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Form 1 CRE Notes On Loyalty To God
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TOPIC 7:LOYALTY TO GOD
ELIJAH FIGHTS AGAINST FALSE RELIGION (1 KINGS 17)
- It was during this time that the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite to go and tell Ahab the king that there was not going to be no rain or dew for the next three years.
- Elijah the escaped to hide in the Cheriith Ravin East of Jordan and during this time, Elijah was fed by Ravens and he drank water from the Brooks. Sometimes later, the brooks dried because there was no rain. Then the word of the Lord came to him to go to Zarephath where he found a widow fetching firewood.
- In the house of the widow he formed two miracles: -
1. For three and half years there was endless flow of flour and oil in the widow’s house.
2. He raised up back to life the widow’s son.
THE CONTEST AT MOUNT CARMEL (1 KINGS 18)
- In the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah to present himself to Ahab the King who referred to him as a troublemaker.
- He then asked Ahab to gather all the Israelites together with the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah to a contest at Mt. Carmel. This was meant to prove that Yahweh was a true God.
- So Ahab assembled all Israel and the prophets to gather at Mt. Carmel.
- At Mt. Carmel, Elijah challenged the people of Israel to decide whom they will follow as God. He said, if the Lord is God, follow him, but if Baal is God then follow him” 1Kings 18-21.
- Elijah told the people to bring two bulls for the sacrifice; one for himself and the other for the Baal prophets.
- The Baal prophets took the bull and offered it as a sacrifice. They then called the name of Baal till noon but there was no fire.
- Elijah mocked them saying, “Pray hard, he may be in great thought or he has gone on a journey or maybe he is sleeping.” They prayed louder and cut themselves with knives but there was no fire.
- Then Elijah summoned the people.
- He repaired the altar and took 12 stones according to the 12 tribes of Israel. He dug a trench round the altar, arranged the wood and cut the bull into two halves.
- Elijah told people to pour water on the wood and on the sacrifice then he stepped forward and prayed to God to answer him so that the people may know the true God.
- Then the fire of the Lord fell and burnt everything.
- When the people saw this, they bowed down and declared that Yahweh was the true God.
- Elijah commanded the people to seize all the prophets of Baal and put them to death.
- He then told Ahab to go back and eat for there was going to be rain. He then went on top of a mountain and prayed to Yahweh for rain to fall.
- The rain then came and fell heavily.
Lessons that Christians can learn from the contest
1. Yahweh is the true God for he brought fire that consumed the sacrifices and that Baal is not god.
2. Yahweh is a powerful God who controls the forces of nature. He brought rain.
3. He is a holy God.
4. He is merciful and forgiving God. He forgave the Israelites when they repented.
5. Yahweh answers people’s prayers for he answered Elijah’s prayers by sending fire.
6. He is the provider for he provided rain.
7. He is the protector of his servants like Elijah.
8. He is jealous God who does not like being likened to idols.
9. He punishes those who disobey his commandments.
THE TEST OF ELIJAH’S PROPHET HOOD (1KINGS 19:1-21)
- After Elijah had killed the Baal prophets, Jezebel swore to kill Elijah. Elijah was afraid and fled to Mt. Horeb in the desert. Elijah fell depressed, sat under a tree and prayed to God that he might die.
- He lay down under a tree and fell asleep however, the angel of the Lord appeared to him and miraculously provided to him food and drink.
- After eating the food, he fell stronger and journeyed for forty days to Mt. Horeb.
- There he went into a cave and spent the night. Here the Lord once again appeared to him in the form of:
1. A great and powerful wind that tore the mountain.
2. There was an earthquake.
3. There was fire.
4. A gentle whisper.
5. A still small voice.
Then the Lord told him to rise and go back to the desert of Damascus and: -
i. Anoint Hazael King over Aram.
ii. Anoint Jehu as king of Israel.
iii. Anoint Elisha as a prophet to succeed him.
So Elijah went and found Elisha ploughing.
He then threw his cloak around Elisha. Elisha then left the oxen and followed him.
ELIJAH FIGHTS AGAINST CORRUPTION IN ISRAEL (1KINGS 21:1-20)
Naboth had a vineyard in Jezreel. This was close to Ahab’s palace.
Ahab coveted Naboth’s vineyard. So he approached Naboth to sell the vineyard to him but Naboth refused to sell or exchange it for another one for it was against God’s command to sell ancestral land because the land belonged to God.
When Jezebel learnt from the King that Naboth had turned dawn his request, she promised to give the king the vineyard.
Jezebel wrote letters to all the elders in Israel and signed using Ahab’s name. She falsely accused Naboth that:-
- He had cursed God (Blasphemy).
- Cursed the king (this was considered a treason) and she put people to bare false witness against Naboth and as a result Naboth was stoned to death.
Ahab then took the vineyard. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah to go Ahab and tell him that the Lord’s judgment that the place where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth (Jezreel), the dogs shall lick his blood and that the house of Ahab will be destroyed.
Ahab put on sack clothes as a sign of repentance however he did not receive full forgiveness from God as was in the case of David.
How Ahab went against the covenant way of life
- He coveted Naboth`s vineyard.
- He plotted for the killing of Naboth.
- He bore false witnesses against Naboth.
- He took Naboth`s vineyard without his consent.
- He married a foreign wife, which was against God’s command.
- The wife introduced the worship of Baal in Israel and Baalism became a State religion.
- He built places for the worship of Baal.
- He too became a Baal worshiper.
- He persecuted God’s prophets
Forms of corruption in Kenya today
1. Tribalism and Nepotism
- Tribalism is the giving of favor to the members of your tribe while Nepotism is the giving of favor to the people whom you are related to.
- This is paying money or any material to be favored for what one does not deserve.
3. Cheating in business
- Example small scale is used in measurement or high charges are put on an item.
4. Stealing of money or property in work place.
5. Swearing falsely in the court of laws.
6. Misuse of public property or funds.
7. Grabbing of personal or public land through trickery.
Ways of Fighting Corruption
1. Christians need to be critical thinkers i.e. weigh the advantages and disadvantages and then look at the consequences.
2. A Christian needs to be creative and find ways of tackling issues.
3. Praying for the corrupt people to change.
4. Being a role model i.e. not taking part in corrupt deals.
5. Preaching to the people on the ills of corruption.
6. Report incidences of corruption to relevant authority.
7. Encouraging people to observe the laws of the country.
8. Publish books or gazettes highlighting on the negative sides of corruption or organizing cinemas to preach against corruption.
9. Trying to find out the root cause of corruption.
10. A Christian should campaign for better salaries for the employed.
11. Electing honest leaders.
Evidence to prove that Elijah was a true prophet of God
1. He pronounced free and half years of drought in Israel.
2. Elijah was fed by the Ravens and got water from the brooks after escaping into the wilderness.
3. On Mt Carmel, Elijah prayed to God to bring fire to consume the sacrifice to show that Yahweh was the true God and it happened so.
4. Elijah prayed to God at Mt Carmel and God brought rain that ended the three and half years of drought.
5. Elijah performed the miracles endless flow of oil and flour in the home of the widow at Zarephath.
6. He also raised the widow’s son back to life.
7. On his way to Mt Horeb, Elijah was fed by the Angel of the Lord.
8. Elijah prophesied the violent bloody destruction of the house of Ahab. Elijah told Ahab that the place where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth was the same place where the dogs will lick his blood (blood of Ahab). I1Kings 22:29-38).
9. God guided Elijah in choosing Elisha to replace him.
10. Elijah did not die but went to Heaven alive in a chariot of fire. (2Kings 2:1-18).
Problems that prophet Elijah faced in Israel
1. The Israelites had abandoned the worship of Yahweh and the Covenant way of life.
2. He found it difficult to convince the people that Yahweh was a true God.
3. There was persecution of Yahweh’s prophets and those who escaped went into hiding.
4. Jezebel introduced Baal worship in Israel and brought false prophets of Baal and Asherah.
5. There was widespread idolatry in Israel and Baal worship was made a state religion.
6. Jezebel swore to kill Elijah after killing the Baal prophets.
7. After pronouncing the three years of drought, Elijah lived in fear.
8. Elijah faced hardship in the wilderness (lack of food).
9. In the wilderness, Elijah felt that Yahweh had abandoned him.
10. After escaping into the wilderness, Elijah became depressed and prayed to God to take away his life.
How Elijah’s prophetic mission is important to a Christian today
1. Church leaders should be courageous to condemn evil being committed in the society just like Elijah faced the King when he forgot the covenant way of life.
2. Christians should avoid bearing false witness against their neighbors like Jezebel did to Naboth.
3. Christians should live a life of prayer and God will always answer their prayers just like he answered Elijah’s prayers.
4. Christians must be ready to perform God’s task however hard it may be. Elijah was given the hard task of performing disaster in the name of Ahab.
5. Christians need to live life free from corruption.
6. Leaders should not use their positions to oppress the weak just like Ahab used his power as a king to oppress Naboth.
7. God will always protect his people just as Elijah was protected by God when Jezebel wanted to kill him.
8. Just as Elijah remained faithful to God in the times of hardship, Christians therefore need to have faith in God.
9. Christians should fight for the rights of the poor just as Elijah fought for the rights of the poor.
10. Christians should avoid modern form of Idolatry at all costs; they must not value earthly things above God.
Summary of factors that led to the spread of idolatry in Israel
- Intermarriage between the Israelites and the Canaanites
- For example Solomon married foreign wives who brought about the worship of idols.
- Ahab also married Jezebel who brought about the worship of Baal in Israel.
- During the time of King Ahab, the worshiping of Baal was made a state religion. It was a safer to be a worshiper of Baal than Yahweh.
- Ahab and Jeroboam built high places e.g. altars and shrines for the worship of Baal.
- The influence of Canaanite religion. The Israelites had adopted the Canaanite gods whom they believed controlled fertility of the land.
- The Israelites changed from pastoralism to Agriculture. To ensure continuity of the wellbeing of the crops. They started worshiping the Canaanite gods whom they believed controlled fertility of land.
- Jezebel imported the prophets of Baal in Israel and the prophets of Yahweh were persecuted or killed.
- The division of Israel into the kingdoms (Schism between Judah and Israel). The Northern kingdom remained without a temple to worship Yahweh. Jeroboam also made two golden calves for the people to worship.
Effects of Idolatry in Israel
1. It led to the division of Israel into two kingdoms named the Southern and the Northern kingdom.
2. The kings of Israel started to oppress the poor; some even became corrupt and grabbed the poor people’s property.
3. God became angry with the Israelites and withdrew his blessings from the Israelites.
4. God brought punishment on the Israelites such as a long drought.
5. The prophets of Yahweh were mistreated, persecuted or killed.
6. The sacred places that were set aside for the worship of Yahweh were neglected.
7. There emerged prophets who condemned the Israelites for their activities and the impending punishments of the Israelites.
8. The Israelites were taken into exile in Assyria and Babylon as a form of punishment.
9. During this time that the Israelites were suffering, there emerged false prophets who prophesied hope.
10. There developed syncretism in Israel (this is a situation where two religions are in place). The Israelites worshiped Yahweh alongside the Canaanite gods.
Effects of Syncretism in Israel
1. The Israelites started calling Yahweh by the name used for calling the Canaanite gods e.g. El.
2. The Israelites’ calendar was changed to coincide with the Canaanite calendar.
3. The Israelites also put their feast to coincide with the time the Canaanites celebrate their feasts.
4. The parents began to name their children after Baal.
5. Former places that were used for the worship of Baal were converted to the Yahweh’s shrines without even removing the graven images.
Forms of Idolatry in Kenya today
i. Devil worshiping.
ii. The love for money for wealth.
iii. Worshiping positions.
iv. Witch craft.
v. There are also those who owe allegiance to others especially their bosses.
vi. There are also atheists who do not believe in the existence of God.