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Lectionary Guide

Readings for November 11, 2018

Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost, Series B, ESV

1 Kings 17:8-16, The Widow of Zarephath

During the period of this reading, Ahab was the king of Israel. Was Ahab a good king in the sight of the Lord? 1 Kings 16:29-33

Baal was considered the god of fertility and lord of the rain clouds. What punishment did God place upon Israel which had turned to idolatry? 1 Kings 17:1

After telling Ahab about God's punishment for worshipping Baal, what was Elijah instructed to do? 1 Kings 17:2-7

In verse 9, God commands Elijah to Arise, go to Zarephath … and dwell there. Zarephath was located in Phoenicia just north of the northern kingdom of Israel, in the heart of the very land from which the Baal worship, now being promoted in Israel, had come. Elijah is taking a huge risk by moving to Zarephath. Who would live there as one who worshipped Yahweh (God)? Who would hide him? You would think that everyone living there would want to turn him over to Ahab. And yet so far as we are told no one laid a hand on him while he was there. The safest place in the world was under Baal's nose. The safest place in the world was where God told you to be.

Although the widow is not an Israelite, Luke 4:25-26, she acknowledges God in verse 12, and obeys Elijah's commands and is blessed in verse 15. In essence, she had given her all and had fulfilled the demands of the covenant that Israel had broken.

Psalm 146

Psalm 146 is the first of five hallelujah psalms (hallelujah means "praise the Lord!") that conclude the book of Psalms. It is also an acrostic poem; each line begins with the next letter in the Hebrew alphabet.

son of man , verse 3. Son of Man was one of Jesus' favorite self-designations and in the New Testament indicates that though Jesus is fully man, He is much more. In Daniel 7:13-14, Daniel's "son of man" vision describes the commissioning of the Christ as our Lord and Savior. In this psalm, however, it refers to a human being, a descendant of Adam. Genesis 3:19; Psalm 118:8-9; Isaiah 2:22; Jeremiah 17:5-6

who keeps faith forever , verse 6. Psalm 100:5, 117:2

God has a special concern for those who are poor, helpless, and vulnerable, verses 7-9. He is their Father. Deuteronomy 10:17-19

In verse 7, The Lord sets the prisoners free. Cross references include: Psalm 66:5-12, 68:3-6, 105:16-22 and Isaiah 61:1.

bowed down , verse 8, weighed down by burdens of life. Psalm 147:6 See Deuteronomy 7:11-15 to read more about how the Lord loves the righteous.

Do not put your faith in human beings - in politicians, social elites, or individuals, none of whom can save and all of whom will die. Rather, put your trust in God. Your Lord is Christ, the Son of Man in whom there is salvation, who on earth fed the hungry, healed the blind, and ministered to everyone in need.

Hebrews 9:24-28, He Has Appeared Once for All

Read Hebrews 9:1-23 for context.

Christ has entered … to appear in the presence of God on our behalf , verse 24, see Hebrews 7:23-25, 1 John 2:1-2 and Romans 8:31-39. How is Jesus able to enter God's presence in heaven ( true things) as our high priest? Hebrews 7:26-28

Regarding verse 25, what was required of thehigh priest when entering the holy places? Leviticus 16:2-3,11,14-15

Christ … will appear a second time , verse 28, see Matthew 16:24-28.

Mark 12:38-44, Beware of the Scribes, Widow's Offering

In these passages, where was Jesus teaching? Mark 12:35

In verses 38-40, Jesus courageously criticizes the Pharisees as he teaches in the temple on their turf. Read Luke 11:37-54, where Jesus airs more grievances against the Pharisees and lawyers.

The best seats in the synagogues, verse 39, were on a bench in front of the ark that contained the sacred scrolls. Those who sat there could be seen by all the worshipers in the synagogue.

What is meant by, who devour widows' houses, verse 40? Since the teachers of the law were not paid a regular salary, they were dependent on the generosity of patrons for their livelihood. Such a system was open to abuses, and widows were especially vulnerable to exploitation.

The widow's offering of two small copper coins, verses 42, can be thought of the equivalent of 2 pennies in today's currency. What is the true measure of an acceptable offering? 2 Corinthians 8:12

Bonus Study! Read 2 Kings 12:1-16 to explore an Old Testament example of financial challenges within "organized religion".