July 17- 1 Corinthians 5, 1 Kings 18 and Amos 2.1-3.2

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Immoral Followers

1 Corinthians 5 I have heard terrible things about some of you. In fact, you are behaving worse than the Gentiles. A man is even sleeping with his own stepmother. 2You are proud, when you ought to feel bad enough to chase away anyone who acts like that.
3-4I am with you only in my thoughts. But in the name of our Lord Jesus I have already judged this man, as though I were with you in person. So when you meet together and the power of the Lord Jesus is with you, I will be there too. 5You must then hand that man over to Satan. His body will be destroyed, but his spirit will be saved when the Lord Jesus returns.
6Stop being proud! Don't you know how a little yeast can spread through the whole batch of dough? 7Get rid of the old yeast! Then you will be like fresh bread made without yeast, and that is what you are. Our Passover lamb is Christ, who has already been sacrificed. 8So don't celebrate the festival by being evil and sinful, which is like serving bread made with yeast. Be pure and truthful and celebrate by using bread made without yeast.
9In my other letter I told you not to have anything to do with immoral people. 10But I wasn't talking about the people of this world. You would have to leave this world to get away from everyone who is immoral or greedy or who cheats or worships idols. 11I was talking about your own people who are immoral or greedy or worship idols or curse others or get drunk or cheat. Don't even eat with them! 12Why should I judge outsiders? Aren't we supposed to judge only church members? 13God judges everyone else. The Scriptures say, "Chase away any of your own people who are evil."

Elijah Proves He Is the LORD's Prophet

1 Kings 18 1-2For three years no rain fell in Samaria, and there was almost nothing to eat anywhere. The LORD said to Elijah, "Go and meet with King Ahab. I will soon make it rain." So Elijah went to see Ahab.
3-4At that time Obadiah was in charge of Ahab's palace, but he faithfully worshiped the LORD. In fact, when Jezebel was trying to kill the LORD's prophets, Obadiah hid one hundred of them in two caves and gave them food and water.
Ahab sent for Obadiah 5and said, "We have to find something for our horses and mules to eat. If we don't, we will have to kill them. Let's look around every creek and spring in the country for some grass. 6You go one way, and I'll go the other." Then they left in separate directions.
7As Obadiah was walking along, he met Elijah. Obadiah recognized him, bowed down, and asked, "Elijah, is it really you?"
8"Yes. Go tell Ahab I'm here."
9Obadiah replied:

King Ahab would kill me if I told him that. And I haven't even done anything wrong. 10I swear to you in the name of the living LORD your God that the king has looked everywhere for you. He sent people to look in every country, and when they couldn't find you, he made the leader of each country swear that you were not in that country. 11Do you really want me to tell him you're here?

12What if the LORD's Spirit takes you away as soon as I leave? When Ahab comes to get you, he won't find you. Then he will surely kill me.

I have worshiped the LORD since I was a boy. 13I even hid one hundred of the LORD's prophets in caves when Jezebel was trying to kill them. I also gave them food and water. 14Do you really want me to tell Ahab you're here? He will kill me!

15Elijah said, "I'm a servant of the living LORD All-Powerful, and I swear in his name that I will meet with Ahab today."
16Obadiah left and told Ahab where to find Elijah.
Ahab went to meet Elijah, 17and when he saw him, Ahab shouted, "There you are, the biggest troublemaker in Israel!"
18Elijah answered:

You're the troublemaker--not me! You and your family have disobeyed the LORD's commands by worshiping Baal.

19Call together everyone from Israel and have them meet me on Mount Carmel. Be sure to bring along the four hundred fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel's table.

20Ahab got everyone together, then they went to meet Elijah on Mount Carmel. 21Elijah stood in front of them and said, "How much longer will you try to have things both ways? If the LORD is God, worship him! But if Baal is God, worship him!"
The people did not say a word.
22Then Elijah continued:

I am the LORD's only prophet, but Baal has four hundred fifty prophets.

23Bring us two bulls. Baal's prophets can take one of them, kill it, and cut it into pieces. Then they can put the meat on the wood without lighting the fire. I will do the same thing with the other bull, and I won't light a fire under it either.

24The prophets of Baal will pray to their god, and I will pray to the LORD. The one who answers by starting the fire is God.

"That's a good idea," everyone agreed.
25Elijah said to Baal's prophets, "There are more of you, so you go first. Pick out a bull and get it ready, but don't light the fire. Then pray to your god."
26They chose their bull, then they got it ready and prayed to Baal all morning, asking him to start the fire. They danced around the altar and shouted, "Answer us, Baal!" But there was no answer.
27At noon, Elijah began making fun of them. "Pray louder!" he said. "Baal must be a god. Maybe he's day-dreaming or using the toilet or traveling somewhere. Or maybe he's asleep, and you have to wake him up."
28The prophets kept shouting louder and louder, and they cut themselves with swords and knives until they were bleeding. This was the way they worshiped, 29and they kept it up all afternoon. But there was no answer of any kind.
30Elijah told everyone to gather around him while he repaired the LORD's altar. 31-32Then he used twelve stones to build an altar in honor of the LORD. Each stone stood for one of the tribes of Israel, which was the name the LORD had given to their ancestor Jacob. Elijah dug a ditch around the altar, large enough to hold about thirteen quarts. 33He placed the wood on the altar, then they cut the bull into pieces and laid the meat on the wood.
He told the people, "Fill four large jars with water and pour it over the meat and the wood." After they did this, 34he told them to do it two more times. They did exactly as he said 35until finally, the water ran down the altar and filled the ditch.
36When it was time for the evening sacrifice, Elijah prayed:

Our LORD, you are the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. Now, prove that you are the God of this nation, and that I, your servant, have done this at your command. 37Please answer me, so these people will know that you are the LORD God, and that you will turn their hearts back to you.

38The LORD immediately sent fire, and it burned up the sacrifice, the wood, and the stones. It scorched the ground everywhere around the altar and dried up every drop of water in the ditch. 39When the crowd saw what had happened, they all bowed down and shouted, "The LORD is God! The LORD is God!"
40Just then, Elijah said, "Grab the prophets of Baal! Don't let any of them get away."
So the people captured the prophets and took them to Kishon River, where Elijah killed every one of them.

It Starts To Rain

41Elijah told Ahab, "Get something to eat and drink. I hear a heavy rain coming."
42Ahab left, but Elijah climbed back to the top of Mount Carmel. Then he stooped down with his face almost to the ground 43and said to his servant, "Look toward the sea."
The servant left. And when he came back, he said, "I looked, but I didn't see anything." Elijah told him to look seven more times.
44After the seventh time the servant replied, "I see a small cloud coming this way. But it's no bigger than a fist."
Elijah told him, "Tell Ahab to get his chariot ready and start home now. Otherwise, the rain will stop him."
45-46A few minutes later, it got very cloudy and windy, and rain started pouring down. So Elijah wrapped his coat around himself, and the LORD gave him strength to run all the way to Jezreel. Ahab followed him.

Judgment on Moab

Amos 2 The LORD said:
I will punish Moab for countless crimes,
and I won't change my mind.
They made lime from the bones of the king of Edom.
2Now I will send fire to destroy the fortresses of Kerioth.
Battle shouts and trumpet blasts will be heard
as I destroy Moab 3with its king and leaders.
I, the LORD, have spoken!

Judgment on Judah

4The LORD said:
I will punish Judah for countless crimes,
and I won't change my mind.
They have rejected my teachings and refused to obey me.
They were led astray by the same false gods
their ancestors worshiped.
5Now I will send fire on Judah
and destroy the fortresses of Jerusalem.

Judgment on Israel

6The LORD said:
I will punish Israel for countless crimes,
and I won't change my mind.
They sell honest people for money, and the needy are sold
for the price of sandals.
7They smear the poor in the dirt
and push aside those who are helpless.

My holy name is dishonored, because fathers and sons
sleep with the same young women.
8They lie down beside altars
on clothes taken as security for loans.
And they drink wine in my temple,
wine bought with the money they received from fines.

9Israel, the Amorites were there when you entered Canaan.
They were tall as cedars and strong as oaks.
But I wiped them out--
I destroyed their branches and their roots.
10I had rescued you from Egypt,
and for forty years I had led you through the desert.
Then I gave you the land of the Amorites.

11I chose some of you to be prophets
and others to be Nazirites.
People of Israel, you know this is true.
I, the LORD, have spoken!
12But you commanded the prophets
not to speak their message,
and you pressured the Nazirites into drinking wine.

13And so I will crush you, just as a wagon full of grain
crushes the ground.
14No matter how fast you run, you won't escape.
No matter how strong you are, you will lose your strength
and your life.
15Even if you are an expert with a bow and arrow,
you will retreat.
And you won't get away alive,
not even if you run fast or ride a horse.
16You may be brave and strong, but you will run away,
stripped naked.
I, the LORD, have spoken!

Amos 3 People of Israel, I rescued you from Egypt.
Now listen to my judgment against you.
2Of all nations on earth,
you are the only one I have chosen.
That's why I will punish you because of your sins.

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This reading is from The Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version, copyright © American Bible Society, 1995.

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