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Archive for the ‘Thoughts on the Word’ Category

How To Find God, Lesson 1

Posted by Andrea Graham on April 19, 2007

This is a “work sheet” so to speak, designed for new Christians and anyone else who feels they need to exercise their meditation muscles. Feel free to save this page to your desktop, if you wish. I also recommend printing these pages out, both for personal use and use in a discipleship setting. While I still prefer that you notify me first, you do have my full permission to share and or distribute this booklet (provided you’re not charging the recipient, that is. You don’t have to share the $, I don’t want people charging for this in the first place is all) If you really find these exercises helpful, you can use these same methods to study other passages from the bible.Instructions:

Before each lesson (there are six in all, each using a different passage from the bible), pray for God to speak to you through His word what He wants you to learn and ask him to open your heart to understanding the word. Then, read the passage. After you have read the passage, ask the Lord to reveal one particular verse to focus on. Write the verse down on a sheet of paper. Then meditate on that verse (read it over several times, prayerfully seeking the truth in the verse) for several minutes, then, with that verse in mind, reread the passage, praying for God to show you how the passage as a whole impacts this special word. Write down anything the lord shows you in the passage. Read what you have written, praying for the lord to show you anything you’ve written that is not from him. It is suggested that you then prayerfully re-read the passage, but this is optional. Some exercises include supplemental readings that you are encouraged to read that could be useful in your seeking. If you seek Him honestly in this, He will speak to you this way!

LESSON ONE:

An easy (but nonetheless important) one to start31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

33They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, “You will be made free’?”

34Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

—John 8:31-36, NKJV

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The Bible On… Biblical Authority

Posted by Andrea Graham on April 19, 2007

Commandments on:

Deuteronomy 4:2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.
Consequenses of:
1 Corinthians 15:1-4
1 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
James 1:22-25
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.
John 12:48-50
[Jesus said] 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.49 For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
Defenses of:
2 Corinthians 4:2-5
2 We have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake
Luke 1:1-4
1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled [1] among us,2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.3 Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
2 Peter 1:21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
2Peter 3:15-16
15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
Defining:
2 Timothy 3:14-16
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

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The Bible On… Biblical Authority

Posted by Andrea Graham on April 19, 2007

Commandments on:

Deuteronomy 4:2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.
Consequenses of:
1 Corinthians 15:1-4
1 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
James 1:22-25
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.
John 12:48-50
[Jesus said] 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.49 For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
Defenses of:
2 Corinthians 4:2-5
2 We have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake
Luke 1:1-4
1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled [1] among us,2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.3 Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
2 Peter 1:21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
2Peter 3:15-16
15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
Defining:
2 Timothy 3:14-16
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Posted in The Bible On . . . | Leave a Comment »

Meditations on 2 Kings 16

Posted by Adam Graham on December 6, 2006

2 Kings only provides a brief overview of the massive wickedness of King Ahaz. Ahaz was a wicked king who sacrificed much for his gods and himself:

But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel. (v.3)

The act of having the King’s son offered to a pagan God was abhorrent. Like many today, he sacrificed his children for his own ends.

It was a sign of depravity and the lack of a fear of God that would play itself out in national affairs when Judah was invaded.

His plan: Loot the House of the Lord to buy off the King of Assyria:

And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king’s house, and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria.

And the king of Assyria hearkened unto him: for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin.

And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that was at Damascus: and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof.

And Urijah the priest built an altar according to all that king Ahaz had sent from Damascus: so Urijah the priest made it against king Ahaz came from Damascus.

And when the king was come from Damascus, the king saw the altar: and the king approached to the altar, and offered thereon.

And he burnt his burnt offering and his meat offering, and poured his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his peace offerings, upon the altar.

And he brought also the brasen altar, which was before the LORD, from the forefront of the house, from between the altar and the house of the LORD, and put it on the north side of the altar.

And king Ahaz commanded Urijah the priest, saying, Upon the great altar burn the morning burnt offering, and the evening meat offering, and the king’s burnt sacrifice, and his meat offering, with the burnt offering of all the people of the land, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings; and sprinkle upon it all the blood of the burnt offering, and all the blood of the sacrifice: and the brasen altar shall be for me to enquire by.

Thus did Urijah the priest, according to all that king Ahaz commanded.

And king Ahaz cut off the borders of the bases, and removed the laver from off them; and took down the sea from off the brasen oxen that were under it, and put it upon the pavement of stones.

And the covert for the sabbath that they had built in the house, and the king’s entry without, turned he from the house of the LORD for the king of Assyria.-vs. 8-18

Ahaz committed such acts of sacrilege that few foreign kings have been so audacious. It is reminder both of the importance of Godly leaders and Godly people.

Ahaz took the small and free state his father had left him and turned it into a Vassal of Assyria. The consequences of his actions would be felt for generations.

There’s also something to be said of a people that slowly but surely had turned itself from God. To the discredit of Judah, there was no Judas Maccaeus to stand against the paganism of the King.

There was a prophet by the name of Isaiah, whose words fell on deaf ears. Ahaz’s reign marked a terrible turning point in the history of Judah. During the following century plus, Judah would be blessed with two of its most righteous kings, but their righteous deeds could not survive the wickedness of a people that had begun to view the Word of God as common and heeded not his warning. From the story of Judah, we learn God is loving and long-suffering, but that his judgment doesn’t sleep forever.

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Meditations on 2 Kings 13

Posted by Adam Graham on September 6, 2006

2 Kings 13 begins with a discussion of the wicked reign of Jehoahaz in Israel. As a result of his wickedness, God delivered Israel into the hands of Syria. Jehoahaz besought the Lord and God delivered Israel yet, “Nevertheless they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who made Israel sin, but walked therein; and there remained the Asherah poles also in Samaria.” (v. 6)

Too often, we cry to God for help and when it comes, we are not thankful. We continue to walk in sin and unrighteousness rather than turning ourselves fully to the Lord our God, and as a result our relief is only temporary because it’s just a matter of time until we pay the wages of sin, which is death.

Next we come to the story of the Prophet Elisha’s death:

Now Elisha had fallen sick with his sickness whereof he died. And Jehoash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, “O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof!”

And Elisha said unto him, “Take bow and arrows.” And he took unto him a bow and arrows.

And he said to the king of Israel, “Put thine hand upon the bow.” And he put his hand upon it, and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands.

And he said, “Open the window eastward.” And he opened it. Then Elisha said, “Shoot.” And he shot. And he said, “The arrow of the LORD’S deliverance and the arrow of deliverance from Syria, for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek till thou have consumed them.”

And he said, “Take the arrows.” And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, “Smite upon the ground.” And he smote thrice, and ceased.

And the man of God was wroth with him and said, “Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times. Then had thou smitten Syria till thou had consumed it, whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.” vs. 14-19

This is an interesting story in scripture? Why the smiting of the ground with arrows? Like the call for Naaman to go and wash in the Jordan, this really comes down to a question: How much do you want God to move? How much do you believe he’ll move? Are you willing to do something that may look a little silly because God says so? That’s the test of faith. The Challenge to Joash was to believe that God was a mighty deliverer, yet he couldn’t grasp it. He knew what a great man Elisha was and how much he meant to Israel, but he could not grasp the importance of following the Lord’s command. Let’s be willing to grasp fully onto the Lord’s deliverance and not hold back:

And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulcher of Elisha. And when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood up on his feet.-vs. 20, 21

Elisha did God’s work even after he was dead. While no one may come to life from touching our dead bones, there are many ways we can continue to serve God after we’re dead.

Writers and ministers can continue to speak, even if their pulpit is reduced to a dusty spot in the library. Long after they’ve passed from one life to the next, they continue to speak the words of truth–the words of God. Think of Matthew Henry, or Spurgeon, or AW Tozer. Their works speak for them.

Those who have money can use their money to set up endowments and trusts that will nourish and provide for needs of people and for Kingdom work long after they’re gone.

Parents, by raising and shaping their children to be Godly men and women, can have an impact on this world that lasts beyond their lifetime.

Our goal should be the service of God, and to continue that service as long as possible. The Bible tells us that at the River of Jordan when Joshua crossed the Jordan, they left stones at the Jordan River as a memorial to remind their descendants. Southern Gospel group Legacy sings a song, “Where are the monuments we should be building so our children can find the way home. We should be laying stones so they can follow the pathway that leads to God’s throne.”

Amen. Let us leave behind a Godly legacy for those who follow after.

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Meditations on 2 Kings 10-12

Posted by Adam Graham on August 28, 2006

In 2 Kings 10, Jehu finished his destruction of the sons of Ahab, as Jehoram’s servants chose to bow to the might of Jehu’s sword rather than defending their charges.

Jehu then had to handle the worshipers and priests of Baal and for that he needed help:

And when he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him: and he saluted him, and said to him, Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered, It is. If it be, give me thine hand. And he gave him his hand; and he took him up to him into the chariot.

And he said, Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD. So they made him ride in his chariot.-2 Kings 10:15, 16

The Bible tells us that Jonadab was the head of a house called the Rechabites and that he was a strict man who laid down rules for his family that would be followed generations later in the days of Jeremiah, Jeremiah 35: 6,7:

But they said, We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever:

Neither shall ye build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any: but all your days ye shall dwell in tents; that ye may live many days in the land where ye be strangers.-Jeremiah 35:6,7

Jonadab was devout, but was Jehu?

But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin. v. 31

In killing the sons of Ahab and destroying the child-sacrificing religion of Baal, Jehu’s heart was not towards righteousness. He made a political decision. Getting rid of Ahab’s sons would solidify his political power, as would destroying Baal worship. There’s a thought that we can take from this. When someone claims to have a great zeal for God, are they being honest, or are they, like Jehu, using God’s will towards their own end? Once doing God’s will stopped being politically advantagous, Jehu stopped caring about the Lord and his ways, taking no heed. Such men can be ruinous with false piety that deceives even the faithful.

Jehu dies and then Jehoahaz reigned in his stead.

Next, we’re told the story of Athaliah who, on finding out of her son’s death, ordered all the King’s sons slain. Had she succeeded, she would have destroyed the entire house of David and effectively made the fulfillment of God’s promises to David impossible. Thankfully, the Lord intervened and a baby by the name of Joash was saved and kept alive by the high priest Jehoiada. When the child was seven, Jehoiada staged a coup, removing the wicked Athaliah from power. This serves as a reminder that God always keeps his promises, though certainly those who didn’t know that Joash lived doubted how God would fulfil his promises, God was still faithful and his plan was not thwarted by the wickedness of Athaliah.

In 2 Kings 12, we have two stories. The first was of Joash’s efforts to repair the house of the Lord. He ordered the priests to take the money they received and to repair the breaches in the House of the Lord. In the 23rd year of his reign, he noticed this wasn’t done, so he ordered them to cease taking money from their acquaintences, but rather to repair the breaches.

Jehoiada then placed a wooden box by the door of the house of the Lord and the people of God filled it up and he took it to Joash, saying the money had been “found” in the House of the Lord. The repairs were then completed.

From this we can learn that if we want to see something done in the local church, it is required that we put our money where our mouth is. As much as churches do, more could be done with generosity of Christians towards the work of the Lord. In one church my wife and I were in, they had a place on the offering envelope for a pew fund. The pastor’s wife advised us we should put money in the fund when we get tired of being poked by the springs.

If you don’t think your church is doing enough for the poor, have you given to the Alms fund? If you don’t think the level of your church’s support for missions is sufficient, have you supported the mission’s fund? Have you asked about filling the needs of the church?

Consider that for decades, there had been breeches in the House of the Lord and that so many people simply walked past. No rich merchant said, “How can I help repair the breeches?” Rather, mass fundraising efforts were required to make up what was needed to have the House of the Lord in good repair.

Then Hazael king of Syria went up, and fought against Gath, and took it: and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem.

And Jehoash king of Judah took all the hallowed things that Jehoshaphat, and Jehoram, and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own hallowed things, and all the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of the LORD, and in the king’s house, and sent it to Hazael king of Syria: and he went away from Jerusalem. vs. 17, 18

This is an important point. Too often in today’s society, we overuse the term “people of faith.” Anyone, who adheres to a religion is considered a person of faith. I’d suggest, we need to examine ourselves. A person of religion understands facts about God and mentally accepts his presence in reality. A person of faith believes in Who God is and bases his life around it.

While, there’s more evidence of this in 2 Chronicles, what this illustrates is that while Joash was a man of religion, he was not a man of faith. So many times, this game was played in the history of Judah where the House of God would be emptied to appease the wrath of a foreign king.

The act of bribery shows a deficiency in faith, a lack of it. It says, “God, I don’t trust you to take care of me.” It was done by Hezekiah, who despite his great trust in the Lord, stumbled and relied on a bribe to keep the King of Assyria at bay.

Every time a king did this, he turned from faith in God to faith in money. Hezekiah falling into this trap reminds us that even the best may stumble, but we all must grow to truly become people of faith.

Linked to Pursuing Holiness, Third World County, Random Yak,

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Meditations on 2 Kings 9

Posted by Adam Graham on August 17, 2006

This chapter marks the end of a bloody dynasty. King Ahab had been told his house would perish. King Ahaziah knew, and so did King Jehoram. Yet, they persisted in their wickedness.

I do not believe prophesy is given with the goal or intent of only letting people know of their certain doom. Rather, it is given with the hope that we will see our wicked ways and turn from it.

In the book of Jonah, God pronounced destruction on the City of Ninevah, yet when the people repented, he turned from his intention and spared the city. What happened with Joram was that he didn’t turn. He put aside the worship of Baal, but continued in the sins of Jeroboam that had caused Israel to sin. God reached to Jehoram in many ways, but at each turn God found Himself ignored and forgotten. After 12 years of Jehoram on the throne, the time of judgment was at hand.

Elisha sent a young prophet to anoint Jehu and give him God’s command to destroy the house of Ahab.

Once getting his mission from God, Jehu, like a laser beam, was off. He focused on fulfilling the Lord’s command and ending the reign of Jehoram. Messengers were sent and Jehu told them to go behind him. At this point, the King of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah (who was visiting) rode out to meet Jehu in field of Naboth the Jezreelite.

The location is important because it was this field Jezebel acquired by having Naboth killed. And it was after this that God pronounced judgment against the House of Ahab. Think about that. A kingdom fell by the ordinance of God because it stole a poor man’s land through murder.

This should cause those of us who seek justice in our lives to be at ease, God brings justice. It is a defining characteristic. It doesn’t sleep. Though, it is sometimes delayed, it will not be denied. It should also cause us to beware how we treat others. Relatively small injustices can have major consequences if we are recalcitrant.

Jehu killed the two kings. Ahaziah escaped from Jehu directly and made it to Megiddo. Jehu arrived at the palace and asked who was on his side and three eunichs emerged. He ordered Jezebel cast down from the window and he trampled her with his horses.

After eating a meal (and I have no understanding of how one has an appetite at that time,) he ordered Jezebel buried, but they found only her skull, her feet and the palm of her hands.

Therefore they came back and told him. And he said, “This is the word of the LORD, which He spoke by His servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, `In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel. v. 36

Scary, yes, but it’s a reminder that God will not be mocked and he doesn’t play games. The innocent deaths of God’s prophets and of a poor land owner at the hand of that woman was avenged in God’s time, just as he promised.

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Meditation on 2 Kings 8

Posted by Adam Graham on August 10, 2006

Elisha warned the woman, whose son he had raised, of a famine that would come on the land for seven years. She was able to escape the famine. She returned to find her house and her land gone. But, the Lord had remembered her kindness and was already moving on her behalf. King Jehoram was talking to Elisha’s leprous former servant Gehazzi when she came to plead for her land:

And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed unto her a certain officer, saying, “Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now.” V. 6

This was the power of her testimony, because she had lived the life of a giver, opening her heart and home to God and His Servants, God continued to bless and take care of her.

The next section has Hazael, a servant of the King of Syria coming to visit Elisha to ask whether the King would recover:

And Elisha said unto him, “Go, say unto him, `Thou mayest certainly recover’. However the LORD hath shown me that he shall surely die.”

And he fixed his countenance steadfastly until Hazael was ashamed; and the man of God wept.

And Hazael said, “Why weepeth my lord?” And he answered, “Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel. Their strongholds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child.”

And Hazael said, “But what, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?” And Elisha answered, “The LORD hath shown me that thou shalt be king over Syria.” vs. 10-13

Hazael returned and killed his master and became king. The sad lot of a prophet is that not all the news is good news or what you’d like to deliver. You don’t just see the sunny side of life, but the dark foreboding of the pain that sin will bring your land.

Prophets weep. It comes with the job.

The chapter ends describing the rise and reigns of two kings of Judah, Joram and Ahaziah. Both did wickedly and were influenced by the house of Ahab due to their father, Jehoshaphat’s decision to intermarry with that house. It led a whole nation astray.

Sadly, of all Jehoshaphat’s works of faith and righteousness, his compromise with sin led his nation to ruin. He sought peace, peace at the price of holiness, in that he joined himself in alliance to King Ahab, despite Ahab’s persecution of the Lord’s prophets and the wickedness of Queen Jezebel.

New Testament Christians are commanded in 2. Corinthians 6:14 not to be “unevenly yoked” with unbelievers. While we may at times work with unbelievers, the danger when we join ourselves to them in marriage or any other permanent venture is that with different values, they will lead us on the road to compromise.

In the case of Jehoshaphat, his children and his nation were led to the point of ruin because of his folly and his compromise with sin.

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Meditations on 2 Kings 7

Posted by Adam Graham on August 9, 2006

The city of Samaria was in dire straits and King Jehoram was at his wit’s end. He’d threatened to kill Elisha the prophet, but relented. In clear contrasts to Chapter 6’s description of the high price of mule heads and dove’s dung, Elijah declares:

Then Elisha said, “Hear ye the word of the LORD. Thus saith the LORD: `Tomorrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.'” v.1 (KJ21)

Not everyone believed:

Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God and said, “Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be?” And he said, “Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.” v.2 (KJ21)

When we doubt God, we often find ourselves cut off from His blessings, because we miss them. We live in doubt and can’t react properly when God shows He is still a God of miracle and powers.

And there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate. And they said one to another, “Why sit we here until we die? If we say, `We will enter into the city,’ then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there; and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians. If they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.” vs. 3,4

Such wisdom. How many times do we sit still and wallow in utter misery rather than reaching for the Hope of healing that comes from God? We have too much pride. So we’d rather sit without the city walls than turn in hope to the God who has promised help and healing. We’d rather die than take action. The Bible talks several times about indecisiveness. The prophet declares, “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision.” Elijah cried out and told the people to serve the Lord if He was God or to serve Baal if Baal was God. Joshua in Joshua 24 demanded that the people, “Choose you this day who you will serve.”

I’m convinced that indecisiveness is something that God utterly hates. When we stand on the cracks, we feel “good enough.” We don’t do anything “seriously wrong.” We don’t commit ourselves to God, we practice evil and sin, but not so much that we still can’t claim to be good people or even Christians. God wants us to make our decision, so that if we make the wrong one, at least we can fall hard enough to realize our need for Him.

However, if we’ve got a dreary outlook wherever we look, and no hope anywhere, than it’s time to step out and take the road God has set before us. And if you don’t know Christ, the right road at the crossroad is the cross.

God had frightened away the Syrians with a noise of horses and chariots. The Syrians had left their camp abandonned. Oh how the lepers feasted and spoiled the enemies of the Lord:

Then they said one to another, “We do not what is right. This day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace. If we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us. Now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king’s household.” v. 9

When God blesses you, He calls you to bless others. Surely, as Jesus didn’t come to be served, but to serve; he has called us to share our blessings, be it money, wisdom, or spiritual knowledge. God expects us to bless others through the blessing He’s given us.

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Meditations on 2 Kings 6

Posted by Adam Graham on August 9, 2006

The chapter begins with Elisha raising an axe head from the water. It then focuses on Elisha helping the children of Israel. The Lord revealed to Elisha that the King of Syria would be moving and Elisha told the King of Israel and this saved the King. When the King of Syria found out that Elisha was helping the King of Israel, he sent a “great host to where Elisha was at.”

And when the servant of the man of God had risen early and gone forth, behold, a host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”

And he answered, “Fear not, for they that are with us are more than they that are with them.”

And Elisha prayed and said, “LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see.” And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. vs. 15-17

The young man looked around him and saw the forces of Syria. He saw only death coming upon Him and then Elisha prayed and his eyes were opened that he saw the reality.

Do we see? Do we see that God is with us? Sometimes, we look and all we can see is the obstacles around us, but Elisha wanted more for his servant. He wanted him to know that God was there, with them in the midst of the great trial.

We need to pray, “Dear God, open my eyes!” And we shall truly see with our Spirits that our mountains and valleys are filled with the horses and chariots of the Lord our God.

Elisha, after praying that his servant might receive sight, prayed that the Syrians would be blinded. He then went out and told them he would lead them to the man they sought, but instead led them into the middle of Samaria, and in the midst of the Army of Israel and its great armaments, their eyes were opened.

And the king of Israel said unto Elisha when he saw them, “My father, shall I smite them? Shall I smite them?”

And he answered, “Thou shalt not smite them. Wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive with thy sword and with thy bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.” vs. 21,22

God was merciful to them. He continually was trying to show himself to the Syrians, who nonetheless hardened their hearts against Him. God has been merciful to so many and showed compassion on people who didn’t deserve it.

So, they went back and they didn’t come back for the express purpose of taking Elisha. However, the next verse tells of the siege of Samaria and what was one of the most compelling moments in scripture. The city of Samaria was besieged and great famine reigned in the land. Dove’s dung and donkey’s heads were being sold for ridiculous prices in the marketplace and King Jehoram was in a state of depression.

And as the king of Israel was passing by upon the wall, there cried a woman unto him, saying, “Help, my lord, O king!”

And he said, “If the LORD do not help thee, from whence shall I help thee? Out of the barn floor or out of the wine press?”

And the king said unto her, “What aileth thee?” And she answered, “This woman said unto me, `Give thy son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’

So we boiled my son and ate him. And I said unto her on the next day, `Give thy son, that we may eat him’; and she hath hid her son.”

And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the woman, that he rent his clothes; and he passed by upon the wall, and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth within upon his flesh. vs. 26-30

This man was evil, he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. But, in this one instance, this one moment, his utter humanity is displayed.

He hears this tale of depravity and wickedness and without thought for decorum, without thought for his political position, he rips his clothes.

How many of us are more hardhearted than that wicked King? We look at pictures of death and brutality and it has no effect on us We’ve been trained by Hollywood to view such things as entertaining and amusing.

No sight can move us to cry out, “My God, the horror of it.” And to mourn and weep, and to say, “What a horrible thing has happened!” Are our hearts so seared that we cannot fathom the idea of heartfelt weeping.

Then he said, God do so and more also to me, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat shall stand on him this day.

But Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him; and the king sent a man from before him: but ere the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, See ye how this son of a murderer hath sent to take away mine head? look, when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door: is not the sound of his master’s feet behind him?

And while he yet talked with them, behold, the messenger came down unto him: and he said, Behold, this evil is of the LORD; what should I wait for the LORD any longer?

Jehoram’s heart may have been human, but so were his reactions. We want to immediately blame someone and that someone is usually God and His people.

Jehoram closed this chapter with a question. Why should he wait for the Lord any longer? Once again, its a question that we can all sympathize. Why shouldn’t we do what we want and forget about God? Why should we wait on him any longer?

Scripture tells us that God is not slack concerning his promises. We should wait, because we wait on God who answers our prayers in his season and his time.

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Meditations on 2 Kings 5

Posted by Adam Graham on August 7, 2006

This chapter tells the story of Naaman, a leperous captain of the Syrians. The Syrians had captured an Israelite, who was apparently treated well in Naaman’s house. She mentioned a prophet in Samaria and the King of Syria sent Naaman to Samaria, where he went to the wicked King, Jehoram:

And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, “Now when this letter has come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest cure him of his leprosy.”

And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to cure a man of his leprosy? Therefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.”

And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, “Why hast thou rent thy clothes? Let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.” vs. 6-8

One thing you can say for Jehoram is that he knew his limitations, which is more than you can say for some politicians, however God had made provision for Jehoram and for Naaman.

Sometimes, people come to us with a problem, be it emotional or financial, that we cannot cope with. It’s beyond our capability. At that time, it’s appropriate to pray and think of who can help.

So Naaman was sent to Elisha’s house and Elisha sent a messenger out to go and wash in the Jordan River seven times.

But Naaman was wroth and went away, and said, “Behold, I thought, `He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and cure the leper.’

Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.

And his servants came near, and spoke unto him and said, “My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? How much rather then, when he saith to thee, `Wash, and be clean’?”

What had angered Naaman? What had distracted him? God had moved in a way he didn’t expect. God had done it simply. He’d been expecting the man of God to come out and heal him personally, but rather was told to go in faith and bathe in a dirty river.

The servant had far more wisdom than his master. He asked a fair question. Naaman gladly would have done great Herculean deeds to earn his healing, but here all God asked was faith.

It’s what stops many people from coming to Christ, because on the surface, it’s easy, but also counter to our internal thoughts. It leaves them no one to thank, other than God, and no room for boasting. Our pride and our expectations keep us from God’s blessing, just as it almost did with Naaman. God asks faith and obedience to His will, nor matter how little sense it may make to you on an Earthly level.

Faith healed Naaman. Then, Naaman came to offer Elisha a blessing, but Elisha refused. Naaman promised to only offer sacrifices to the Lord and to refrain from the worship of false gods, except it was required by his position when the King went into the house of Rhimnon.

Why didn’t Elisha take a blessing? Because Elisha wanted all the glory and honor to go to God alone. It wasn’t about Elisha being rich, it was about Naaman learning of the one true God who was real and had servants who obeyed his voice. What follows is one of the Bible’s great cautionary tales for those in ministry.

Elisha’s servant saw a big time donation walking out the door and ran after him, pledging to get something of him. He told Naaman two young sons of the Prophets had arrived and asked for two changes of garments and a talent of silver. Naaman was so generous, he gave two talents.

And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed.

But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither.

And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?

The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.

Just as God gave Adam and Eve a chance to tell the truth, so Elisha gave Gehazi the chance. Elisha’s asked, “Is it a time to receive money and gain? No, its time to behold the Glory of the Lord.”

Anytime God moves, you have men, like Gehazi, who move in to capitalize, but God will not be made into product. God will not be sold in the marketplace to build riches. Gehazi should have fallen down and worshiped the Lord who has power over everything, from whom nothing is hidden.

Gehazi didn’t have a heart for God, he had a heart for money and he got to keep his money, but at a high price. Oh, how many Gehazis run rampant in our world.

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Meditations on 2 Kings 4

Posted by Adam Graham on August 6, 2006

2 Kings 4 is a series of stories about the Prophet Elisha. First, a widow with two sons. They would be sold into slavery unless her debt could be paid.

And Elisha said unto her, “What shall I do for thee? Tell me, what hast thou in the house?” And she said, “Thine handmaid hath not anything in the house, save a pot of oil.”

Then he said, “Go, borrow thee vessels abroad from all thy neighbors, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. And when thou hast come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full.”

So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out. And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, “Bring me yet a vessel.” And he said unto her, “There is not a vessel more.” And the oil flow ceased.

Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children on the rest.”-vs. 2-7

The first observation here is that it took faith to ask of the neighbors. Their backs were against the wall, though. They had no other option than faith, and sometimes that’s the only time we’ll do something that by Earthly standards is nuts.

The second observation is how God worked. He could have just as easily caused gold to appear somewhere in the house. He could have caused some type of windfall to occur, but notice what he does.

He puts her to work for her living. Her sons have to go to the neighbors and collect the pots. And once she has the oil, she’s got to load it up and sell it.

Time and time again throughout scripture, God gives people temporary help. He sent ravens to feed Elijah and a widow who was taking care of Elijah had oil and meal provided for her through the time she took care of him. But, this case suggests something different. This woman was not going to be actively in service to God. She was going to take care of her children. So what does God do? He has her work as a long term solution.

I believe that when it comes to that long term help, God’s preference is that people work somehow. You notice that the man of God asked her, “What do you have in your house?” If you find yourself in financial difficulty, you may find the answer is, “I have enough stuff to hold a garage sale.” or “I’ve got a lawnmower in the back yard.” As a long term solution, God will then help you take what you have and make money with it. Short-term, there are different things, but long term God wants us to work if at all possible, because we’re created to do that.

And there was a day that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. And she said unto her husband, “Behold now, I perceive that this is a holy man of God who passeth by us continually. Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed and a table and a stool and a candlestick. And it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.”

The Bible tells us that this was a great woman. And what made her great? She was attentive to God. She says, “I perceive.” She was sensitive to the Spirit of God and saw where He was moving. More than that, she responded to God’s guidance with what she had.

Some people would think, “God gave me a big house and money and servants so that I could live the good life.” Yet, she said, “God gave me this, so I could bless His servant.”

So she was a great woman indeed. After some time, the prophet Elisha wanted to bless her and sent his servant to find out what she needed and she told him she dwelled among her people, which means she didn’t need anything. She wasn’t doing this because she wanted God to bless her; she was doing it to be thankful to the God who had blessed her, but Elisha was persistent and a need was recognized by Gehazi:

And he said, “What then is to be done for her?” And Gehazi answered, “Verily she hath no child, and her husband is old.”

And he said, “Call her.” And when he had called her, she stood in the door.

And he said, “About this season, according to the time of life, thou shalt embrace a son.” And she said, “Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid.” vs. 14-16

This is a reminder to never, ever say that God can’t do anything. She didn’t seek it, she didn’t demand it, she didn’t name it and claim it. God gave it to her because He loved her and wanted to bless her.

We serve a God of blessing. We don’t have to demand material blessings. We don’t have to lust after material gain. God will take care of it. We don’t have to do anything but live our lives according to God’s will and with the wisdom that God has given us. He’ll take care of us and give us our daily bread and everything above that

The blessing, though, came with tears. The child was in the field and died. She went to see Elisha:

And she called unto her husband and said, “Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God and come back.” And he said, “Why wilt thou go to him today? It is neither new moon nor Sabbath.” And she said, “It shall be well.” (vs. 22,23)

Some people are like the husband. They have the attitude that you can’t go to God except at a specific time, but she understood that the time to go to God was the time of need. The time to go to God was right then. So, she approached to where Elisha was:

Run now, I pray thee, to meet her and say unto her, `Is it well with thee? Is it well with thy husband? Is it well with the child?'” And she answered, “It is well.”

And when she came to the man of God at the hill, she caught him by the feet; but Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, “Let her alone, for her soul is vexed within her; and the LORD hath hid it from me, and hath not told me.” (vs. 26, 27)

This is important. I’m asked all the time, “How are you doing?” If I’m not feeling well that day, I’ll say, “Good.” I’ve learned over time that, “How are you doing?” doesn’t really mean people care and even if they care on some level, it doesn’t mean I want to talk to them.

We have to be sensitive in the Spirit to what’s going on and what people really need. Gehazi was thinking, “If it’s well, what business does she have distubring Elisha?”

Because, it’s not well. Sometimes, people just don’t feel like going into it. We need to be people who’ll see pass polite colloquialisms to what a person’s really feeling. We have to listen to their voice tone and look at their body language and if that tells us, something’s wrong, we need to ask, “Are you really okay?” “Is it really well?” Sometimes, the Spirit will lead us, if we’ll listen. If we’re determined to be a blessing and to serve.

She came with questions, but God healed her son through Elisha and he was raised from the dead.

There’s another miracle of bad stew being healed, but I won’t go into that one. This one at the end was important and it wasn’t done by Elisha:

And there came a man from Baalshalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, “Give unto the people, that they may eat.”

And his servitor said, “What, should I set this before a hundred men?” He said again, “Give the people, that they may eat; for thus saith the LORD: `They shall eat and shall leave some thereof.'”

So he set it before them, and they ate and left thereof, according to the word of the LORD. vs. 42-44

This, of course foreshadows Christ’s miracle of feeding 5,000 with far fewer loaves and a couple fish.

It also teaches us something about giving. Many people will say, “Why does God allow poverty?” A question must be asked back, “Have you given to God?” Have you brought your firstfruits out, be they little or much, have you opened your wallet book to the men of God?

And I’m not talking about giving money to some televangelists. No, I’m talking about opening your wallet to a local church or organization that is caring and compassionate towards the needs of others. I see the efficiency of the Idaho Food Bank in feeding people in my community or the way the Boise Rescue Mission turns people’s lives around. How do they do that? Because, a few people are willing to bring fruit. But, so many more don’t.

In a time of famine, how many farmers had crops? How many of those would tithe of those crops to the man of God? Yet, if this farmer had not done it, people wouldn’t have been fed. As the song says, “Little is much when God is with it.”

The second point is that the man of God is to care for the needs of others. Elisha could have said, “You know, I could really use this bread and corn. It could take care of me for weeks.” No, he poured out what God had given him to meet the needs of others. For the man of God is not just to be a receiver, but a giver and to bless others with what God has blessed him with through the gifts of others.

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Meditation on 2 Kings 3

Posted by Adam Graham on August 4, 2006

Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years.

And he wrought evil in the sight of the LORD; but not like his father, and like his mother: for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made.

Nevertheless he cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom. vs.1-3

So Jehoram stopped following after the sins of his father but still did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.

How often do we compare ourselves to others. Well, at least I’m not as bad as HIM Yet, God wants goodness and holiness, not just less bad from us and this was the case with Jehoram.

The King of Moab rebelled against Jehoram and he got the help of Jehoshaphat King of Judah. and the King of Edom to fight against Moab. They then ran into a problem mid-campaign where they had no water for their Army.

Jehoshaphat once again formed an alliance with an Ungodly king and once again found himself in a tight spot. This is a lesson, when one joins regularly with people who don’t serve God and walk after their own ways, trouble will be your companion. However, Jehoshaphat was a blessing to Jehoram because he knew who to call in. He asked for a prophet of God and they went to Elisha:

And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have I to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother. And the king of Israel said unto him, Nay: for the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab.

And Elisha said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee. vs. 13 and 14

Elisha then did a miracle, the men had water for their journeys and went on to totally route the Moabites.

In Genesis, the Bible tells us that God caused everything Joseph did to prosper.

God will often bless an organization or individual who is himself not worthy because of someone in his employ who is faithful and obedient. Thus Christians can be preserving salt and carry forth God’s blessing to the world around them in the work they do.

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The Persecution of the King

Posted by Adam Graham on August 2, 2006

Persecution is often presumed to be the province of poor people. Many will scoff at the idea of rich, powerful people being persecuted, yet the Bible tells a story of just that happening in 2 Kings 18 and 19 tell the story. Hezekiah was one of the most righteous kings in the History of Judah:

And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that David his father did.

He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.

He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses.

And the LORD was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth: and he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and served him not. He smote the Philistines, even unto Gaza, and the borders thereof, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. vs. 4-8

One could say that Hezekiah was blessed beyond measure. Prosperity teachers would tell us that this was a more abundant life. Yet, the worm turned. God never promised, there would be no suffering. God never promised us a life without danger or peril.

What happened was that the Assyrian Army began to move across the Earth like a swarm, they conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel and Hezekiah panicked:

And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish, saying, I have offended; return from me: that which thou puttest on me will I bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. And Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the LORD, and in the treasures of the king’s house. At that time did Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the LORD, and from the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria. vs. 14-16

Hezekiah had a problem. His plan:buy his way out. In the West, we tend to trust in our money
to save us. We trust our cleverness and our ingenuity. God is the last resort rather than our first hope. So, King Hezekiah gave away gold and silver and showed a sign of weakness, which provoked an attack.

One of the King of Assyria’s Chief Lieutenant’s came and derided Hezekiah’s servants. He reminded them that their natural allies were gone. They asked him to speak in Aramaic and not in Hebrew so that this would not be common knowledge. Rabshakeh however decided to let all the Jews’ know:

Then Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews’ language, and spake, saying, Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria:

Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you out of his hand: Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD, saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.

Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me, and then eat ye every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his cistern: Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of oil olive and of honey, that ye may live, and not die: and hearken not unto Hezekiah, when he persuadeth you, saying, The LORD will deliver us.

Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah? have they delivered Samaria out of mine hand? Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of mine. vs. 28-35

Thus, the most common form of persecution and the greatest way that Satan makes war on the saints. It is through the mind which we are most tested and from which the devli attacks us. In our country, when someone sells out their faith, it doesn’t require violence. It is a threat, “If you go against this, you will lose your job. If you take this stance, you will lose this election. If you stand up as a believer, you will be ostracized.”

In the United States of America, we’re fools. We believe that Christian Persecution occurs in other lands, but not here. Yet, it doesn’t happen at the hands of people, but at Satan’s. Like Hezekiah, many times we face a choice that’s far more profound than it appears. The choice Hezekiah was facing was ostensibly one of whether he would hold his throne. But had he walked out of that city and told the King of Assyria, we give up, he would not have just lost his throne.

By so doing, he would say to God, “I really don’t believe in you! I don’t think you’ll take care of me. I’m willing to follow you in the good times, but God you can’t take care of me now. I don’t trust you.”

In walking out of that city, he would walk away from the Living God and spend his last days in regret of the foolish choice he made. There are lots of people who face that choice. There is more fear of persecution in our Western World than there could ever be persecution itself. Having ran from the persecution, having walked away from the living God, millions are unable to admit they betrayed God and unable to face the truth. The Devil, through condemnation and pride keeps them his prisoners.

The prisoner for Christ in Iran or North Korea suffers, but they have hope. What shall be said of those who are prisoners of their own minds, whose fears have built into a fortress of darkness that cannot be broken? It is for this reason Christ declared to the church of Laodecia:

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.-Revelations 3:17

Hezekiah sent to the prophet Isaiah and the Prophet told Hezekiah that the King of Assyria would be forced to return to his own land. The messengers of the King of Assyria than came with more blasphemy. This time Hezekiah went to God himself:

And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth. LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God.

Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands, And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them. Now therefore, O LORD our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD God, even thou only. vs. 15-19

He brought this issue to God. Sometimes, we feel like we have all the answers, so we try and fix it ourselves. Many times when I’ve been attacked, I’ve not made a response myself. I’ve remembered Hezekiah and like Hezekiah I spread out the charges and lies before God (either figuritively or literally) and left the matter in the hands of the Lord, for He alone will judge and defend.

He didn’t say, “God, save us, because I really like being King.” He didn’t cry out, “God, I really don’t like the Assyrian.” He said, “God, through your deliverance glorify yourself and show yourself to an unbelieving world.”

God is able to show himself, either through our suffering or through our triumphs, if we will let him. Hundreds come to Christ through the testimony of simple faith by martyrs and the suffering church. If our motive is the Glory of God, we’ll trust God with what comes our way.

We may feel it’s too late. We’ve made our mistakes, we’ve made our choices, just like King Hezekiah did when he thought money could save him. Yet, God is ready if we’ll trust him with our fears and apprehensions, if we’ll give up on the idea that we are own saviors and say simply, “To God be the glory.”

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Meditations on 2 Kings 2

Posted by Adam Graham on July 27, 2006

This chapter focuses on Elijah going up to Heaven. Three times Elijah tries to get Elisha to go back as Elijah trecks from Bethel, to Jericho, and then across Jordan.

Elisha knew Elijah was going (vs. 3, 5)up to Heaven, but he kept following. He knew what was happening. Like Jacob wrestling with the angel, he wouldn’t let go. There are times when God tests our endurance. Are we serious about serving Him? Are we serious about following the vision God has given us?

Elisha also had to be spiritually sensitive. Scripture doesn’t record Elijah telling Elisha about it and context tells us that he didn’t. He had to be spiritually sensitive and aware to know what God was doing. When the sons of the Prophets came up to tell him this, he already knew. He knew because he was attentive to the Spirit.

And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. (vs. 9-11)

Elisha asked “a hard thing” and this was coming from a man who raised the dead. Too often, we limit God and what God can do for us by our own lack of faith. Elisha knew what God could do and that nothing was impossible for him.

God once again tested Elisha’s focus, as the Chariot of Fire was a distraction, but Elisha kept his eyes on Elijah. So, we must keep our eyes on what God has called us to.

Sometimes, people will come with us with all kinds of things and they’re not all bad. Many are good, but what is God’s focus? If God has called you to the pro-life work, it’d be foolish to leave that work without his permission and go and work on helping the persecuted Church. If you’ve been called to help the Persecuted Church, you’d be foolish to leave that to go and camp outside an abortion clinic.

Now, this isn’t to say you might not help out with some other project that’s outside your calling, like you may give money to Voice of the Martyrs, or you may pray at a Pro-Life event. You also have to be flexible to following God who can move you from one focus to another. But, if you move, you have to ask, are you following God, or have you taken your eyes off of what you were intended to do?

He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. (vs. 13, 14)

What did Elisha do with Elijah gone? The same thing he’d seen his teacher do. Peter did the same thing in the healing of Tabitha, as Andrea pointed out a few months back.

Here is an illustration of the need for discipleship in the church. We need those who will set a godly example, whom we can follow as they follow Christ. Those who are older Christians who undertake this, must be careful for those who seek their advice and guidance will follow them.

Finally, in verses 23 and 24:

And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them. (vs. 23, 24)

This was not about an insult to the person of Elisha, as I’ve heard some baldheaded ministers suggest, rather it was an insult on who Elisha represented. It is what happened in a nation where a lack of piety was taught, where there was no respect for God or the things he represents. It was not a single act, but it was a lifestyle of disrespecting God from an early age.

We live in a day of grace, so bears will not attack a group of children, but other consequences which are the natural result of failing to fear God will follow our lives and the lives of our children if we teach them no respect or fear of Almighty God.

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