Ben-Hadad Attacks Samaria (1 Kings 20:1 – 12)

Scripture Text:

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1 Kings 20:1 – 12

1. When have you taken a stand against violence and why?

2. Do you haggle and barter prices or just ask the price and pay up?

3. Why did Ben-Hadad’s father attack Israel 50 years earlier (see 1 Kings 15:18 – 21)? Why does Ben-Hadad II besiege Samaria (verse 1)?

4. Does Ahab take Ben-Hadad’s terms seriously (verses 2 – 4)? What terms shock Ahab (verses 6, 7)? Why?

5. Why do the elders and people counsel resistance?

6. What’s the point of Ahab’s proverb (verse 11)? Describe the reaction at Ben-Hadad’s camp.

7. What “enemy” haunts you time after time? Will you ever be rid of it (him or her) once and for all? How so?

8. What could you never give up to someone who asks of you? Would you die for this?

9. Do you get defensive easily? When do you take off your armor? What is your prized defense mechanism?

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The LORD Appears to Elijah on Mount Horeb; The Call of Elisha (1 Kings 19)

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1 Kings 19

Elijah was one of the most colorful of all Israel’s prophets. He suffered from bouts of depression and self-doubt, but during times of crisis he showed amazing courage. The Mount Carmel showdown was merely one sign of the high drama going on.

However, Queen Jezebel’s reputation was such that Elijah ran away from her in fear even after God had spectacularly displayed His power on Mount Caramel.

1. Have you ever had a “mid-life crisis” or seen a family member go through it: once? never? several times? Explain what it was like.

2. Had Jezebel been on Carmel, would she be invoking her gods this way (verses 1, 2)? Why?

3. Why is Elijah suddenly afraid (verse 3)? Is he despondent, fearful or just in a post-adrenaline slump?

4. Why did Elijah pray to die?

  • he was afraid
  • he was depressed
  • he was totally drained
  • he was having a faith crisis
  • he felt all alone and unsupported

5. Why go to Judah? The desert? Why doesn’t God take Elijah’s life (verse 4)?

6. Is the food here an unmediated miracle, or had some “widow of Zarephath” been watching (verse 6; see also 1 Kings 17:9 – 11)?

7. What is significant about the 40 days and nights? About Mount Horeb? For what does Elijah hope (Exodus 3:1, 2; Deuteronomy 4:10 – 14)?

8. With what tone does Elijah answer God in verse 10? Whom is Elijah blaming for all the trouble?

9. What did Elijah need the most?

  • physical replenishment
  • some peace and quiet
  • a spiritual retreat
  • an attitude adjustment
  • some answers about life
  • fellowship with other believers
  • a fresh vision from God

10. What’s the point of God’s three “false starts” (verses 11, 12; see also Exodus 19:9, 16 – 19)? How does Elijah’s close encounter differ from Moses’? What is God’s message when He finally does speak?

11. What was God saying through the wind, the earthquake, the fire and the whisper?

  • “I’m in control”
  • “Stop whining and listen to me”
  • Don’t expect Me to be so dramatic all the time”
  • You’re not alone

12. What was God saying to Elijah in verses 15 – 18?

  • “Your ministry is far from over”
  • “Trust me”
  • “Stop moping and get moving”
  • “You’re not alone”

13. What’s the point of the cloak-throw (verse 19)? Of slaughtering oxen and burning the plow (verse 21)?

14. Has your life taken a discouraging turn lately? Does God seem to care at all in your struggle? How can you be helped?

15. Has God ever asked you “What are you doing here?” What was your answer?

16. What might tempt you to give up in your service of God? What might prompt you to abandon your chosen profession? Have you “burned the plow” in some other way?

17. Has God ever appeared in some spectacular way to you? In some “small” way? How so?

18. Have you admired someone else’s spiritual experiences but found they don’t happen to you? Do you feel like a failure? Inadequate? Angry at God?

19. After a great victory, I usually:

  • bask in it
  • rest
  • expect a letdown
  • move on to the next challenge

20. Which (if any) of the answers in Question #4 sound like you? Which of the choices in Question #9 do you need the most?

21. In healing from the pain in your past, how do you sense God whispering to you, “You’re not alone” – in terms of God’s presence? In terms of the support of those God has “reserved” for you?

22. When you feel drained by the pressures or injustices of life, what do you do? Is there any action you can take to find God? Or do you have to wait for God to call you out of your “cave”

23. In the midst of all your hard work, are you developing the leadership who will eventually replace you? Who are you a mentoring?

 

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Elijah and the Prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:16 – 46)

Scripture Text:

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1 Kings 18:16 – 46

1. Did you ever get burned playing with fire? How so?

2. Ever want to get back to your “roots”? What or who encouraged you in that direction?

3. Why does Ahab think Elijah is the “troubler of Israel”? Why does Elijah reverse the charges?

4. How many people do you think assembled on Mount Carmel (verse 19)? Are the prophets of Baal native Israelites (see chapter 16:31, 32)?

5. What was Elijah’s main reason for challenging the other prophets?

  • to show them up
  • to destroy them
  • to prove the Lord’s superiority
  • to call Israel back to the Lord

6. Why was Ahab willing to risk a confrontation at Mount Carmel?

  • he respected Elijah
  • he thought his prophets would win
  • he wanted the people to decide
  • he would look bad if he refused
  • everyone loves a good contest

7. Why did the people say nothing when Elijah challenged them in verse 21?

  • they were confused
  • they were afraid
  • they were angry
  • they were ashamed
  • they thought it was okay to worship both the Lord and Baal

8. What reason does Elijah give for the prophets of Baal going first (verse 22 – 26)?

9. Is this a battle of doctrine? Logic? Power? What’s the relationship between power and doctrine?

10. Is Elijah being overly dramatic by the three water dowsings, the trench and all (verses 30 – 35)? Where did they find so much water, given the three-year drought?

11. Is it over-reacting to have all the priests of Baal slaughtered (verse 40)? Why or why not?

12. The thing that impresses me the most about Elijah in this dual is his:

  • guts
  • faith
  • taunting
  • theatrical flair
  • prayer
  • fury

13. When God sent down fire, he was:

  • making Himself perfectly clear
  • venting His anger
  • purifying the people
  • endorsing Elijah’s ministry

14. When the people shouted, “the Lord – he is God”, they were:

  • scared to death
  • convinced
  • humbled
  • responding out of emotion
  • truly converted

15. Why does Elijah tell Ahab to “eat and drink” and his servant to keep looking (verses 41 -44)? What must they be thinking? Why does Elijah assume the fetal position on Carmel? What must he be feeling?

16. How does Elijah outrun Ahab’s chariot (verse 46; see chapter 18:12)?

17. What convinces you that God is more powerful than anything else?

  • thunder and lightning
  • seeing how God has changed me
  • the reality of miracles
  • the truth of His Word
  • the sincerity of Christian people
  • the inadequacy of competing “gods”

18. Are you “wavering between two opinions” right now in regard to obeying God’s will? Which one will you follow and why?

19. Is your devotion to God leading you into any “showdowns”? What kind of “betting odds” are you facing?

20. Are skeptics today more convinced by logical arguments, emotional appeals or miraculous power? Which of these three convinced you of the truth of Christianity?

21. Does God show power today? Or is Christian witness more one of subtle good deeds and words fitly spoken?

22. Does God give you extra strength to do His will? What kind of strength do you need now?

23. Have you ever wanted to follow Elijah’s example and boldly ask for a public miracle in Jesus’ name? Who will look stupid if God doesn’t produce? Does doubt create a risk that God won’t come through? Or is God out of the flashy miracle business? Have  you ever gone ahead and then been left in the lurch by God?

 

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