1 Kings 18:21
"How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him."
Joshua presented a similar proposal in Joshua 24:15, "Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Scripture says it is impossible to worship YHWH and anything else. In Matthew 6:24 Jesus said, "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other." If possible, Paul is even blunter, "You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?" (1 Corinthians 10:21-22). In 2 Corinthians 6:15 (NLT) he asks "What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil?"
O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, just as Elijah prayed so, too, do we. Make it known this day that you are God. We raise our voices to you "Answer us, O LORD that these people may know You are God and that You have turned their hearts back." Lord Jesus, this seems a perfect prayer for revival among Your followers. Today would Your Spirit show Himself powerful in turning hearts back to You alone. Forgive us for trying to serve You and anything else.
1 Thessalonians 1
Church historians believe this is one of the first if not the first letter that was written by Paul. Acts 17:1-13 is the account of Paul's visit to Thessalonica. He and Silas were there less than a month before being run out of town by jealous Jews. As you will see while reading 1 Thessalonians, Paul developed a deep love and affection for these believers in a short time. Paul was so concerned he sent Timothy back to check on their well being, while he stayed by himself in Athens. Paul wrote this letter after Timothy's return.
Paul's primary concern was the believer’s response to persecution. In 1 Thessalonians 1:6 Paul says they received the Gospel with much affliction and joy. In chapter 2, he says their suffering is just like their fellow believers in Israel. In 1 Thessalonians 3:3-5, Paul tells the believers they were destined to suffer affliction. The purpose of Timothy's trip was to learn how the believers in Thessalonica were handling the inevitable persecution. Timothy's report to Paul caused great rejoicing. The church's response was to continue the work of the LORD in faith, with love for the labor and a steadfast hope in the Lord Jesus. Paul declares this group of believers are an example for all believers in Macedonia and Achaia.
Reading this letter, you will notice the repeated theme of Jesus' return. In each of the five chapters, Paul mentions Jesus coming again. It seems the church had many questions for Timothy regarding Jesus' return since Paul discusses the topic at length in his letter. I suspect persecution quickens believers interest on when Jesus is coming back.
Paul, knowing our inclination to become discouraged, especially in the face of persecution, encourages them and reminds them to encourage each other. On eight separate occasions, Paul uses the same Greek word which is also translated as comfort and urge. One of his last commands is "We urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all."
Living and True God, direct our steps to You. God of love, stir in us an increased love for You and Your children. God of peace, teach us to be at peace no matter the circumstances as we too await our Savior's return.