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A Year’s Journey Through the Word of God

I am a woman who has been changed by the Word of God! This is my 20th year of reading through The Bible, and I simply desire to encourage others who have, and others who might, join me on this daily journey! It is indeed THE JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME!

Our Family in January 2018
Our Family in November 2019

I have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams! I have an amazing husband of nearly 36 years, three beautiful adult children who have married spouses who love Jesus as much as they do, and three precious grand babies with one on the way! I am a Worship Leader (for over 35 years now) and Women’s Ministry Director/Bible Teacher. Teaching and sharing God’s Word and leading people into the very Presence of a Holy God is my great joy and privilege!

2 King 8 – 9

Two BAD KINGS. One GOOD KING—Jehu. And the Death of Jezebel!

Jehoram, King of Judah—BAD KING! He ruled for 8 years. It’s sad that he is an evil king, because he is Jehoshaphat’s son.

It breaks my heart that Jehoshaphat’s son, Jehoram, ends up being a BAD KING! He had the powerful legacy of his father who lived a life “worthy of the calling he had received.” Jehoshaphat was a GREAT KING! How on earth could his son Jehoram turned kit to be an evil king?

We find the answer in the 18th verse of 2 Kings 8…

“He followed the ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for he married a daughter of Ahab. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”

2 Kings 8:18

Let’s not ever forget this truth—We become like the people we surround ourselves with. “Bad company corrupts good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:33. Yet this is even worse! We should never marry someone who does not love God as much as we do! “Do not be unequally yoked.”

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”

2 Corinthians 6:14

What a powerful passage of scripture! Somewhere along the way, the Israelites quit believing they were God’s chosen people; so they quit acting like it! God called them to be different…to be set apart…to be Holy! But they abandoned that thought and belief long ago!

Sound familiar? Unfortunately, I believe many Christians have forgotten that God has called us to be set apart…to be different…to look different from the world…to be Holy. Many have abandoned that thought a long time ago…and have unfortunately missed out on God’s AMAZING BLESSINGS and PEACE! I pray we REPENT and RETURN to the ONE WHO HOLDS OUR TOMORROWS FIRMLY IN HIS HANDS!

I had a sweet conversation with a young girl recently who is living with her fiancé. I prayed about sharing THE TRUTH with her. I didn’t want to hurt her; but I also knew that God could not bless her the way He wants to while they are living in sin. So I lovingly shared the truth with her. I told her I didn’t want to hurt her in any way; but I wanted God’s best for her. She was so sweet!! She thanked me for praying for her and speaking truth to her. I know God is going to BLESS HER and her fiancé in big ways as they continue to listen to the Lord!

Ahaziah, King of Judah—BAD KING! He reigned for only one year. He was Jehoram’s son.

“He did evil in the eyes of the Lord as the house of Ahab had done, for he was related by marriage to Ahab’s family!”

Do you see a theme here? A pattern? Another truth that may not necessarily be in the Bible, but it almost always rings true—T

“The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.”

As the mother goes…so goes the child. Most of the time, the mother spends the most time with that baby and child and her influence is undeniable. Men—make sure you marry a godly woman. Women—make sure you marry someone who loves Jesus even more than you do!

Jehu—King of Israel—GOOD KING!

Wow! A king of Israel who is good! It’s shocking, I know!! 😉

Elisha sent one of his prophets to go and find Jehu, one of Jehoshaphat’s son’s. He told him to bring a flask of oil with him and when he finds him, he is to take him into an inner room and declare…

“This is what the Lord says: I anoint you king over Israel.’

“Then open the door and run; don’t delay!”

So the young man indeed went to Ramoth Gilead and found Jehu. He brought him into the house and anointed him with oil. Then he continued…

“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anoint you king over the Lord’s people Israel. You are to destroy the house of Ahab your master, and I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all the Lord’s servants shed by Jezebel. The whole house of Ahab will perish. I will cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat and like the house of Baasha son of Ahijah. As for Jezebel, dogs will devour her on the plot of ground at Jezreel, and no one will bury her.’”

Then he opened the door and ran!

All of the men who had been with Jehu asked what the prophet had said and done. When Jehu finally tells them what the prophet had said, they blew the trumpets and shouted “JEHU IS KING!!”

It is interesting to note that Jehu is the only king of the Northern Kingdom (Israel) to have been anointed, perhaps to indicate that he should follow in the Davidic tradition, as Saul had been anointed by Samuel; David by Samuel, to mark the Spirit of God endowing him for the task.” (Wiseman)

Jehu kills Joram and Ahaziah

“Jehu, son of Jehoshaphat, conspired against Joram, son of Ahab.”

If you’re like me, it’s sometimes difficult to remember all of these kings and which one ruled over Israel and which one ruled over Judah. So here is a quick reminder. It helps me keep things straight! (It’s especially tough when their names sometimes sound the same!)

So Jehu headed toward Jezreel, where both king Joram, and Ahaziah, king of Judah, are staying.

A lookout on the tower sees Jehu coming and tells Joram about it. Joram tells him to send a horseman to ask, “Do you come in peace?”

The horseman meets up with Jehu and asks, “Do you come in peace?” But Jehu replies… “What do you have to do with peace? Fall in behind me!”

Then the lookout reports, “The messenger has reached him, but he isn’t coming back.”

So the king sent another horseman to ask the same question. And again Jehu responds, “What do you have to do with peace? Fall in behind me.”

The lookout again tells the king that this horseman isn’t returning either. But then he says, “The driving is like that of Jehu…he drives like a madman.”

So both Joram, king of Israel and Ahaziah, king of Judah, ride out to meet Jehu. Joram asks the same question…

“Have you come in peace?”

I love Jehu’s bold response…

How can there be peace as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?”

Joram turns to run and cries out to Ahaziah, “Treachery, Ahaziah!”

Then Jehu takes out his bow and arrow and shoots Joram between the shoulders and it pierced his heart!

When Ahaziah saw what had happened, he fled, but Jehu chased him shouting, “Kill him, too!” Both Joram, king of Israel, and Ahaziah, king of Judah died that day!

Jezebel Killed!

Jehu continued to Jezreel. When Jezebel heard about it she got all “gussied up” and went to the window. When she saw Jehu, she asked him “Have you come in peace, Zimri, you murdered of your master?”

Jehu looked up to the window and called out, “Who is on my side! Who?”

A few eunuchs were up on the roof and heard Jehu. He told them, “Throw her down!” So they did! And we read that “some of her blood spattered the wall and the horses as they trampled her underfoot!”

Jehu told them to go down and takenJezebels body and bury her because she was a king’s daughter. But when they went out to bury her, “they found nothing but her skull, her feet and her hands.”

They went back and told Jehu. He then said…

“This is the word of the Lord that he spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite: ‘On the plot of ground at Jezreel, dogs will devour Jezebel’s flesh. Jezebel’s body will be like dung on the ground in the plot at Jezreel, so that no one will be able to say, ‘This is Jezebel.’”

God’s promise against Jezebel and the house of Ahab was fulfilled! We find this prophecy in 1 Kings 21:19, and in 21:23-25).

God always keeps His Word! He is a God of love and compassion; but He is also a God of Truth and Holiness and Wrath. He is indeed a Righteous Judge. What He says will indeed come to pass.

I love what commentator G. Campbell Morgan has to say about this chapter, 2 Kings 9—

It is indeed a terrible chapter in which the truth of the divine government is written no longer in the gentle words of patient mercy, but in flames of fire.” (Morgan)

Morgan

2 Kings 6 – 8

Elisha and the God of Miracles, a Horrific Famine, and the Sovereignty of God!

I Believe in Miracles!

Before I begin writing about Elisha in 2 Kings, chapter 6 today, I simply have to share how God answered a very specific prayer of mine just today!

My husband and I enjoyed three days of vacation with our daughter and son in law and our two precious grand babies up in the cool country of Northeastern Arizona, what we call the White Mountains. As they left to go back home to Phoenix, our plan was to continue our vacation by heading to New Mexico. We spent the first night in Silver City and were planning on heading to Red River, New Mexico. However, due to the coronavirus and very stringent rules especially for “out-of-towners” like us, we felt we needed to change our plans. I was so disappointed. I desperately needed this time away.

We weren’t sure what we were supposed to do now or where we should go. I didn’t want to “search Google” for ideas…I knew I needed to SEEK GOD! So we prayed. This was essentially my prayer…

“Lord, I don’t even know what to ask for! Larry asks ‘What will make you happy?’ My answer, ‘I don’t know. I don’t have a plan and don’t know what to even ask for.’ Father, I just know you CARE about the big and little things of our lives and I know YOUR WAYS are ALWAYS BEST! I feel like a little child. I honestly don’t know what to do or where to go—but I am trusting You will lead.”

Earlier in the day, I had texted my friend asking if she was in Greer up at her cabin. We thought we might swing by and visit them if they were there on our way to wherever God showed us we should go. Well, less than an hour after praying that prayer, my friend texted back and said they weren’t up at their cabin, but WE SHOULD GO AND ENJOY THEIR CABIN! We were BLOWN AWAY! I’m still overwhelmed at God’s goodness and my friend’s graciousness! I am sitting here in this beautiful place, soaking it all in and writing this blog tonight. I stand in awe of a Holy God who God always hears us when we cry out to Him in prayer!! He is indeed a GOD OF MIRACLES!

An Axhead Floats and Elisha Traps the Blinded Arameans

Continuing the theme of miracles, we get to see Elisha once again perform a miracle that reminds us of God’s Power!

The great news is that Elisha’s company of prophets is growing so much that they need to build a bigger place to live. The bad news is that one of the prophets accidentally looses his iron ax head when it flies off and falls into the deep muddy waters of the Jordan River. The man is distraught because he had borrowed this expensive tool and he didn’t know what to do. So he called on Elisha.

The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. “Lift it out,” he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.”

2 Kings 6:6-7

Miraculous!! The ax head floated to the top of the water. I love that Elisha allowed the man to participate in the miracle by asking him to reach out his hand and take it!

The second miracle involves opening the eyes of Elisha’s servant, and blinding the eyes of the Arameans who were trying to attack and capture him.

I love that God can make blind eyes see and He can make seeing eyes blind! His Omnipotence and Power and Sovereignty simply BLOW ME AWAY!

In this situation, the king of Aram is frustrated with Elisha for foiling his plots and plans against the king of Israel; so he is trying to capture him. They surrounded the city where Elisha is with horses and chariots! Elisha’s servant wakes up and sees the army and all the horses and chariots and cries out, “”Oh my Lord! What shall we do?!”

Elisha answers…

Don’t be afraid! Those who are with us are more than those who are with them!”

Then Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.”

Then the Lord opened his servants eyes and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of Fire all around Elisha!

Then as the enemy attacked, Elisha asked God to strike them with blindness! Elisha was then able to trick them into going right into the hands of the Israelites. However, Elisha told the Israelites not to kill them. Here again we are Elisha looking a whole lot like Jesus…where GRACE ABOUNDS!

I just love that Elisha prays and God answers…just like he did for me and my husband and just like He wants to do for you! He is just waiting for us to ASK! Then He will BLOW YOU AWAY with His AWESOME ANSWER!!

The Horrific Famine in Samaria

The king of Aram laid siege to Samaria and essentially sought to starve them to death. The famine had gotten so bad that “a donkeys head sold for eighty shekels of silver!” (2 pounds of silver!) Guess what they would be doing with that donkey’s head? Horrific!

A woman cried out to the king of Israel, “Please help me!” Her story is one of the most tragic in all the Bible!

This is what she told the king…

“This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’ So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.”

2 Kings 6:28-29

They cooked and ate the one son and then were going to do the same to the other—but the woman hid him! HORRIFIC!!

The king is Israel was so sickened by this that he tears his robes…and then he wants to tear into Elisha! I don’t know why he places his disgust on Elisha; but he does. Before the king of Israel even shows up at Elisha’s house, Elisha knows he is on the way.

Elisha tells him that all of this is going to end by TOMORROW! Everything is going to turn around! The famine will be over!

”Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”

2 Kings 7:1

But the officer of the king doesn’t believe it. Elisha tells him “You will see it with your eyes; but you will not eat any of it!”

The Siege Lifted!

Now there were four men with leoprosy living in Samaria during this time of famine. They get together and essentially say, “If we stay here, we will die! If we go over and surrender to the Arameans, perhaps they will spare us and we will live. If they kill us, then we die.”

So they go to the camp of the Arameans to surrender to them and they find it EMPTY! No one was there! God had confused them and they left in fear! The four lepers then begin to plunder the place! They go into the tents and eat their food! They take out silver and gold and clothes and more from the tents and hide them. But then they begin to feel bad…

“Then they said to each other, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.”

2 Kings 7:9

Good job, guys!!

I have to stop here for a moment and say that this sounds like THE GOSPEL to me!! We have the GOOD NEWS! Yet we so often KEEP IT TO OURSELVES! How selfish can we be!? We get all of these incredible blessings and most important, we get our eternity fixed knowing that when we die, we will go and spend eternity with Jesus. Yet we “hide” the “Good News!” We hoard it from a dying world because we are so focused on “us.” We certainly don’t shout it from the mountaintops like we should! “This is a day of GOOD NEWS and we are keeping it to ourselves.”

O let’s not do that! Let’s be like these leper’s and run and share the GOOD NEWS—The GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST—to all who will hear! You never know who is waiting on the other side of your obedience!

2 Kings 4:38 – 5

More Miracles from Elisha! Naaman healed of Leprosy! Elisha is a lot like Jesus!

Elisha is a “Type of Christ.”

After reading today’s passages, the very first thing that comes to my mind is this—

“ELISHA is so much like JESUS!”

We read about Elisha healing the people when there was “death in the pot.”

We watch as Elisha feeds a hundred people during the famine with twenty loaves of barley bread…and there was still some left over!

Then we see Elisha heal Naaman of leprosy!

There is much more; but I’m getting ahead of myself. 🙂

Before we hear more details of Elisha and these stories we read today, I want to focus a moment on this concept—Elisha is indeed a “type of Christ.” As we study God’s Word, we see this in other men in the Bible as well. David is certainly a type of Christ. We studied that way back in 2 Samuel as well as in some of the Psalms of David. Elijah, Elisha’s predecessor, was also a type of Christ. It always blesses me because I love that I see Jesus all throughout the Old Testament. So many people miss the powerful life lessons of the Old Testament because they think it is not relevant today. Oh my goodness! Every single page of God’s Word is relevant and applicable and ready to be used in our daily lives!! Oh how I NEED IT each and every day!

As we study these next “scenes” from Elisha’s life, observe with me all the ways that Elisha seems a little like our Savior.

Death in the Pot & Feeding the Hundred

There was a famine in the region of Gilgal. Elisha asked his servant to put on a large pot of stew for the prophets who were meeting with him. One of the prophets went out and found a “wild vine” and put some of its gourds in the stew. As the people began to eat, they cried out, “O man of God, there is death in the pot!” They were all experiencing some kind of food poisoning from the gourds that had been cut up and put in the stew. Elisha quickly tells them to put flour in the pot; and suddenly the “poison” was gone and they could eat it! Miraculous!

This next story just jumps off the page at me in terms of Elisha looking so much like Jesus.

Elisha was given 20 loaves of barley bread and he tells his servant to give it to the people to eat. His servant responds, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” In other words, “There is no way that 20 loaves of barley is going to feed 100 people!” However, Elisha boldly proclaims…

“Give it to the people to eat; for this is what the Lord God says—“They will eat and have some left over.”

2 kings 4:44

And this is exactly what happened! The people ate until they were full and there were still leftovers! Did you catch what Elisha said—“For this is what the Lord says…” If God says it, you can believe it is going to happen. If God says it, as my daddy always says, “You can take it to the bank!” God is always true to His Promises!! He says what He means and He means what He says! God said it and it was so!

I love what Charles Haddon Spurgeon says about this…

“What can these few cakes (loaves) do towards feeding a hundred men?” They forget that God can multiply them. Ye limit the Holy One of Israel. Do you think he needs our numbers? Do you think he is dependent upon human strength? I tell you, our weakness is a better weapon for God than our strength.” (Spurgeon)

Spurgeon

Naaman healed of Leprosy!

We are now introduced to Naaman who is the commander of the army of the king of Aram. We are told that Naaman is a great man! He has a great reputation! He is highly regarded by all who know him. He is a mighty warrior and valiant soldier! Yet then we learn after this long line of positive attributes that Naaman has leprosy. He is a leper. Unclean! This was no small matter. This was a huge deal! No matter how many great characteristics are used to describe Naaman, this final one is a devastating blow and reality. He will be dying a slow death. His body will begin to slowly rot away and he will die. UNLESS…Unless he is HEALED of this devastating disease.

No sooner are we introduced to Naaman, that we also get to meet a bold young Israelite girl who was captured by some soldiers of Aram. She is being held captive; but ends up serving Namaan’s wife. She boldly proclaims, “If only my master (Naaman) would go see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy!”

Wow! This young girl was ripped out of her home at a young age and brought to live in a land she knew nothing about. She could have been bitter! She could have been angry! She could have been so lonely or even so scared that all she could think about was herself and her own predicament. But she didn’t! She put herself in harm’s way to help her master. Her compassion is on display! Her faith was also on display. She fully believed that Elisha could heal her master, Naaman, and she went out of her way to get him the help he needed!

Naaman tells his master, the king of Aram, what the young girl told him. The king tells Naaman to go to Israel and even sends letters with him to bring to the king of Israel. However, when the king reads the letter regarding Naaman’s leprosy and how he is looking to be healed, the king tears his robe, thinking Naaman or the king of Aram is trying to trick him or start a fight!

Elisha hears about this and tells the king of Israel to send Naaman to his home.

Naaman goes to Elisha’s house, bringing his entourage of horses and chariots with him. When Naaman arrives, Elisha sends out his servant with this message…

”Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.”

2 Kings 5:10

Naaman is outraged and leaves! First of all, he expected Elisha to come out to meet him in person! He is a prominent leader! He expected much more respect and honor than this! Second, he was too dignified to dip into the muddy, dirty waters of the Jordan! “Who does this guy Elisha think he is, anyway?! Doesn’t he know who he is dealing with!?” He expected Elisha to simply call on the name of the Lord, wave his “magic wand,” and he would be healed!

He had the wrong concept, didn’t he?

My first pastor of many years ago, Dr. Simon Tsoi, used to always say…

Without the right concept, you cannot have the right conduct.”

Naaman had the wrong concept. Naaman had perhaps started to believe his own press! “This was too humiliating for a man of his noble reputation,” he must have thought. So Naaman went away and was not healed!

However, Naaman’s servants cared enough about their master to go to him and speak this great truth…

“My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”

2 Kings 5:13

So Naaman goes and dips himself in the Jordan seven times and his flesh was restored completely, like that of a young boy!

Naaman goes back to the home of Elisha and proclaims…

Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.”

But Elisha would not receive anything from Naaman, even though Naaman urged him.

However, Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, who has been watching all of this unfold, says to himself…

“My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.”

2 Kings 5:20

He then runs after Naaman and lies to him! He tells him that Elisha has sent him to say that they have two new prophets and each could use some money and two sets of clothing. Naaman is pleased to be able to bless Elisha in this way, and gives him more than he asked for!

When Gehazi returns to his master, Elisha asks him…

“Where have you been, Gehazi?”

Gehazi lies again…

“Your servant didn’t go anywhere.”

Elisha then says to him,

“Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you?”

BUSTED!!

Elisha continues…

“Is this the time to take money or accept clothes…No! Naaman’s leprosy will now cling to you and to your descendants FOREVER!”

Then Gehazi left Elisha and he was leprous…as white as snow!

Gehazi was brazen and bold in his outright LIES! So Elisha was bold and punitive in his punishment for the blatant sin!

Here’s what comes to my mind as I read these final verses…

Beware your sins will find you out!” Numbers 32:23

There is so much truth to apply to our lives in these powerful stories from God’s Word today!

On the one hand, Naaman finally got it, didn’t be? He humbled himself enough to dip into the muddy Jordan river seven times and he was HEALED! He didn’t just dip himself 4 times or 6 times. No! Once he got over “himself” and humbled himself, he obeyed completely and dipped himself into the Jordan 7 times and was miraculously HEALED! God was watching and God used Elisha to heal him!

Yet then we see someone who didn’t “get it!” Someone who had all the experience of watching his master, Elisha, come through again and again with miracle after miracle! He knew he was the Real Deal! Why on earth would Gehazi then sin so blatantly as he did?! I know one reason. He didn’t “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

Take a look at this…

Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself…”

He “Said to himself.” Or “He thought to himself.” Remember…any time we hear or see that phrase, it is not going to end well! As soon as Gehazi had that thought, I know God convicted him and warned him…because He always does. But Gehazi didn’t heed that warning…and now for the rest of his life, he and his descendants would be a lepers! FOREVER! Oh, had he only “taken that thought captive” and denied the urge…resisted the temptation.

This is what we must do if we desire to FINISH WELL! Temptation will continue to come.

We must “Flee the very appearance of evil.”

We must “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee.”

We must “Walk by the Spirit so we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.”

We must be intentional in this life and put on the full armor of God every single day because spiritual warfare is REAL!

I know we all want to finish well and be pleasing to our King! So one day we can hear those blessed words…

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21

2 Kings 3 – 4

God is a God of Miracles! Nothing is too difficult for Him! There are days when God’s Word is so rich my heart feels like it might burst for joy! Today is one of those days. I love that ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IS TOO DIFFICULT FOR MY GOD!

Joram—King of Israel—a BAD KING! He ruled 12 years.

Before we get to hear the great stories that bring joy and hope, we are introduced to another king who did EVIL in the sight of the Lord. His name is Joram and he is Ahab’s son. Is it any wonder he is a BAD KING?!

We find him wanting to go up against the king of Moab, and he invites Jehoshaphat to join him in battle. Do you see a theme here? I find it interesting that all of these evil kings want Jehoshaphat to join with them in battle. I am guessing that underneath it all, they know he is a godly king and they want his advice and godly wisdom, even though they themselves continue to live in ways that deny God altogether. Jehoshaphat agrees to join him. I love his kind response. It’s the exact one he gave Ahab years earlier—

“I will go with you. I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.”

So they all set out after asking Jehoshaphat what direction they should go. But after about seven days, they run out of water both for them and for their horses.

Jehoshaphat asks the great question:

“Is there no prophet of the Lord here that we inquire of the Lord through him?”

I love that Jehoshaphat is always the one seeking God! He is always the one pointing people to God to find the answer.

Jehoshaphat had his theology right! He knew Who to go to in time of need, unlike King Ahaziah who we studied yesterday. Ahaziah knew Yahweh with his intellect, but he didn’t trust God with his life or he would have cried out to God instead of the god he really trusted—Baal-Zebub, the god of the Philistines.

Jehoshaphat would be the “friend” that would keep you from getting into trouble. He would be the guy who would say, “You know…maybe we shouldn’t do ‘such and such.’ We wouldn’t want to get in trouble.” Yeah, Jehoshaphat is a GOOD GUY! One of the few GOOD KINGS!

So Jehoshaphat leads them to Elisha!

I love how feisty Elisha is! He tells King Joram, “Why are you coming to me?! Why don’t you seek the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother?” (Ahab and Jezebel.)

When Elisha learns that Jehoshaphat is joining with Joram in battle, he agree to help him.

“As surely as the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, if I did not have respect for the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not pay any attention to you.”

2 Kings 3:14

Elisha asks for a harpist and while the harpist is playing, the hand of the Lord comes upon Elisha. God tells him to tell the kings that there will be no wind or rain, but the ditches will be filled with water so you and your cattle and animals will have water to drink. Then I love what Elisha says next…

“This is an EASY THING in the eyes of the Lord!”

[Side note—As soon as I read that, I was reminded of the song, “Nothing is too difficult for Thee! Nothing is too difficult for Thee! Great and mighty God! Great in counsel and mighty in deed! Nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing! Nothing is too difficult for Thee!”]

The next morning the land is flowing with water! But the crazy thing is, when the Moabites woke up the next morning, as the sun was shining on the water, it looked red. It looked like blood! They thought the Israelite kings had slaughtered one another. So the Moabites come to the camp of the Israelites thinking they are all dead and end up being completely slaughtered themselves! The king of Moab takes his first born son and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. Such a devastating tragedy and picture of evil!!

The Widow’s Oil

These next two “stories” that we get to read about—The Widow’s Oil and the Shunamite Woman—stand in stark contrast to the evil that we have just seen. I’m so grateful for moments of LIGHT in the midst of DARKNESS, aren’t you? Earlier, we had Elijah as that great light! Now, it is his successor, Elisha, who provides a ray of hope in the midst of a canvas of darkness.

There is a woman whose husband was a prophet and one of Elisha’s servants. He died and left his wife with two sons and a great deal of debt. The widow went to Elisha and pleaded for help. The creditors were going to take her two sons as servants to pay for the debt.

Elisha asks how he can help! He asks her “What do you have in your house?” She answers “Your servant has nothing at all…except a little oil.”

I think I know what God might have been thinking…

A little oil isn’t “nothing at all;” because LITTLE IS MUCH WHEN GOD IS IN IT!!

Elisha tells the woman…

“Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”

2 Kings 4:3-4

She does exactly that! She begins to pour her “little oil” into the empty jars, and her little became MUCH as the oil just kept flowing! It didn’t stop flowing until there were no more jars to fill! “When they had filled all the jars…the oil stopped flowing. “Elisha told the woman to then take the oil and sell it and use the money to pay off all of her debts and she and her sons can then live off the rest!

This woman’s faith in God changed her life! She could have easily said, “You aren’t hearing me! I have a tiny little bit of oil. There’s no use! And your idea sounds crazy!” But she didn’t! She did exactly what Elisha told her to do, and she and her boy’s lives were transformed because of it! What is God asking you to believe? What “little” do you have that God is asking you to POUR OUT? Don’t ever underestimate the power of God! He can do MIGHTY THINGS with the little we have in our hands. As we pour it out, He multiplies it beyond anything we could ever imagine! “Little is much when God is in it!”

The Shunamite Woman and her son restored to life!

This is such a great story! A story of a selfless and giving woman who God blesses beyond her wildest dreams!

There was a wealthy woman in a town called Shunem. She had urged Elisha to come and have a meal with her and her husband when he was in town. One day, this Shunamite woman has a GOD THOUGHT and says to her husband,

“I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.”

2 Kings 4:9-10

Don’t you just love that?! Such a giving, selfless thought and act.

Well, Elisha wants to bless her for her hospitality and graciousness to him. He asks his servant to find out what she needs. She doesn’t ask for anything. Gehazi, the servant, tells Elisha that she doesn’t have any children and her husband is old. So Elisha sends for her and he tells her

About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you will hold a son in your arms.”

She is in shock, but pleads with him not to mislead her!

She became pregnant and gave birth to a son that next year just as Elisha had told her!

However, one day the little boy ran to his father crying, “My head! My head!” Their servant carried the little boy up to his mother and she held him until noon and then died. She took him and went upstairs to Elisha’s room and laid his lifeless body on Elisha’s bed. Then she went with one of her servants in pursuit of Elisha.

When she found him she fell at his feet and said,

“Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?”

2 Kings 4:28

Elisha told his servant, Gehazi, to go and take his staff and lay it on the boy’s face. So Gehazi ran ahead and did just that; but there was no response.

So when Elisha got there, he went upstairs to his room where the little boy’s body was laying and he prayed. Then he laid on top of the boy—mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, and hands to hands. The boy’s body got warm. Elisha paced back and forth and did it one more time. This time the boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes! He was ALIVE!

Elisha sent for the Shunamite woman! She saw the boy was alive and fell at Elisha’s feet and bowed down to the ground. Then she took her precious boy and went out!

Can you imagine her JOY?! We don’t hear anything more about her or this boy, but can you just imagine the CELEBRATION?! Can you hear her telling this story for decades to come?! My son was dead, but now he’s alive!! What a testimony! Oh yes, NOTHING, NOTHING; ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! NOTHING IS TOO DIFFICULT FOR MY GOD!

One more thing to note—God blesses obedience! God blesses us when we obey the “God Thought” he lays on our heart! This woman had no children! God gave her a son because of her gracious hospitality to a man of God. Do not ever forget that GOD IS WATCHING! He’s watching the good as well as the not so good things we do…and He will reward us when we walk in obedience!!

Little is Much When God Is In It

  1. In the harvest field now ripened
    There’s a work for all to do;
    Hark! the voice of God is calling,
    To the harvest calling you.
    • Refrain:
      Little is much when God is in it!
      Labor not for wealth or fame;
      There’s a crown, and you can win it,
      If you go in Jesus’ name.
  2. In the mad rush of the broad way,
    In the hurry and the strife,
    Tell of Jesus’ love and mercy,
    Give to them the Word of Life.
  3. Does the place you’re called to labor
    Seem so small and little known?
    It is great if God is in it,
    And He’ll not forget His own.
  4. Are you laid aside from service,
    Body worn from toil and care?
    You can still be in the battle,
    In the sacred place of prayer.
  5. When the conflict here is ended
    And our race on earth is run,
    He will say, if we are faithful,
    “Welcome home, My child—well done!”

2 Kings 1 – 2

The Lord’s Judgment on Ahaziah & Elijah is Taken up to Heaven!

The Lord’s Judgment on Ahaziah

Ahaziah, Ahab’s son, is now king of Israel. He fell through the lattice in his upper room and hurt himself severely. Instead of seeking God, he sent for his messengers and said…

“Go and consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, to see if I will recover from this injury.”

The angel of the Lord sent Elijah to go to the messengers and ask this question:

“Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?’ Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘You will not leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!’”

The messengers then returned to King Ahaziah and told him what had happened. Then he sent a captain of his guard and 50 men with a message to Elijah!

“Then he sent to Elijah a captain with his company of fifty men. The captain went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, “Man of God, the king says, ‘Come down!’”

2 Kings 1:9

Elijah boldly answers the captain…

“If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!”

Then fire fell from heaven and consumed the captain and his men!!

Then Ahaziah sends another captain along with 50 more men and the exact same thing occurs! When Ahaziah sends yet another company of men, the third captain falls on his knees and begs Elijah not to send fire and kill him and his men. Elijah relents and goes with him to see Ahaziah.

So Elijah went down to see the king because God assured Him this was a part of His plan. Elijah now asks King Ahaziah the question once more..

Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?’

Then he goes on with this bold pronouncement from God…

“Because you have done this, you will never leave the bed you are lying on. You will certainly die!” So he died, according to the word of the Lord that Elijah had spoken.”

We ended 1 Kings with King Ahab not seeking God—but rather seeking his 400 ungodly prophets. Now today, as we begin 2 Kings, we find that his son Ahaziah is so very much like his evil father! He, too, would rather seek man than Yahweh—The Great I Am.

Let’s commit to running straight to God with our burdens and questions and failings and health issues and hurt. He is the only ONE who can heal and make us whole again. Why on EARTH would we want to run to anyone or anything else?! I feel like Google has become our “god.” Google has become our Baal-Zebub. The temptation is real! It’s sometimes easier to “run to Google” instead of running to God. Before Google or Social Media existed, we would run to “self-help” books and articles.

Here’s the deal—We need to run to God with any and every question and frustration we may have. God can take it! He loves it when we cry out in desperation to Him!

Elijah taken to Heaven!

God is about ready to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind. He and Elisha are are walking along the road from Gilgal. Elijah tells Elisha, “You stay here; the Lord has sent me to Bethel.”

But Elisha doesn’t want Elijah to go! So he says…

“As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.”

So together they go down to Bethel.

Then the company of the prophets at Bethel come out to Elisha and ask, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”

Elisha says, “Yes I know; but do not speak of it.”

I’m thinking Elisha is like you and me. He is essentially saying, “I know! I know! Don’t remind me! Can we just stop talking about it?!”

This happens two more times.

Finally, they are at the banks of the Jordan when Elijah takes his cloak and rolls it up and strikes the water with it. The water divides and they cross over on DRY LAND!

Sound familiar?

Elijah is an awful lot like Moses! This is the second time there has been a crossing of the Jordan River on dry land.

I absolutely love what happens next—

Elijah asks Elisha if there is anything he can do for him before God takes him!

And the only thing better than the great question is the incredible answer and request by Elisha…

Let me inherit a DOUBLE PORTION of your spirit.

Elijah tells him that he is asking something quite difficult. However, if he sees Elijah being taken up to heaven, then he can count on it!

Then I just love the beauty of this moment…

AS they are walking along, SUDDENLY a chariot of fire and horses appear and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind!

And Elisha saw it and exclaimed, “My father, my father! The chariots and the horsemen of Israel!”

Elisha then picks up the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and stands on the bank of the Jordan. He took the cloak and struck the water and it divided just as it had before with Elijah! The company of the prophets saw this and cried out,

“The spirit of the Elijah is resting on Elisha!”

And He was!

The torch had been passed! Elisha begins his ministry immediately by supplying fresh clean water for the people.

However, remember how I told you after a great victory, to get ready for a trial? Well, no sooner is Elisha the “new prophet in town” than the youths in town begin jeering at him, saying, “Go on up you bald head! Go on up you bald head!”

Well, Elisha calls down a curse on them and two bears come out of the woods and maul the 42 youths who were taunting him!

The moral of the story—Don’t mess with Elisha! 😊

No; the moral of the story is God is sovereign and God is watching . He will exalt the humble. He will bless the obedient! And He is simply waiting for us to CRY OUT TO HIM with our questions! To CRY OUT TO HIM for healing—physically, emotionally, relationally! “God cannot help but respond when we cry out in desperation to Him.”

Oh there is so much more!

Elijah getting to be USHERED INTO HEAVEN in a chariot of fire! Can you imagine! Elijah and Enoch are the only two in the entire Bible who never died. God just came and got them! “And Enoch walked with God and he was no more.”

Don’t you just love it?! I WANT TO BE LIKE ENOCH AND ELIJAH! I want to walk so closely with God that when I die, as I surely will, that I will simply be walking and talking with Jesus here on earth one minute and then the next, be on my face before Him on the other side of GLORY! He is so real to me now, I can only imagine that He will be EVEN MORE REAL TO ME THEN! I can hardly wait!!

1 Kings 22

Micaiah Prophesies Against Ahab & we get to briefly meet one of my Favorites—King Jehoshaphat! One of the GOOD KINGS!

1 Kings 22 begins with King Ahab asking King Jehoshaphat to go with him to fight against Ramoth Gilead. The godly King Jehoshaphat tells King Ahab to FIRST, SEEK the COUNSEL of the LORD.”

This is always excellent advice!

Yet I want you to note the very next sentence that follows Jehoshaphat’s good advice…

“So the king of Israel brought together the prophets—about four hundred men—and asked THEM, “Shall I go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?”

1 Kings 22:6

Your trusted and godly friend, and fellow king, just told you what to do, Ahab! But, NO! Instead of running to God, you run to “your” prophets and inquire of THEM! You have 400 of them! And they are not godly men!

Jehoshaphat wisely asks “Is there not even ONE prophet of the LORD that we can inquire of?”

King Ahab answers Jehoshaphat: “There is still one prophet through whom we can inquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophesies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.”

Whaa, whaa, whaa! Don’t you just love it! Sounds like Ahab is a bit of a cry baby! He definitely had issues!

One in 400 who is a godly prophet of the Lord! One prophet who stands alone amidst a sea of empty, evil men. His name is Micaiah. Don’t you love how God introduces us to these amazing people! I need their testimonies to help spur me on in my walk with Jesus on this place called planet Earth.

So King Jehoshaphat and King Ahab are seated next to one another on their royal thrones, dressed in their royal robes, with all of the prophets prophesying before them. All the prophets were saying the same thing: “Attack Ramoth Gilead and be victorious, for the Lord will give it into the king’s hand.”

The messenger that went to go get Micaiah essentially tells him, “Listen, we are all saying that the king will be successful. You better say the same thing!”

I love Micaiah’s response—

As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what the Lord tells me.”

When King Ahab first asks Micaiah, he seems to side with all the prophets; but Ahab knows he isn’t being honest. So he pushes him to tell the truth. This is what Macaiah says…

“I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the Lord said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.”

Micaiah is saying, “Ahab, you will lose if you go up against them!”

Ahab whines again, “Didn’t I tell you he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?”

Micaiah continues with the TRUTH whether Ahab likes it or not! He tells him, “The Lord has put a lying spirit in all of these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you!”

Zedekiah slaps Macaiah in the face and says, “Which way did the spirit of the Lord go when he went from me to speak to you?” Micaiah replied “You will find out in the day you run and hide in an upper room.”

King Ahab throws Micaiah in prison giving him only bread and water. Micaiah proclaims, “If you ever return safely, the Lord has not spoken through me. Mark my words all you people!”

So King Ahab decided to go into battle despite the warnings he was given. King Ahab tells King Jehoshaphat to wear his royal robes, and he will disguise himself so the people won’t know it’s him. But when the chariot commanders of Aram heard Jehoshaphat cry out, they realized it wasn’t Ahab and they quit pursuing him.

Then we see the PROVIDENCE and SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD as a soldier from Aram’s army drew his bow at RANDOM and hit king Ahab between the sections of his armor! It was a fatal wound; but he didn’t die immediately. All day long he was propped up in his chariot…bleeding to death. All of the things that Micaiah prophesied about him came true!

Here’s the deal—NOTHING is RANDOM in God’s economy. That arrow was more like a sin-seeking missile heading straight to the target God intended—sinful, evil, Ahab! King Ahab had continually disobeyed God and done evil in His sight. God is faithful to His promises—both the good promises and the ones we might not be so thrilled about. God warned Ahab, and Ahab ignored Him. Here is a truth we need to remember—We must never think that we can get away with sin. Even when we try to “disguise or cover up our sin,” God sees it and He will deal with it and with us.

“Do not be deceived! God is not mocked! Whatsoever a man sows that shall He also reap!”

King Ahab’s was buried in Samaria. They washed the blood out of his chariot in a pool where the prostitutes bathed, and the dogs licked up his blood just as the Word of the Lord declared.

Jehoshaphat King of Judah—GOOD KING! He reigned for 25 years.

We learn more about Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles, but here in 1 Kings 22, we learn that he was a GOOD KING! He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord!

“In everything he followed the ways of his father Asa and did not stray from them; he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. The high places, however, were not removed, and the people continued to offer sacrifices and burn incense there. Jehoshaphat was also at peace with the king of Israel.”

1 Kings 22:43-44

Ahaziah, King of Israel—BAD KING! He ruled for two years.

Ahaziah was Ahab’s son. Is it any wonder that he did EVIL in the eyes of the Lord?! You can’t have a daddy like Ahab and a momma like Jezebel and expect to not be affected by it.

“He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, because he followed the ways of his father and mother and of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin. He served and worshiped Baal and aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, just as his fatherhad done

Did you notice that in every mention of a “bad king” that King Jeroboam is mentioned? This is where it started—“Jeroboam, son of Nebat who caused Israel to sin. It is hard to get past the effects of sin—especially generational sins—the sins of the father. It is certainly possible; but one must be intentional about being different—being set apart.

I will close with the truth that I have shared many times already this year—SIN SPLATTERS! Sin does not just affect YOU. Sin affects everyone around you—especially the ones you love the most. That is why we must “walk by the spirit so we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” And “flee the very appearance of evil.”

1 Kings 19 – 21

The Lord appears to Elijah—“The Lord is about to pass by!”

After Elijah had run in fear from the evil Jezebel, he became very depressed. He sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die!

“I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors!” Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.

An angel of the Lord came and attended him and fed him bread and water for two nights in a row. Then strengthened by the food, he was able to travel 40 days and 40 nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God where he went into a cave and spent the night.

Then the word of the Lord came to him and asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left,and now they are trying to kill me too.”

1 Kings 19:10

Do you hear the despair in his voice?

I love God’s response to his desperate situation and helplessness…

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

God’s PRESENCE is enough!

When everything feels too weighty to bear. When nothing seems to be going your way. When it seems all hope is gone…look up my child! Your redemption draweth nigh!! God is on the way! He is about to SHOW UP, just when you need Him! Just in the “nick of time!”

Then I love the power of these verses as they describe the incredibly diverse attributes of God…

“Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lordwas not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.”

1 Kings 19:11-13

God wasn’t in the wind. He wasn’t in the earthquake. He wasn’t in the fire! But He was in the GENTLE WHISPER! Oh the great characteristics and attributes of our God!! He alone gets to choose how He reveals Himself to us. He could have shown up BIG TIME in the earth quake or in the strong wind or in the fire! But no. This time…He reveals Himself to Elijah through a gentle whisper. I’ve known God to use this attribute most of all with me. He is a gentleman. He will not yell. He will not shout. He speaks softly to me. He sings songs over me in the night. “He tells me I am His own.” He speaks through His Word and the working of the Holy Spirit. I hear Him as He whispers… “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening. I want to know that you’re here. I want to know I’m obeying You fully. Tear down any idol or fear. In the silence..in the silence I hear You whisper.”

God asks Elijah one more time, “What are you doing here?”

Elijah answers, word for word, the same way he answered before. But something is different. He has just experienced God’s Presence and he will never be the same—even though he may still FEEL the same. God is on the move in his life! He is ready to invite Elijah to anoint Elisha to join him and then eventually succeed him as God’s prophet.

Elisha initially tells Elijah “Let me go say goodbye to my family first; but then he takes his yoke of oxen and slaughters them. He essentially surrendered his livelihood to follow God. He wouldn’t have anything to “fall back on.”

1 Kings 21 brings us back to King Ahab and concludes with these words,

“There was never anyone like Ahab, who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, urged on by Jezebel his wife. He behaved in the vilest manner by going after idols, like the Amorites the Lord drove out before Israel.)

1 Kings 21:25-26

When Ahab hears these words, he humbles himself by tearing his robes and putting on sackcloth and he fasts.

Then we see an incredible picture of God’s GRACE…

“Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.”

1 Kings 21:28-29

Do you see that?! That is a picture of GRACE! Amazing Grace on display for all to see!! Now THAT’s MY KING!!

1 Kings 18

Elijah on Mount Carmel

Elijah on Mount Carmel

I know I said it yesterday, but I simply must say it one more time!

When everything seems impossibly dark, God provides a LIGHT that shines in the darkness. This time, Elijah is that LIGHT!

God sent Elijah just the right time! He’s the hero of the moment empowered by God! He is a SHINING LIGHT in the midst of all the darkness!

I love that Elijah is tucked right in here as the one person who is sold out to God in the midst of this dark evil place! I love his commitment and fervency for God! There is one other who worships Yahweh that we get to meet today as well. His name is Obadiah. He loved God from the time he was a little boy. Obadiah had seen all that Jezebel had been doing…killing off all of the prophets of Yahweh. So he took 100 of them and hid them in a cave! He had 50 in one cave and 50 in another.

Elijah finds Obadiah and tells him to go to King Ahab and tell him that after three years, it’s finally going to rain! Obadiah is afraid because King Ahab is so evil; he knows that if he goes and tells Ahab to meet Elijah and Elijah doesn’t show, he will kill him! But Elijah reassures him that he will be there.

Elijah meets with King Ahab. When Ahab sees Elijah, he says,

“Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”

Elijah responds…

“I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

I kings 18:18-19

So Elijah summons all the people of Israel, and all the prophets of Baal— 450 of them. And all the prophets of Ashererah—400 of them! He asks them this powerful question—

“How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”

1 Kings 18:21

Who are you going to serve—Baal or Yahweh?

“And the people said nothing!”

Did you hear that?!

The people said nothing!

Do you hear the apathy?

Do you see these people that are supposed to be God’s chosen people saying nothing?

This is where we are today I’m afraid! God is gathering all of us together to meet with him to ask us to choose whom we will serve in the midst of this crisis called coronavirus. Are we going to choose apathy? Are we going to choose whining? Are we going to choose anger? Are we going to choose bitterness? Are we going to choose the fighting and hate?! Or are we going to choose to stand in AWE OF YAHWEH?! Are we going to fall on our faces, prostrate before a Holy God asking Him to “heal our land!” To heal our hearts! To heal those who are experiencing the affects of the coronavirus!

The Show-Down between God and Baal!

So Elijah tells the people to take two bulls. They will take one and sacrifice it and call out to Baal. And Elijah will take the other one and cry out to God.

“Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.”

1 Kings 18:24

Elijah says, “The one who answers by fire… He is God!”

So the Israelites take the bull and place it on the wood and they begin to cry out to their gods—to Baal and to Asherah. They cried out from morning till noon slashing themselves and they hear nothing. No one answers! All the way up until evening…Silence! I love Elijah’s taunt…

“At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.”

So Elijah calls all of the people to come to him. He repairs the altar and he brings twelve stones, one for each of the tribes of Israel, and he set it up around the altar. He then placed the sacrifice on the altar and tells his servants to pour four large jars of water on the fire and on on the stones and on the sacrifice. He then digs a mote around the sacrifice and the water fills the trenches.

He tells them to do this three times!

Then Elijah prays and cries out to God,

“Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

1 Kings 18:36-37

God answers him! GOD ANSWERS WITH FIRE! Yes, indeed, He is God! All the people cried…”The LORD—He is God! The LORD—He is God!!” Oh yes He is!

The fire not only burns the sacrifice, but it burns the wood and even the stones and it “licks up all the water,” even the water that is in the trenches! And the people stand in awe of a holy God!

Then Elijah had all of the prophets of Baal killed!

The Coming Rain!

Elijah tells Ahab that a heavy rain is about to come! Elijah climbs to the top of Mount Carmel and puts his face between his knees. He tells his servant to go and look toward the sea. Seven times he sends him back and the servant returns saying he sees nothing. However, on that last and seventh time, the servant returns and says…

“A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”

Then Elijah tells the servant to go tell Ahab to go before the rain overtakes him! The sky grows dark and the winds begin to blow and it begins to rain a heavy rain for the first time in three years! Then I love what happens…

“The power of the Lord came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

1 Kings 18:46

Then something stunning occurs! The very next day, after this incredible victory on Mount Carmel, we find Elijah running in fear…running away from the crazy woman, Jezebel! Every time I get to this passage, I wonder, “Why would he do that!?” He had just seen God reveal Himself in such an incredible miraculous way! Why was he now running in fear of a woman?

Here’s what I know:

After every victory there will come a trial! After every huge mountain top experience, there will be a valley. We have to be prepared for the valleys after we celebrate the mountains! We have to run to God, and not run from the trial! We have to run to his Word! We have to run to Him and cry out to Him because he’s the only One who will answer!

Oh Father, I praise you! You were Yahweh then and You are Yahweh now!

I want to leave you with this question as we close today. I heard it from my “friend“ that I used to listen to every day on the radio until God called him home. His name is Larry Burkette and he is a Christian financial planner. He would ask this question every day..

“Do you TRUST God…or do you just SAY you trust God?”

That’s the question I have to ask myself every day. I’m going through some health struggles that I’ve never experienced before. My doctor says my heart is 100% strong after a recent heart stress test and echocardiogram. Both of my doctors say it must be stress. I’m choosing to do some things differently so that I can continue to serve my King! And I am waking up every morning praying, Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing but in everything through prayer and petition with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God and the peace that passes all understanding will guard your heart and your mind through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I’m choosing to spend more time on my face in worship! I know God is moving me to give something up. I don’t know yet what that is; but I’m seeking Him with all my heart so that I will do exactly what he’s telling me to do.

‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus”

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

I’m so glad I learned to trust Him,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend
And I know that He is with me,
Will be with me to the end.

Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood
And in simple faith to plunge me
‘Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

1 Kings 16 – 17

A bunch of BAD KINGS; one REALLY BAD KING—Ahab—and the Prophet Elijah! When everything seems impossibly dark, God provides a LIGHT that shines in the darkness. This time, Elijah is that LIGHT!

Three BAD KINGS of Israel!

I am going to continue to include the chart of all of the Kings of Israel and Judah that I shared with you yesterday so that we can continue to keep things organized in our minds. There are many great charts and timelines online as well. It’s just helpful for me to see these kings side by side because I can then better understand which kings were serving when, and who was serving their kingdoms with them at the same time.

Elah—BAD KING—ruled Israel 2 years.

Elah was King of Israel and only served 2 years. He was a BAD KING! Zimri, his official, plotted against Elah and killed him while he was getting drunk in the home of a man named Arza. Zimri then succeeded him as king.

Zimri—BAD KING—ruled Israel for 7 days!

After killing Elah, Zimri also killed off the entire house of Baasha. This fulfilled the prophecy against Baasha because of his evil ways!

“So Zimri destroyed the whole family of Baasha, in accordance with the word of the Lordspoken against Baasha through the prophet Jehu—because of all the sins Baasha and his son Elah had committed and had caused Israel to commit, so that they aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, by their worthless idols.”

1 Kings 16:12-13

When the Israelites heard that Zimri had plotted against their king and murdered him, they proclaimed their commanding officer, Omri, king of Israel that very day! The entire army went up against Zimri while he was there in Tirzah, and they laid siege to the city. Zimri ran to the palace and went into the citadel and set it in fire all around him and he died. He essentially committed suicide. I like what David Guzik and Campbell Morgan have to say about Zimri’s suicide:

Zimri is one of the few suicides in the Bible, along with Samson (Judges 9:54), Saul (1 Samuel 31:4) and Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23).

i. The Bible never approves of suicide. It is sin; the sin of self-murder. Yet we are wrong if we regard it as the unforgivable sin, and anyone who does commit suicide has given in to the lies and deceptions of Satan, whose purpose is to kill and destroy (John 10:10).

ii. “Suicide is always the ultimate action of cowardice. In the case of Saul, and in many similar cases, it is perfectly natural; but let it never be glorified as heroic. It is the last resort of the man who dare not stand up to life.” (Morgan)

Omri—BAD KING—ruled Israel for 12 years.

Omri was a bad king! “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord and sinned more than all of the kings before him.” He provoked the Lord to anger by all of his worthless idols! When Omri died, his son, Ahab, succeeded him as king.

Ahab—VERY BAD KING! He ruled over Israel 22 years!

Ahab was a horrible king! He was worse than all the others before him! He was casual and thought nothing about bowing down to idols and worshiping them. He also married the evil woman, Jezebel.

“Ahab son of Omri did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him. He not only considered it trivial to commit the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but he also married Jezebel daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and began to serve Baal and worship him. He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. Ahab also made an Asherah pole and did more to arouse the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel, than did all the kings of Israel before him.”

1 Kings 16:30-33

God sends a Light in the midst of all this darkness—The Prophet Elijah!

I don’t know why, but I feel like singing the old Mighty Mouse song… “Here I come to save the day!” 😊 We know that it is NOT Elijah that comes to “save the day.” It is God who “saves the day” through the the person of his prophet Elijah whom He has called “for such a time as this.” Aren’t you grateful that God is always watching and always ready to shine the LIGHT OF HIS PRESENCE in the midst of our dark places! Oh how we need an Elijah! Oh how we need our SAVIOR!!

This is the very first time we get to meet Elijah! Here we are studying and learning about all of the kings, most of who are BAD and doing evil in the sight of the Lord and here comes Elijah…seemingly “out of the blue.” He comes with a powerful message for wicked King Ahab—

”As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”

1 Kings 17:1

“Here’s the deal, Ahab! It isn’t going to rain for about 3 years unless I tell I say so!” Wow! In an agricultural society, this is a death sentence.

Did you know that anywhere in the Bible where there is a lack of rain or famine, it is in direct correlation to the godlessness of His people. The wicked people are already wicked. It is GOD’S PEOPLE who need the discipline. God uses this to get their (our) attention!

After God tells Elijah to deliver this report to Ahab, He tells him to go and hide east of the Jordan. God then uses ravens to feed him—bread and meat in the morning and evening—and leads him to a brook where he can get fresh water each day.

And Elijah did exactly what the Lord told him to do! Elijah is so faithful to listen to God and then obey and do what God tells him to do!

Then when the brook dried up, God told Elijah to go to a town called Zarephath. He told him there would be a widow who would provide him worn food. Again, Elijah listens and obeys! So when Elijah got there he saw a widow gathering sticks near the town gate. He said, “Please bring me some water, and a piece of bread.” And she responds…

”As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”

1 Kings 17:12

You see, the famine was so severe, she knew she and her son were about to die. She was getting ready to make one last meal for her son. But then HOPE ARRIVES!! An excepted visitor asking for something unexpected. Her last meal! But Elijah consoles her…

”Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”

1 Kings 17:13-14

Do you see it?! HOPE! PROMISE!! FUTURE! “The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land!” HOPE! If you obey and do what I ask…you will not die!

So she did exactly what Elijah had told her to do! And there was food every day for her and Elijah and her son! For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah!!

Oh somebody say HALLELUJAH! This is MIRACULOUS INDEED!!

We learn that sometime later, the widow’s son becomes ill and dies. The widow is devastated and goes to Elijah asking what he has against her, that God would take her son!

Elijah says, “Give me your son,” and he takes the boy and brings him up to his room upstairs and lays him on his bed. Then he cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”

Then we read the greatest words ever…

“The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived!”

The Lord heard Elijah’s cry! God always hears us when we CRY OUT TO HIM!! “Seek and ye shall find. Ask and it shall be given. Knock and the door will be opened!” That’s my God! He is just waiting for us to cry out to Him in prayer so He can BLOW US AWAY with His MIRACULOUS, ALL-POWERFUL WAYS!

Elijah brought the boy back downstairs to his sweet momma and said, “Look, your son is alive!”

Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.”

We will continue to see this “MAN OF GOD” used by God in miraculous ways in tomorrow’s readings!

As I shared in the beginning of today’s blog:

When everything seems impossibly dark, God provides a LIGHT that shines in the darkness. This time, Elijah is that LIGHT! We know of another LIGHT that has transformed our lives—His Name is JESUS!

1 Kings 14:21 – 16:7

It STARTS!! Good King/Bad King!

Notes in my Daily Bible
Notes in my Daily Bible

The Kings of Judah and the Kings of Israel!

Today’s reading in 1 Kings begins one of my most favorite extensive studies in God’s Word. I call it “Good King/Bad King!” It is a study of all of the kings from Israel and Judah.

I remember the first time I read through God’s Word from cover to cover, way back in the year 2000. I was blown away at all of the kings that followed David and Solomon, and how many did EVIL in the sight of God. It pained me to read of their rebellion and sin when God was the One who had rescued them from bondage and had given them everything that they now enjoyed!

It reminded me of us. It reminded me of how rebellious and ungrateful we can become if we don’t take time to REMEMBER the way God rescued us, and how He is the One who gives us everything! All I have and all I am is because of God’s Grace and Blessings and Goodness in my life!

Rehoboam—King of Judah. BAD KING! Ruled 17 years.

As we begin writing about the various details of these kings—both of Judah and then of Israel—it is important to note that there were actually VERY FEW kings who “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.” Most did evil in the sight of the Lord. As you can see from the first chart above, the GOOD KINGS all came from Judah—but there still weren’t very many who were good, and even fewer still who “finished well.”

Rehoboam was Solomon’s son. He was king over Judah, and he reigned 17 years. He did EVIL in the eyes of the Lord. In my Bible I like to write down how many years they reigned as long, and whether they were a “GOOD” or “BAD” King. I also like to note who their mothers are as well as how old they were when they became king. It’s just so interesting to me how these factors often weigh into whether they followed after God or not.

Rehoboam was definitely a BAD KING. He did evil in the sight of God. He, along with the people, set up “high places” to worship other gods. They even had male shrine prostitutes!

”They also set up for themselves high places, sacred stones and Asherah poles on every high hill and under every spreading tree. There were even male shrine prostitutes in the land; the people engaged in all the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.”

1 Kings 14:23-24

One common denominator of a GOOD KING was that they tore down the “high places” of idol worship and the Asherah poles. Very few did what God had commanded them to do. Rehoboam obviously did not. The king of Egypt, Shishak, attacked Jerusalem and carried off all of the treasures of the temple and the palace.

Abijah—King of Judah. BAD KING! Ruled 3 years.

He did evil in the sight of the Lord!

“He committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been. 4 Nevertheless, for David’s sake the Lord his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem by raising up a son to succeed him and by making Jerusalem strong. 5 For David had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord and had not failed to keep any of the Lord’s commands all the days of his life—except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.”

1 Kings 15:3-5

Abijah did evil in the sight of the Lord and only reigned for three years. He did all of the sins of his father before him. I love that God mentions how David’s heart was fully committed to God. Even though David obviously sins big time, God still remembers him as a “man after God’s own heart.” Don’t you love the GRACE OF GOD?! He isn’t asking us to be perfect. He’s looking at our hearts. When we mess up, do we turn to Him? Do we confess our sin and repent, like David? Or do we run deeper into sin or completely ignore Him as so many often do.

Asa—King of Judah! GOOD KING! Yay! 😊 Ruled 41 years.

Yay!! A GOOD KING! Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord! Hallelujah!! Finally! 🙌

”Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as his father David had done. He expelled the male shrine prostitutes from the land and got rid of all the idols his ancestors had made. He even deposed his grandmother Maakah from her position as queen mother, because she had made a repulsive image for the worship of Asherah. Asa cut it down and burned it in the Kidron Valley. Although he did not remove the high places, Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life.”

1 Kings 15:11-14

I love Asa! I love his boldness! He got rid of all the idols and even deposed his grandmother who had made a repulsive image for the worship of Asherah. Now that was a bold move! I know God was pleased with his desire to be holy…to be set apart.

Nadab—King of Israel. BAD KING! Ruled 2 years.

Nadab was the son of Jeroboam and he, too, was an evil king. He only ruled for two years. King Baasha struck Nadab down and killed him as well as the entire family of Jeroboam.

“As soon as he began to reign, he killed Jeroboam’s whole family. He did not leave Jeroboam anyone that breathed, but destroyed them all, according to the word of the Lord given through his servant Ahijah the Shilonite. This happened because of the sins Jeroboam had committed and had caused Israel to commit, and because he aroused the anger of the Lord, the God of Israel.”

1 Kings 15:29-30

Baasha—King of Israel. BAD KING! Ruled 24 years.

King Baasha did evil in the eyes of the Lord, “following the ways of Jeroboam and committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit.”

“Then the word of the Lord came to Jehu son of Hanani concerning Baasha: “I lifted you up from the dust and appointed you ruler over my people Israel, but you followed the ways of Jeroboam and caused my people Israel to sin and to arouse my anger by their sins. So I am about to wipe out Baasha and his house, and I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat. Dogs will eat those belonging to Baasha who die in the city, and birds will feed on those who die in the country.”

1 Kings 16:1-4

Do not be deceived. God is watching! Just like these kings could not “do evil in the sight of the Lord” and get away with it; neither can we. As Christians God has called us to be image-bearers. He has placed us in places where we can impact others for the cause of Christ. We may not be “kings,” but we are children of THE KING! Let us be careful to “Let our lights so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

I want to be careful to “tear down any high place” in my life that is not pleasing to my King! Oh that the Israelites would have seen that they never a king to rule over them. They had a perfect, Holy King—but they rejected Him! I pray we would allow KING JESUS to rule over us every single day! He will treat us as princes and princesses, not subjects for we are indeed CHILDREN OF THE KING!