April 9, 2 Kings 4-8

 

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Today, we read about the miracles of Elisha.  Wow!  What are we to make of all of these miracles?  I think we read in Elisha’s life what God wanted to do for all of Israel.

In the midst of these miracles, his servant asks a good question as recorded in 2 Kings 6:16.

2 Kings 6:16—“Oh, my lord, what shall we do?”  This is the question of Elisha’s servant in response to the city being surrounded by the enemy.  Elisha’s answer to the question is our answer when we are surrounded with the problems of life.  Elisha answers, “Don’t be afraid.  Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

May you be reminded throughout the day that one plus God is a majority.

Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com

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April 8, 2 Kings 1-3

 

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God warned continually that Israel would not remain in the Promised Land if they disobeyed.  God was patient through many generations with Israel.  Finally, in 2 Kings,Israel falls at the hands of the Assyrians, and Judah falls at the hands of the Babylonians. Many are taken to live in exile.  The dates of these falls are generally given as c. 721 B.C. for Israel and c. 588/587 B.C. for Judah.

In this section, we are interested in the life and ministry of Elisha.  He carried on the miraculous ministry of Elijah in a way that pointed people to God and not himself.

I am drawn to two statements made by Elisha in today’s reading.
 

1.      2 Kings 1:3—“Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going off to consult Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?”  The context of this question is an injury to Ahaziah.  He sends a messenger to consult Baal-Zebub to see if he will recover.  Through Elijah, this question is raised to Baal-Zebub specifically, but the nation as a whole, I believe.  Likewise, it is a question for us.  Do we ask God first or last?  Do we consult with friends, counselors, preachers, books, etc. before we go to God?  God should be the first place we go, not the person of last resort.

 2.      2 Kings 3:18—“This is an easy thing in the eyes of the LORD.”  The context of this statement is an inquiry of how to provide water for the troops and livestock in the midst of a drought.  Elisha commands the people to dig trenches and watch the LORD fill with water.  What seemed impossible to humans is rather easy for the LORD.  This statement joins countless other examples from the Bible and history of the LORD’s power and provision in the midst of insurmountable circumstances.

What is it that seems impossible to you today?  Is it too hard for the LORD?   

Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com

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April 7

 

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How does someone so full of wisdom like Solomon make such foolish choices?  The truth is, though, that it happens all the time.  You can even write a book about wisdom (Proverbs), but not follow the wisdom of that book.  As we continue to read the Bible together, let’s pray that we will always be doers and not just hearers of the Word.

Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com

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April 6, 1 Kings 20-22

 

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How many chances does someone get to trust the LORD?  King Ahab’s story reminds us that God is a patient God, a God of longsuffering.  God gave King Ahab every opportunity to believe in Him.  God created hardship of drought for King Ahab during the early days of his reign.  Later, God used the miraculous on Mount Carmel to persuade Ahab.  Today, we read that God gave victory to Ahab over his enemies in order that Ahab would know the LORD.  In all of this, Ahab still serves the gods of Baal.

How many chances do you get?  We do not know.  But Ahab’s story reminds us of something else.  Sooner or later, God says “Enough!”  That’s God’s love too.  Love does not demand what we refuse to do.  God does not make us do what we do not want to do. We always have a choice.

Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com

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April 5, 1 Kings 17-19

 

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Now that’s a good story.  In those terrible days of a newly divided Israel, there are some bright spots.  Yesterday, we observed the life of Asa—a bright spot.  Today’s reading gives us the story of Elijah, the prophet of God.

Elijah was a prophet of God who lived in the days of King Ahab, king of Israel.  Ahab was a wicked king.  In fact, 1 Kings 16:30 tells us that he was the worst king ever for being wicked.  God used Elijah to pray and prophesy that there would not be rain in the land until he (Elijah) said for Him (God) that there would be rain.  Instead of drawing Ahab to God, this pushed him farther away from God.  Ahab continued to rely on false gods.  Then there was his wife, Jezebel.  If you think Ahab was wicked, you should meet his wife, Jezebel.  Chapter 18 says that Jezebel had all the prophets of God murdered.  That is, she thought she did.  A Godly man, Obadiah, who worked for Ahab and Jezebel hid 100 of the prophets of God.

In these early days of drought, God miraculously provided for Elijah.  First, God brought him bread and meat through a raven and he drank from the brook in the Kerith Ravine. When the brook dried up, God sent him to the home of a widow and there provided for Elijah, the widow, and the widow’s son.  In the sovereign plan of God, we learn why this widow is chosen.  With Elijah in her home, Elijah is there to bring her son back to life.

Then, perhaps you have heard the story of how Elijah calls for a showdown between the God of Heaven and the false gods of Ahab.  They gathered on Mount Carmel.  The 450 prophets of Baal along with 400 prophets of the Ahserah were invited to take a bull and put on an altar.  Elijah would take a bull and place on the altar.  The false prophets went first.  They called on their gods to consume the sacrifice by fire, but nothing happened. Elijah went next.  He drenched the altar with four pots of water three times.  God consumed the sacrifice with fire.  The people watching declared “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!  Then, Elijah declared that the people seize the false prophets and execute them.  Then, he prophesied that it was about to rain.

So, let’s recap.  What did Elijah do?  Well, he challenged the prophets of Baal to a duel. He built an altar.  He drenched the altar, called down fire, slaughtered the prophets, and supposedly turned the hearts of the people back to God.  Finally, he announced the end of a drought.  Not a bad day, don’t you think?

But what happened to Elijah?  Actually, an exhausted Elijah sinks into a depression.  I’ve recounted all of that to provide this simple caution.  Beware of the victories of life, lest they lead us to a point of depression and frustration.  Maybe today you need to take a break.  If so, don’t beat yourself up.  Some of God’s choice servants experienced periods of being overwhelmed.  When overwhelmed, do as Elijah eventually did—get alone with God and follow His next instructions.

Devotional by Steve Horn. Scripture links by www.biblegateway.com. Animated video by www.thebibleproject.com

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