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Thoughts and Reflection

In today’s reading, we are introduced to Elijah and Ahab. Elijah hears the word of the Lord and obeys. Elijah fidelity sets him apart and offers an example for others to be faithful. He helps the widow of Zarphath, by providing food for her and her son. He is inviting her to faithfulness. Elijah asks the people of Israel how long they will waver between belonging to Baal and the Lord. He get’s no response and sets up a showdown between the profits of Baal and the prophet of God. Jehoshaphat is a good king but he makes a treaty with Ahab the evil king of Israel. Jehu tells the king that he is wrong.

We should pray to be more faithful to God each day.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

1 Kings 17

1 Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘By the life of Yahweh, God of Israel, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain these coming years unless I give the word.’

2 The word of Yahweh came to him,

3 ‘Go away from here, go east and hide by the torrent of Cherith, east of the Jordan.

4 You can drink from the stream, and I have ordered the ravens to bring you food there.’

5 So he set out and did as Yahweh had said; he went and stayed by the torrent of Cherith, east of the Jordan.

6 The ravens brought him bread in the morning and meat in the evening, and he quenched his thirst at the stream.

7 But after a while the stream dried up, for the country had had no rain.

8 And then the word of Yahweh came to him,

9 ‘Up and go to Zarephath in Sidonia, and stay there. I have ordered a widow there to give you food.’

10 So he went off to Sidon. And when he reached the city gate, there was a widow gathering sticks. Addressing her he said, ‘Please bring a little water in a pitcher for me to drink.’

11 She was on her way to fetch it when he called after her. ‘Please’, he said, ‘bring me a scrap of bread in your hand.’

12 ‘As Yahweh your God lives,’ she replied, ‘I have no baked bread, but only a handful of meal in a jar and a little oil in a jug; I am just gathering a stick or two to go and prepare this for myself and my son to eat, and then we shall die.’

13 But Elijah said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, go and do as you have said; but first make a little scone of it for me and bring it to me, and then make some for yourself and for your son.

14 For Yahweh, God of Israel, says this: Jar of meal shall not be spent, jug of oil shall not be emptied, before the day when Yahwehsends rain on the face of the earth.’

15 The woman went and did as Elijah told her and they ate the food, she, himself and her son.

16 The jar of meal was not spent nor the jug of oil emptied, just as Yahweh had foretold through Elijah.

17 It happened after this that the son of the mistress of the house fell sick; his illness was so severe that in the end he expired.

18 And the woman said to Elijah, ‘What quarrel have you with me, man of God? Have you come here to bring my sins home to me and to kill my son?’

19 ‘Give me your son,’ he said and, taking him from her lap, he carried him to the upper room where he was staying and laid him on his bed.

20 He cried out to Yahweh, ‘Yahweh my God, by killing her son do you mean to bring grief even to the widow who is looking after me?’

21 He stretched himself on the child three times and cried out to Yahweh, ‘Yahweh my God, may the soul of this child, I beg you, come into him again!’

22 Yahweh heard Elijah’s prayer and the child’s soul came back into his body and he revived.

23 Elijah took the child, brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. ‘Look,’ Elijah said, ‘your son is alive.’

24 And the woman replied, ‘Now I know you are a man of God and the word of Yahweh in your mouth is truth itself.’

1 Kings 18

1 A long time went by, and the word of Yahweh came to Elijah in the third year, ‘Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the country.’

2 So Elijah set off to present himself to Ahab. As the famine was particularly severe in Samaria,

3 Ahab summoned Obadiah, the master of the palace — Obadiah held Yahweh in great reverence:

4 when Jezebel was butchering the prophets of Yahweh, Obadiah took a hundred of them and hid them, fifty at a time, in a cave, and kept them provided with food and water-

5 and Ahab said to Obadiah, ‘Come along, we must scour the country, all the springs and all the ravines in the hope of finding grass to keep horses and mules alive, or we shall have to slaughter some of our stock.’

6 They divided the country for the purpose of their survey; Ahab went one way by himself and Obadiah went another way by himself.

7 While Obadiah was on his way, whom should he meet but Elijah. Recognising him he fell on his face and said, ‘So it is you, my lordElijah!’

8 ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘go and tell your master, “Elijah is here.” ‘

9 But Obadiah said, ‘What sin I have committed, for you to put your servant into Ahab’s power and cause my death?

10 As Yahweh your God lives, there is no nation or kingdom where my master has not sent in search of you; and when they said, “He is not there,” he made the kingdom or nation swear an oath that they did not know where you were.

11 And now you say to me, “Go and tell your master: Elijah is here.”

12 But as soon as I leave you, the spirit of Yahweh will carry you away and I shall not know where; I shall go and tell Ahab; he will not be able to find you, and then he will kill me. Yet from his youth your servant has revered Yahweh.

13 Has no one told my lord what I did when Jezebel butchered the prophets of Yahweh, how I hid a hundred of them in a cave, fifty at a time, and kept them provided with food and water?

14 And now you say to me, “Go and tell your master: Elijah is here.” Why, he will kill me!’

15 Elijah replied, ‘As Yahweh Sabaoth lives, whom I serve, I shall present myself to him today!’

16 Obadiah went to find Ahab and tell him the news, and Ahab then went to find Elijah.

17 When he saw Elijah, Ahab said, ‘So there you are, you scourge of Israel!’

18 ‘Not I,’ he replied, ‘I am not the scourge of Israel, you and your family are; because you have deserted Yahweh and followed Baal.

19 Now give orders for all Israel to gather round me on Mount Carmel, and also the four hundred prophets of Baal who eat at Jezebel’s table.’

20 Ahab called all Israel together and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel.

21 Elijah stepped out in front of all the people. ‘How long’, he said, ‘do you mean to hobble first on one leg then on the other? If Yahwehis God, follow him; if Baal, follow him.’ But the people had nothing to say.

22 Elijah then said to them, ‘I, I alone, am left as a prophet of Yahweh, while the prophets of Baal are four hundred and fifty.

23 Let two bulls be given us; let them choose one for themselves, dismember it but not set fire to it. I in my turn shall prepare the other bull, but not set fire to it.

24 You must call on the name of your god, and I shall call on the name of Yahweh; the god who answers with fire, is God indeed.’ The people all answered, ‘Agreed!’

25 Elijah then said to the prophets of Baal, ‘Choose one bull and begin, for there are more of you. Call on the name of your god but light no fire.’

26 They took the bull and prepared it, and from morning to midday they called on the name of Baal. ‘O Baal, answer us!’ they cried, but there was no voice, no answer, as they performed their hobbling dance round the altar which they had made.

27 Midday came, and Elijah mocked them. ‘Call louder,’ he said, ‘for he is a god: he is preoccupied or he is busy, or he has gone on a journey; perhaps he is asleep and needs to be woken up!’

28 So they shouted louder and gashed themselves, as their custom was, with swords and spears until the blood flowed down them.

29 Midday passed, and they ranted on until the time when the offering is presented; but there was no voice, no answer, no sign of attention.

30 Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come over to me,’ and all the people came over to him. He repaired Yahweh’s altar which had been torn down.

31 Elijah took twelve stones, corresponding to the number of tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of Yahweh had come, ‘Israel is to be your name,’

32 and built an altar in the name of Yahweh. Round the altar he dug a trench of a size to hold two measures of seed.

33 He then arranged the wood, dismembered the bull, and laid it on the wood.

34 Then he said, ‘Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.’ They did this. He said, ‘Do it a second time;’ they did it a second time. He said, ‘Do it a third time;’ they did it a third time.

35 The water flowed round the altar until even the trench itself was full of water.

36 At the time when the offering is presented, Elijah the prophet stepped forward. ‘Yahweh, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel,’ he said, ‘let them know today that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, that I have done all these things at your command.

37 Answer me, Yahweh, answer me, so that this people may know that you, Yahweh, are God and are winning back their hearts.’

38 Then Yahweh’s fire fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and licked up the water in the trench.

39 When all the people saw this they fell on their faces. ‘Yahweh is God,’ they cried, ‘Yahweh is God!’

40 Elijah said, ‘Seize the prophets of Baal: do not let one of them escape.’ They seized them, and Elijah took them down to the Kishon, and there he slaughtered them.

41 Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go back now, eat and drink; for I hear the approaching sound of rain.’

42 While Ahab went back to eat and drink, Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel and bowed down to the ground, putting his face between his knees.

43 ‘Now go up’, he told his servant, ‘and look out to sea.’ He went up and looked. ‘There is nothing at all,’ he said. Seven times Elijahtold him to go back.

44 The seventh time, the servant said, ‘Now there is a cloud, small as a man’s hand, rising from the sea.’ Elijah said, ‘Go and say to Ahab, “Harness the chariot and go down before the rain stops you.” ‘

45 And with that the sky grew dark with cloud and storm, and rain fell in torrents. Ahab mounted his chariot and made for Jezreel.

46 But the hand of Yahweh had come on Elijah and, hitching up his clothes, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

2 Chronicles 18

1 Although Jehoshaphat enjoyed great wealth and honour, he allied himself by marriage to Ahab.

2 After some years he paid a visit to Ahab in Samaria. Ahab slaughtered an immense number of sheep and oxen for him and his retinue, to induce him to attack Ramoth-Gilead.

3 Ahab king of Israel then said to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, ‘Will you come with me to Ramoth-Gilead?’ He replied, ‘I will share in battle with you, my men with yours.’

4 Jehoshaphat, however, said to the king of Israel, ‘First, please consult the word of Yahweh.’

5 So the king of Israel called the prophets together, four hundred of them. ‘Should we go and attack Ramoth-Gilead,’ he asked, ‘or should I hold back?’ ‘March,’ they replied, ‘for God will deliver it into the king’s power.’

6 Jehoshaphat, however, said, ‘Is there no other prophet of Yahweh here, for us to consult?’

7 The king of Israel answered Jehoshaphat, ‘There is one more man through whom we can consult Yahweh, but I hate him because he never has a favourable prophecy for me, always unfavourable ones; he is Micaiah son of Imlah.’ ‘The king should not say such things,’ said Jehoshaphat. 

8 The king of Israel then summoned a court official and said, ‘Bring Micaiah son of Imlah immediately.’

9 The king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah were sitting each on his throne, wearing their robes; in an open space just outside the gate of Samaria, with all the prophets prophesying before them,

10 Zedekiah son of Chenaanah, who had made himself some iron horns, said, ‘Yahweh says, “With horns like these, you will gore the Aramaeans till you make an end of them.” ‘

11 And all the prophets prophesied in the same vein, saying, ‘March on Ramoth-Gilead! Success is sure, for Yahweh has already given it to the king!’

12 The messenger who had gone to summon Micaiah said to him, ‘Look! What the prophets are saying is uniformly favourable to the king. So I hope you will say the same as they do and speak favourably.’

13 Micaiah said, ‘As Yahweh lives, I shall speak exactly as Yahweh tells me!’

14 When he came to the king, the king said, ‘Micaiah, should we march to attack Ramoth-Gilead, or should I hold back?’ He replied, ‘Go and conquer, Yahweh will deliver them into your power!’

15 The king went on, ‘How often must I put you on oath to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of Yahweh?’

16 Then he spoke out. I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains like sheep without a shepherd. And Yahweh said, ‘These have no master, let them all go peacefully home!’

17 At this the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Did I not tell you that he never gives me favourable prophecies, but only unfavourable ones?’

18 Micaiah went on, ‘Now listen to the word of Yahweh. I saw Yahweh seated on his throne with the whole array of heaven standing on his right and on his left.

19 Yahweh said, “Who will entice Ahab king of Israel into marching to his death at Ramoth-Gilead?” At which some answered one way, and some another.

20 A spirit then came forward and stood before Yahweh and said, “I will entice him.” “How?” Yahweh asked.

21 He replied, “I shall go and be a deceptive spirit in the mouths of all his prophets.” Yahweh said, “You will succeed in enticing him. Go and do it.”

22 And now, you see, Yahweh has put a deceptive spirit into the mouths of your prophets here, for in fact Yahweh has pronounced disaster on you.’

23 Zedekiah son of Chenaanah then came up, struck Micaiah on the cheek and said, ‘Which way did Yahweh’s spirit leave me, to speak to you?’

24 ‘That is what you will find out,’ Micaiah retorted, ‘the day you go from room to room, trying to hide.’

25 The king of Israel said, ‘Seize Micaiah and hand him over to Amon governor of the city, and Joash the king’s son,

26 and say, “These are the king’s orders: Put this man in prison and feed him on nothing but bread and water until I am safely home.” ‘

27 Micaiah said, ‘If you ever do get home safely, Yahweh has not spoken through me.’

28 The king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah marched on Ramoth-Gilead.

29 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘I shall disguise myself to go into battle, but you put on your robes.’ So the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into battle.

30 Now, the king of Aram had given his chariot commanders the following order, ‘Do not attack anyone of whatever rank, except the king of Israel.’

31 So, when the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they thought, ‘That is the king of Israel,’ and surrounded him to attack. But when Jehoshaphat shouted his war cry, Yahweh came to his help, God drew them away from him,

32 for the chariot commanders, realising that he was not the king of Israel, broke off their pursuit.

33 Someone, however, drawing his bow without any special aim, shot the king of Israel between the joints of his armour. ‘Turn about!’ he said to his charioteer. ‘Get me out of the fighting; I am collapsing.’

34 But the battle grew fiercer as the day went on, and the king of Israel had to be held upright in his chariot facing the Aramaeans until the evening, and at sunset he died.

2 Chronicles 19

1 Jehoshaphat king of Judah returned home safely, however, to Jerusalem.

2 Jehu son of Hanani the seer went to meet him and said to King Jehoshaphat, ‘Should a man give help to the wicked? Should you love those who hate Yahweh and so bring his retribution on yourself?

3 All the same, there are good things to your credit, since you have removed the sacred poles from the country and have set your heart on seeking God.’

4 Jehoshaphat resided in Jerusalem but regularly went on progress among the people, from Beersheba to the highlands of Ephraim, to convert them to Yahweh, God of their ancestors.

5 He also appointed judges in the country in every one of the fortified towns of Judah,

6 saying to the judges, ‘Be careful what you do, since you are judging not by any human power but in the name of Yahweh, who will be with you when you pronounce sentence.

7 This being so, let fear of Yahweh govern you; be careful what you do, for Yahweh our God will not tolerate malpractice, partiality or the taking of bribes.’

8 Jehoshaphat also appointed some of the Levites, priests and heads of Israelite families in Jerusalem to settle disputes. They lived in Jerusalem

9 and Jehoshaphat gave them the following charge: ‘In fear of Yahweh and with conscientious integrity, this is how you are to act:

10 whatever case your brothers living in other towns refer to you, whether involving blood feuds or law and commandment, statutes and judgements, you are to instruct them in such manner that they do not incur guilt before Yahweh and that you and your brothers do not incur his anger. If you act thus, you will not incur guilt.

11 Amariah the chief priest himself will be your president in all religious cases, and Zebadiah son of Ishmael, leader of the House of Judah, in all civil ones, while the Levites will act as officers of the court. Be firm, put this into practice and may Yahweh protect the right!’

Song of Solomon 5

1 LOVER: I come into my garden, my sister, my promised bride, I pick my myrrh and balsam, I eat my honey and my honeycomb, I drink my wine and my milk. POET: Eat, friends, and drink, drink deep, my dearest friends.

2 BELOVED: I sleep, but my heart is awake. I hear my love knocking. ‘Open to me, my sister, my beloved, my dove, my perfect one, for my head is wet with dew, my hair with the drops of night.’

3 -‘I have taken off my tunic, am I to put it on again? I have washed my feet, am I to dirty them again?’

4 My love thrust his hand through the hole in the door; I trembled to the core of my being.

5 Then I got up to open to my love, myrrh ran off my hands, pure myrrh off my fingers, on to the handle of the bolt.

6 I opened to my love, but he had turned and gone. My soul failed at his flight, I sought but could not find him, I called, but he did not answer.

7 The watchmen met me, those who go on their rounds in the city. They beat me, they wounded me, they took my cloak away from me: those guardians of the ramparts!

8 I charge you, daughters of Jerusalem, if you should find my love, what are you to tell him? -That I am sick with love!

9 CHORUS: What makes your lover better than other lovers, O loveliest of women? What makes your lover better than other lovers, to put us under such an oath?

10 BELOVED: My love is fresh and ruddy, to be known among ten thousand.

11 His head is golden, purest gold, his locks are palm fronds and black as the raven.

12 His eyes are like doves beside the water-courses, bathing themselves in milk, perching on a fountain-rim.

13 His cheeks are beds of spices, banks sweetly scented. His lips are lilies, distilling pure myrrh.

14 His hands are golden, rounded, set with jewels of Tarshish. His belly a block of ivory covered with sapphires.

15 His legs are alabaster columns set in sockets of pure gold. His appearance is that of Lebanon, unrivalled as the cedars.

16 His conversation is sweetness itself, he is altogether lovable. Such is my love, such is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

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