implies that he was a youth because of the extreme exertion required for this many climbs up and down the path to the top of Carmel. And on the other hand the drought had lasted for three and one half years and that day the servant had seen the fires of God descend at Elijah’s prayer. It is inconceivable, under such circumstances, that any man could mummer.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Ezekiel   18  19         Psalm 147

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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30.              God’s Grazingfield Daily Devotion

Today’s First Thoughts         November 30, & December 1, 2013                

Good Morning!
Elijah was not discouraged even by the sixth repetition of the despairing phrase, “there is nothing.”

1 Kings 18:43b. “And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times.”

Yet on that very day his one earnest cry had instantaneously brought down fire from heaven. And even after so many, “There is nothing,” Elijah continued his earnest supplication to God with prayers like Daniel. (Daniel 9:3-6, 9, 11, 17, 20, 21) I feel, as Daniel, and Moses (Exodus 32:30, 31; 34:9) did, Elijah made confessions and supplication, for pardon and forgiveness, both for himself and for Israel, and not so much for rain. The rain, when it comes, would be the sign that God had heard his supplication for pardon and forgiveness.

Someone has said that there are not many people who really and truly pray half a dozen times in their lives. We offer up formal and lukewarm petitions, and marvel that we receive no answer. Prayer must be earnest. Jesus leaves us an example of earnest prayer. Luke 22:44. “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” It is not that God is hard to persuade; it is that He will have us mean what we say.

Go Again:” And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. ...” Six times the faithful servant had made his way to the top of Carmel only to come back with the same reply, “there is nothing.” The familiar path had begun to show signs of wear, but the climb and decent was no easier. The hour would have grown late, and the sun would have begun to get low out over the sea, as he made his way once again to the top of Carmel for another look.

A Little Cloud:” This seventh time there was a slight change in the horizon. Just below the setting sun there was a small dark shape, lying on the water, away off in the distance, and making his way back to the prostrate Elijah, he told him what he had seen. It was the first cloud to be seen in three years and a half. Sometimes the answer to prayer may begin in what seems trifling—the fever broke, someone you long prayed for agrees to come to church, etc. As slight and insignificant as it may seem, gratefully welcome it, and still hope, and wait, and pray.

Read-Thru-The-Bible
Click the links below to read today's Bible verses online:
Ezekiel  
20  21         
Ezekiel   22  23  24

James & Mary Lee Thornton
www.Godsgrazingfield.net

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