January 31 | Bible in a Year: Exodus 23-24; Matthew 20:1-16
Wearing Our Courage
If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven.
2 Kings 1:10
READ 2 KINGS 1:9–15
Andrew lives in a country that’s closed to the gospel. When I asked how he keeps his faith a secret, he said he doesn’t. He wears a button that advertises his church, and whenever he’s arrested he tells the police that “they need Jesus too.” Andrew has courage because he knows who’s on his side.
Elijah refused to be intimidated, even when the king of Israel sent fifty soldiers to arrest him (2 Kings 1:9). The prophet knew God was with him, and he called down fire that consumed the platoon. The king sent more soldiers, and Elijah did it again (v. 12). The king sent more, but the third platoon had heard about the others. The captain begged Elijah to spare his soldiers’ lives. They were more afraid of him than he’d ever been of them, so the angel of the Lord told Elijah it was safe to go with them (vv. 13-15).
Jesus doesn’t want us to call down fire on our enemies. When the disciples asked if they could call down fire on a Samaritan village, Jesus rebuked them (Luke 9:51-55). We’re living in a different time. But Jesus does want us to have Elijah’s boldness—to be ready to tell everyone about the Savior who died for them. It may seem like one person taking on fifty, but it’s actually One on fifty. Jesus provides what we need to courageously love and reach out to others.
By Mike Wittmer
REFLECT & PRAY
Holy Spirit, thank You for living in me. Fill me with courage as I tell others about Jesus.
How does Jesus provide what you need to be courageous? What does God want you to know and do?
The prophet Elijah, whose name means “my God is Yahweh,” served during wicked King Ahab’s reign (around 875-850 BC) over the Northern Kingdom of Israel (1 Kings 16:29-33). Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, king of Sidon, influenced her husband to adopt a vile form of Baal worship, which included ritual prostitution. Baal was the Canaanite god of rain and fertility. During Elijah’s first three and a half years as a prophet, he served as God’s spokesman in an effort to bring the Israelites back to the one true God. His struggle culminated in a contest between him and 450 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel (18:16-40). Alyson Kieda