Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 19- Throw Downs

June 19, 2011

Scripture Readings:
I Kings 20:1-21:29; Acts 12:24-13:15;
Psalm 137:1-9; Proverbs 17:16

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. 
~Muhammad Ali

I Kings 20:1-21:29

Back in the day when Muhammad Ali was in his prime as a fighter, he was known for his verbal throw downs to his opponents.  Saying that he could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee was part of his bravado to psych out his opponent.  His trash talk would include rhymes and would either be broadcast on television or given to his opponents in person.  His unique fighting style and personal bravado made him a cultural icon.  Today, there are many throw downs given in our readings.

The first throw down is by King Ahab's enemy, King Ben-Hadad of Aram.  He sends a message to Ahab saying that your silver and gold are mine, as are your best wives and children.  Ahab does not retort and appears to give in to this demand to avoid a conflict.  Ben-Hadad ups the ante by saying he is going to take everything valuable from Ahab.  This is more than Ahab can agree to.

God sends a prophet to Ahab to let him know that the God of Israel is going to defeat his enemy in order to prove that He is the Lord and everyone will know it.  God does cause Ahab's army to defeat this enemy not only once, but twice on the battlefield.  Ben-hadad stops the trash talk after these defeats and begs for his life.  Ahab makes a treaty with him and sets him free! Needless to say, God is not pleased. He promises to kill Ahab in place of Ben-Hadad. Ahab is angry and sullen at this pronouncement.

Ahab continues to be angry and sullen when a man named Naboth will not sell him his vineyard.  Jezebel is disgusted with Ahab's weakness and plots and executes the murder of Naboth. She essentially gives a throw down to Ahab when she questions whether or not he is the king of Israel.  Naboth is stoned to death and Ahab and Jezebel take his vineyard.

Elijah comes back into the picture to pronounce God's judgment upon Ahab.  He declares that not one single male descendant of Ahab will survive.  This is God's throw down to Ahab. His family will be destroyed like Jeroboam's. His wife, Jezebel, will be eaten by dogs at the city wall and the members of his family who die will be eaten by dogs or vultures. Bam!

Ahab repents in sackcloth and mourning.  God decides to kill his descendants instead after Ahab's death. This change of heart comes about because of Ahab's repentant prayers. Can you believe God's mercy to this jerk?  Shocking.

What do we learn today?  God is willing to show Himself to evil Ahab.  He uses this evil king to show His power over the enemies of Israel. God is not stopped by rebellious people. We also learn that God is merciful.  He has infinite patience and long suffering kindness to His creation.  Ultimately, God is in control and the master of throw downs.

Acts 12:24-13:15

We are learning how God is spreading the good news about Jesus in the ancient world.  Today we see that the first official missionary journeys are prompted by the church in Antioch, Syria, as the leaders fast and pray worshiping God.  During the time of fasting and prayer, God, the Holy Spirit, tells them to dedicate Barnabas and Saul for a special work.  We see that this first missionary journey is God's idea. 

After having hands laid on them to commission them to represent the whole community at Antioch in their mission, Saul (now called Paul) and Barnabas set out. They go to the island of Cyprus.  Finally, in Paphos, they meet a Jewish sorcerer named Bar-Jesus.  This man tries to convince the governor not to believe the message of Christ. Paul blinds the man through a pronouncement from God and this miracle of judgment convinces the governor to follow Jesus.   This is a throw down from God on the influence of the Devil in this first missionary journey.

How has God thrown down the enemy/Satan in your life?  Can you recount God's strong arm defeating negative thoughts, healing the scars of abuse, or dissipating the discouragement of guilt caused by sin in your life?

Psalm 137:1-9

Here is an example of how to lament when things go wrong.

Proverbs 17:16

Don't waste funds trying to educate a fool in wisdom.  This is similar to don't cast your pearls before swine.

What did you notice today?  Please share.


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton
© 2011


  1. I found it amazing that God delivered the northern kingdom from its enemies even when they were in rebellion to Him. His mercy is huge.

  2. It sure is. His mercies are new every morning.