Thursday, May 24, 2018
II Kings 5:1- Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.
Naaman had a terrible disease that would eventually kill him. There was no known cure for this disease. Anyone who got it was doomed to die.
II Kings 5:2-3- And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife. And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.
Slavery is not something we see in America, but around the world there are still people who are slaves. It was not uncommon during Elisha's time for people who survived battles to be taken as slaves by the winning army.
Naaman had won many battles, and at one of these battles he had taken a little Jewish girl home to be a slave to his wife. This little Jewish girl told Naaman's wife that there was a prophet in her home country that could cure Naaman.
II Kings 5:4-5- And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel. And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment.
Someone went and told Naaman what the little slave girl had said, so Naaman gathered a present, and got a letter from his king to the king of Israel. He was hoping that once he got to the capitol city of Samaria, that the king of Israel would call the prophet and he would be healed.
II Kings 5:6-7- And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover 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 recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.
When the king of Israel read the letter from the king of Samaria, he was in a panick! You see, this wicked king had forsaken the Lord God Almighty and was now serving false idols. None of his idols could heal leprosy. The king of Israel thought that Naaman was using this to start a war.
But, God knew what was going on. He got word to Elisha that a Syrian with leprosy had come to Israel to be healed.
II Kings 5:8- 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, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.
Elisha sent word to the king of Israel telling him that he should send Naaman. Elisha knew that the God who made man could heal man. He was going to show all Israel and Syria what the Lord God Almighty could do!
II Kings 5:9-10- So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.
Elisha sent a servant out to give some simple commands to Naaman. Go down to the river and wash yourself in it seven times.
II Kings 5:11-12- 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 recover 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.
God always deals with the root of our problems. What was the main problem Naaman had? It was pride! He thought that Elisha would come out and put on a big show. Perhaps he was expecting fireworks.
He didn't want to climb into the dirty Jordan River of Israel and wash himself seven times! That would be embarrassing- taking a bath in front of his men! So, he rode off in a huff!
II Kings 5:13- And his servants came near, and spake 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?
One of his men came to him and asked him a simple question- if it were some great feat, wouldn't you have tried to do it? Of course he would have! But, a great feat would show Naaman's glory, not God's. God had given him a humbling thing to do so that no one but God would get the glory.
II Kings 5:14- Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
If Naaman had decided to only wash 5 times God wouldn't have healed him. God is very specific about what we should and shouldn't do. God is very specific about how we should obey. God always blesses obedience!
Naaman went into that dirty Jordan River in front of his men and obeyed God. He humbled himself and washed seven times. And when he finished the seventh- he was healed! His skin looked as pretty as a little child. Perhaps, God even healed his scars!
II Kings 5:15-19- And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant. But he said, As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused. And Naaman said, Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules' burden of earth? for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD. In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing. And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way.
Naaman wanted to give Elisha presents for telling him how to be healed of that terrible disease! But, Elisha wouldn't accept the gifts.
Then Naaman asked Elisha to forgive him for going into the temple of the false idol in his home town. It was Naaman's duty to escort the king into and out of the temple. Naaman now knew that only the Lord God Almighty was the true God.
Elisha sent him away in peace.
But, Elisha had a servant. And this servant had a greedy heart.
II Kings 5:20-24- But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him. So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well? And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments. And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him. 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.
Elisha's servant, Gehazi, made up a story about some other prophets coming to visit Elisha. He said these other prophets needed some of the things that Naaman had offered to Elisha.
Naaman was only too happy to be able to reward the man who had saved his life! He willingly gave the stuff to Gehazi and sent him home.
Gehazi not only lied, but he used the Lord God Almighty and His special servants in order to get what his wicked heart wanted. Do you think God was going to let him get away with it?
II Kings 5:25- 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.
Elisha asked Gehazi what he had been up to, but instead of confessing his sin he lied again!
II Kings 5:26-27- 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.
Elisha told Gehazi that he knew what he had done. Gehazi had not only lied, but he had stolen God's glory by allowing Naaman to pay for his healing.
You see, God was trying to show the world something through Naaman. Leprosy is a type of sin. And sin can't be paid for with clothes, or money, or good deeds. Sin can only be paid for by obeying God's Word and washing in the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ- this is called salvation.
Gehazi broke this picture of salvation, and for that his punishment was a slow death sentence. Gehazi would now be killed by the very same disease that Naaman had been cured from!
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
II Kings 4:8- And it fell on 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.
Elisha would often go to a town called Shunem. In this town was a woman that the Bible calls "great". When the Bible mentions someone as being wicked, mighty, great, etc, it is always wise to find out what made that person that way in the Lord's eyes.
This woman always invited Elisha to come eat dinner with her and her husband. She was very hospitable- that means that she would kindly take care of visitors.
II Kings 4:9-10- And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which 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.
This woman was intuitive. She noticed that there was something different about Elisha. She realized that he was a prophet of the Lord.
She was also very generous. She asked her husband to help her make up a place for Elisha to stay every time he came through town. She made him a small room that had everything he needed. A bed for sleeping. A table and chair for eating or studying. And a candle so that he could have light in the darkness when he needed it.
II Kings 4:11-13- And it fell on a day, that he came thither, and he turned into the chamber, and lay there. And he said to Gehazi his servant, Call this Shunammite. And when he had called her, she stood before him. And he said unto him, Say now unto her, Behold, thou hast been careful for us with all this care; what is to be done for thee? wouldest thou be spoken for to the king, or to the captain of the host? And she answered, I dwell among mine own people.
Another thing about this woman was that she was humble. Elisha appreciated everything that she went through to make him feel welcome and comfortable. He asked her if she wanted him to mention her to the people in charge, but she didn't want the recognition.
II Kings 4:14-16- 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.
Elisha wanted to bless this great woman for all that she had done to bless him. Elisha's servant noticed that her husband was old, and she had no children. Back then, children were considered a blessing from the Lord, and woman usually felt badly when they couldn't have any.
So, Elisha called the woman and told her that the Lord would bless her with a child. I'm sure the woman believed that Elisha was a prophet of the Lord, and she probably worshiped the Lord. But, I think she had a hard time believing what Elisha said because she had probably prayed and asked God for children before. She was afraid to get her hopes up and then not be blessed with a child.
But, the Lord was going to bless this great woman!
II Kings 4:17- And the woman conceived, and bare a son at that season that Elisha had said unto her, according to the time of life.
The Shunamite woman had a little boy just like Elisha had told her she would.
The child grew up to be a young boy who started to go out to the field and work with his father on the crops.
II Kings 4:18-20- And when the child was grown, it fell on a day, that he went out to his father to the reapers. And he said unto his father, My head, my head. And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother. And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died.
Something happened to the boy while he was out in the field. A servant carried him back to his mother, who held him and tried to help him feel better. But, whatever was wrong with him took his life.
II Kings 4:21-23- And she went up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out. 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 again. And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to day? it is neither new moon, nor sabbath. And she said, It shall be well.
The woman took the little boy's body and laid it on the bed in the room that she had made for Elisha. Then she asked her husband to send a servant and a donkey for her to go see the Prophet.
The husband didn't know that the boy had died. He was wondering why she wanted to go see the Prophet when it wasn't a holiday. But, here is another reason that the Bible calls this woman great- she knew that everything was going to be okay.
II Kings 4:24-26- Then she saddled an ass, and said to her servant, Drive, and go forward; slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee. So she went and came unto the man of God to mount Carmel. And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, yonder is that Shunammite: 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.
The woman told the servant to go as quickly as they could. She didn't want him to stop for anything unless she asked him to.
Elisha saw the Shunamite woman coming, and her sent his servant to see why she was coming to him.
This great woman wasn't going to complain about her problems to anyone and everyone. There was only one person that could help her, and he was the one she was going to talk to.
II Kings 4:27- And when she came to the man of God to 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.
The woman caught the Prophet by the feet. This, again, shows how humble she was. She was down on the ground. The servant didn't know what was going on, but Elisha realized that something was wrong.
II Kings 4:28-30- Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me? Then he said to Gehazi, Gird up thy loins, and take my staff in thine hand, and go thy way: if thou meet any man, salute him not; and if any salute thee, answer him not again: and lay my staff upon the face of the child. And the mother of the child said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her.
Elisha sent his servant with his staff. He thought that the servant could use his staff to make the child better. But, the Shunamite woman wasn't going to take any chances. It was the prophet, Elisha, that had told her about the miracle that God performed in giving her a son, and it was the prophet, Elisha, that she wanted to come heal her child.
This woman is great because she was determined to do whatever was needed to get the blessing from God that she so desperately needed and wanted.
II Kings 4:31-32- And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not awaked. And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed.
Elisha's servant did what his master commanded, but the Lord didn't work a miracle through the servant. God had promised Elisha that he would get a double portion of Elijah's spirit. It had to be Elisha that worked the miracle.
II Kings 4:33-35- He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the LORD. And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes.
Elisha prayed that the Lord would bring the child back to life. He warmed up the child's body, and then prayed and asked God again to bring the child back to life. Then, he warmed up the child's body again. This time, the boy opened his eyes and sneezed seven times.
I don't know why the boy sneezed seven times, but this must be important to the Lord because he mentions it. The number seven is important to God. There were 7 days of creation. There are 7 years in the tribulation. The Bible mentions 7 specific churches, and many other groups of things that come in sevens.
II Kings 4:36-37- And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son. Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.
The woman came to get her son. She had been granted the miracle that she sought. And, now we see another reason that she was great- She was thankful!
Elisha not only brought someone back to life, but he also performed a miracle that kept people from dying.
II Kings 4:38- And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.
A dearth is like a small famine. There is some food, but not much. Elisha went to a place where a bunch of prophets were gathered together. These men were known as the sons of the prophets.
Elisha told his servant to prepare a meal for these men.
II Kings 4:39- And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not.
One of the men went out and found a gourd, kind of like a squash plant, and picked some for the soup. He didn't know what type of veggie this was- and we should never eat anything growing in the wild that we don't know what it is! But, this man didn't know that.
He took the gourd and shredded it. He didn't chop it so that it would be easy to pick out of the soup. He cut it into a lot of teeny tiny pieces and then put it in the soup.
II Kings 4:40- So they poured out for the men to eat. And it came to pass, as they were eating of the pottage, that they cried out, and said, O thou man of God, there is death in the pot. And they could not eat thereof.
As the sons of the prophets sat down and started eating, something happened. They noticed that they weren't feeling well. Perhaps, some of them started to have an allergic reaction to the wild gourds. They cried to Elisha that the soup was poisoned!
II Kings 4:41- But he said, Then bring meal. And he cast it into the pot; and he said, Pour out for the people, that they may eat. And there was no harm in the pot.
Elisha used some course ground flour and threw it into the soup. God used it to work a miracle and it removed the poison. Everyone could eat without getting sick. It probably healed the ones who were already sick.
But, that wasn't the only miracle Elisha did for the sons of the prophets.
II Kings 4:42-44- 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 an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the LORD, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof. So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the LORD.
Elisha performed a miracle that the Lord Jesus Christ also performed. Someone brought some food for the men. Elisha told his servant to pass the food out and let everyone eat.
The servant looked at what was brought, and looked at all the people, and he didn't think there would be enough.
But, Elisha knew that God could use a little to take care of many. He told the servant that there would be enough, and there would be leftovers. Do you remember a story about Jesus performing this miracle?
These are just a few examples of the double spirit of Elijah.
Tuesday, May 22, 2018
After the death of Ahab, the King of Moab rebelled against Israel and became their enemy.
II Kings 3:5-7- But it came to pass, when Ahab was dead, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. And king Jehoram went out of Samaria the same time, and numbered all Israel. And he went and sent to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying, The king of Moab hath rebelled against me: wilt thou go with me against Moab to battle? And he said, I will go up: I am as thou art, my people as thy people, and my horses as thy horses.
Now remember, King Jehoram was a wicked king who served false idols. And King Jehoshaphat was a good king who loved the Lord God Almighty. They weren't suppose to make alliances with each other, but this was one mistake that Jehoshaphat could over come.
II Kings 3:8-10- And he said, Which way shall we go up? And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom. So the king of Israel went, and the king of Judah, and the king of Edom: and they fetched a compass of seven days' journey: and there was no water for the host, and for the cattle that followed them. And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!
So, the kings of Israel and Judah, along with the king of Edom, went to war against Moab. After traveling for a week, they got to the place where they were in despair. There was no water, and they were so thirsty!
King Jehoram was sure that this was where they were going to die. But, King Jehoshaphat did what he always did during these times- he sought the Lord.
II Kings 3:11-12- But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD, that we may enquire of the LORD by him? And one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah. And Jehoshaphat said, The word of the LORD is with him. So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.
There was a soldier who knew that Elisha lived near where the armies were. He informed the kings that this was the man who trained under Elijah. Everyone knew who Elijah was! So, they thought that this prophet, Elisha, would know what to do.
II Kings 3:13-14- 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.
Elisha wasn't happy to see the wicked kings of Israel and Edom. He told them that if Jehoshaphat weren't with them he wouldn't help them. But, because the Lord loved Jehoshaphat he would ask God what they should do.
II Kings 3:15-19- But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him. And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches. For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts. And this is but a light thing in the sight of the LORD: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand. And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones.
God told Elisha what to do after there were songs of praise. This is very important! God wants to hear us sing when things are going well, but also when things are going badly. It pleases Him when we are willing to praise Him no matter what the circumstances are.
God told Elisha that He was going to work a miracle. God wanted the soldiers to dig ditches throughout the valley. There wasn't going to be any storms, or even any rain showers, yet God was going to make the ditches that were digged fill with water.
And, to prove that He was the Lord God Almighty, He also promised to help these three kings win the battle against the King of Moab.
II Kings 3:20-24- And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water. And when all the Moabites heard that the kings were come up to fight against them, they gathered all that were able to put on armour, and upward, and stood in the border. And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood: And they said, This is blood: the kings are surely slain, and they have smitten one another: now therefore, Moab, to the spoil. And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them: but they went forward smiting the Moabites, even in their country.
In the morning, the ditches were filled with water. The armies of the three kings drank and gave their animals drink.
But, when the enemy army of Moab looked down in the valley, they saw the ditches as if they were blood. They thought that the armies of the three kings had killed each other during the night. They went down not expecting to fight.
God delivered the Moabites into these three kings' hands. They did everything God told them to do. They threw stones in the wells, and pulled down the strong holds, and cut down all the good trees. In doing this, they crippled their enemy.
But, this was only one of the many miracles Elisha performed. There was another time when Elisha helped out a widow woman.
II Kings 4:1- Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen.
This poor woman was in debt. In so much, that she couldn't pay what was owed. During these times, a person who owed money could have their family put into slavery until the debt was paid. This woman was worried because the people she owed money to said they were going to make her sons slaves.
II Kings 4:2- 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 any thing in the house, save a pot of oil.
Elisha asked the woman what she had. She said that all she had was some oil. God can work with whatever we have if we are willing to obey His commands and surrender our will.
II Kings 4:3-4- Then he said, Go, borrow thee vessels abroad of all thy neighbours, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. And when thou art 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.
Elisha told the widow to go borrow empty vessels from all her neighbors. He said to get a lot of empty vessels, as many as her neighbors would let her borrow. Then, he told her to fill the pots with the oil that she had in the house.
This woman had to do exactly as Elisha said. She had to go ask her neighbors to borrow their empty vessels- this was a very humbling experience. IF she had been prideful, God's grace wouldn't have worked this miracle for her.
II Kings 4:5-6- 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 stayed.
The woman went into her house and took her small amount of oil and started to pour it into the empty vessels that she borrowed. To her amazement, the oil kept coming out and filling the vessels. She poured and poured, and it filled all the vessels that she had borrowed!
II Kings 4:7- 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 of the rest.
God had provided this woman with enough oil to sell so that she could make the money to pay her debts. God didn't just miraculously make the money appear- the woman had to work for it. But, we see that when we do what God has asked, He blesses us!
Monday, May 21, 2018
II Kings 2:1- And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
Now, there are a few men in the Bible who have something special happen to them. One man was Enoch who didn't die. Enoch lived before the flood, and one day God changed Enoch from a regular human into something eternal and took him to live in heaven.
Another man that something special would happen to is Elijah. Elijah wasn't going to die here. Elijah was going to be taken by God to heaven, but he isn't going to become eternal. You see, Elijah is going to come back in the future. When future Elijah shows up, he will be Moses who will be resurrected. Together these two men will face the AntiChrist- Satan in flesh. And the AntiChrist will kill them.
Elijah knows that he isn't going to die just yet.
II Kings 2:2-3- And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.
Not only does Elijah know he won't die, but so do the other prophets. Elisha knows, and so do the prophets who dwell at Bethel.
II Kings 2:4-5- And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.
The prophets who lived in Jericho also knew that Elijah was in his last day. The Bible doesn't say how they all know that Elijah won't die, or how they know that this day would be the day. But, Elisha isn't going to let his mentor out of his sight!
II Kings 2:6- And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on.
So, both Elijah and Elisha go to the Jordan River, and they are followed by some of the other prophets.
II Kings 2:7-8- And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.
It seemed that Elijah didn't want anyone to see how he left the earth. He left the city, and crossed the large river of Jordan. Just like when Moses parted the Red Sea for the children of Israel when they left Egypt, Elijah parter the river of Jordan. Only Elisha was with him.
II Kings 2:9-10- 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.
Elijah asked Elisha what it was that he wanted. Elisha said that he wanted a double portion of Elijah's spirit- he wanted to do twice as much as Elijah had done while he was living. Elijah said that if Elisha saw God take him to heaven that he would have his request answered.
II Kings 2:11- 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.
Suddenly, as they were walking and talking a chariot of fire pulled by horses of fire drove between them. Elijah was pulled into the chariot and then the flaming horses pulled it and Elijah into a whirlwind that went up into heaven.
Can you imagine what Elisha must have felt like? To have seen flaming horses would be unimaginable! But, to watch those horses taxi your friend off into eternity?!?!
II Kings 2:12-15- And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. 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. And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.
Elijah picked up the mantle that fell off of Elijah. He used this coat-like piece of clothing on the Jordan River just as he had seen Elijah do. And, just like it did for Elijah, the river parted and Elisha crossed on dry ground.
The prophets that had been by the river when Elijah crossed over with Elisha were still waiting. They saw Elisha come back the way he had left, and they knew that Elisha had the same spirit that Elijah had. God had answered Elisha's request.
II Kings 2:16-18- And they said unto him, Behold now, there be with thy servants fifty strong men; let them go, we pray thee, and seek thy master: lest peradventure the Spirit of the LORD hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley. And he said, Ye shall not send. And when they urged him till he was ashamed, he said, Send. They sent therefore fifty men; and they sought three days, but found him not. And when they came again to him, (for he tarried at Jericho,) he said unto them, Did I not say unto you, Go not?
The prophets wanted to go look for Elijah, but Elisha knew he was no longer on the earth. They pestered Elisha so much that he finally told them they could go look. But, they didn't find him!
When they came back, they had a problem that they were hoping Elisha could help them with.
II Kings 2:19- And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren.
The city had a well, but the water was bad. It wouldn't help plants to grow.
II Kings 2:20-22- And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him. And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land. So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake.
Elisha asked for a vessel with salt in it. He went out to where the waters were and cast the salt into the waters- and this healed them. The waters were now good to drink and would help plants grow.
This was the first miracle Elisha did. He helped the town be able to live.
His second miracle wouldn't be so wonderful.
II Kings 2:23-24- 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.
God tells children to obey their parents and those who rule over them. He also expects children to be respectful of their elders. On Elisha's way home, there were some naughty children who came out and started to make fun of him because he was bald.
Elisha called a curse down on them in the name of the Lord, and two bears attacked them. God doesn't think it's funny to be disrespectful!
Elisha's first miracle brought life; his second miracle brought death. He was going to have a double portion of everything that Elijah had done. Elijah had 14 miracles happen while he was alive- they brought both life and death. Elisha was going to have 28!
II Kings 2:25- And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.
Sunday, May 20, 2018
II Kings 22:51-53- Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin: For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the LORD God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.
KIng Ahab knew who the Lord was because he had often had encounters with Him through His prophets. But, it seems that Ahaziah had no idea how powerful the Lord was. But, he was going to find out.
II Kings 1:1-2- Then Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab. And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.
Ahaziah was going to be tested as the new king, or so he thought. There was war brewing on Israel's horizon; Moab was rebelling. Ahaziah was only two years into his reign when he fell through the second story of his house and got sick.
Instead of inquiring from the Lord, or any of the false gods that he and his family served, Ahaziah sent messengers to inquire from the false god of Ekron.
But, God wasn't going to let this wicked king escape without knowing who was sending this judgment.
II Kings 1:3-4- But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron? Now therefore thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. And Elijah departed.
God told Elijah to meet the messengers that Ahaziah had sent out and tell them that their king was going to die.
II Kings 1:5-8- And when the messengers turned back unto him, he said unto them, Why are ye now turned back? And they said unto him, There came a man up to meet us, and said unto us, Go, turn again unto the king that sent you, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that thou sendest to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron? therefore thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. And he said unto them, What manner of man was he which came up to meet you, and told you these words? And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.
This evil king knew Elijah. He had probably heard the stories from his mother and father about the pesky prophet that prophesied of no rain for three years and caused a severe drought and famine on the land. I'm certain he heard how Elijah had gone up against all the false prophets of Baal and fire had come down from the mountain in the sight of all the people. And, he definitely heard how mad Jezebel got when Elijah killed all her prophets. He, too, had likely heard the story of how this prophet prayed for rain and it fell the same day after three years of nothing!
Ahaziah wanted to talk to this man!
I Kings 1:9-10- Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down. And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.
The king sent 50 soldiers to bring Elijah back to him. They didn't show any respect! They demanded that Elijah come down from where he was sitting and follow them.
Elijah wanted them and their master ,Ahaziah, to know who he served. So, he called down fire from God to destroy them. And, God answered him.
I Kings 1:11-12- Again also he sent unto him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he answered and said unto him, O man of God, thus hath the king said, Come down quickly. And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.
Didn't Ahaziah get the message? Nope. He didn't understand yet. He sent another 50 soldiers who demanded that Elijah come with them. Elijah, again, called down fire to destroy them.
I Kings 1:13-14- And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight. Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight.
This time the leader of the 50 soldiers used wisdom, showed humility and respect, and asked Elijah to spare their lives. He didn't even mention that the king wanted to see Elijah! He was humbly trying to obey his king while not offending the prophet.
I Kings 1:15- And the angel of the LORD said unto Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down with him unto the king.
This humility got God's attention- as humbleness always does! God sent an angel to tell Elijah to go with these soldiers to the king.
Elijah had only one thing to say to Ahaziah.
I Kings 1:16- And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron, is it not because there is no God in Israel to enquire of his word? therefore thou shalt not come down off that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.
I'm not certain what the king thought would happen if Elijah came to see him face to face, but Elijah's message never changed- you will die.
I Kings 1:17-18- So he died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken. And Jehoram reigned in his stead in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah; because he had no son. Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
What God says always comes to pass. Ahaziah died, and they crowned his son, Jehoram, king in his place.
There is another lesson that we should learn here. God expects us to be humble and respectful to authority.
First, God commands us to obey our parents.
Colossians 3:20- Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
Next, we are commanded to obey those that rule over us. This could be a teacher, or a police officer, or and employer, or the government.
Hebrews 13:17- Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
And lastly, but most importantly, we should obey God above all!
Act 5:29- Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
This means that if someone who is in authority asks you to do something that God says not to do, you have God's permission to disobey- that's the only time God will bless disobedience.
Saturday, May 19, 2018
King Ahab had heard what the prophet had said and he was worried that he would die. So, he came up with a plan.
II Chronicles 18:29- And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and will go to the battle; but put thou on thy robes. So the king of Israel disguised himself; and they went to the battle.
King Ahab wanted Jehoshaphat to dress up in his royal garments while he himself went out dressed as any other soldier. If the Syrians were looking for a king to kill, they would go after the man dressed as one.
II Chronicles 18:30-32- Now the king of Syria had commanded the captains of the chariots that were with him, saying, Fight ye not with small or great, save only with the king of Israel. And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, It is the king of Israel. Therefore they compassed about him to fight: but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him; and God moved them to depart from him. For it came to pass, that, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back again from pursuing him.
The Syrian king wanted Ahab. He had ordered his soldiers to go straight for the king.
Did God want Jehoshaphat in this battle? We don't know for sure, but I would guess the answer is "no". Why? Because God doesn't want us making friends with wicked people. Did God leave Jehoshaphat because of his mistake? Nope. God helped him out. Only Ahab was doomed by God to die in this battle.
When the Syrians realized that the man dressed as a king wasn't Ahab, they backed off. But, God was going to use the Syrian army to bring about his death sentence on Ahab.
II Chronicles 18:33-34- And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: therefore he said to his chariot man, Turn thine hand, that thou mayest carry me out of the host; for I am wounded. And the battle increased that day: howbeit the king of Israel stayed himself up in his chariot against the Syrians until the even: and about the time of the sun going down he died.
God carried one of the Syrian's arrows and guided it through Ahab's armor into a kill spot. Ahab ordered his chariot driver to take him out of the battle, but it was too late. God's Word was going to come to pass.
I Kings 22:36-38- And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country. So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria. And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the LORD which he spake.
God has a way of bringing us back to the one sin that kept us from His will. Ahab's sin was allowing the murder of Naboth the Jezreelite and his sons. Remember, Queen Jezebel paid off people to lie about this family and had them killed so that Ahab could take the family's grape vineyard as his own. Well, in the same spot that the family of Naboth was killed, is the same place where they washed Ahab's blood out of the chariot.
Genesis 9:6- Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
God decreed way back in Noah's day that if a man murdered another that the murderer must pay with his own blood. God's law will come to pass whether the wicked realize it or not. Ahab's blood was the price for Naboth's murder.
I Kings 22:39-40- Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.
So, King Ahab died and his son, Ahaziah, was crowned king in his place.
Friday, May 18, 2018
II Chronicles 17:1-2- And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel. And he placed forces in all the fenced cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim, which Asa his father had taken.
Jehoshaphat started his reign by strengthening the armies and cities of Judah. Would he be a good king?
II Chronicles 17:3-6- And the LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; But sought to the LORD God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel. Therefore the LORD stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance. And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD: moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah.
Jehoshaphat wanted to be a good king. He loved the Lord and wanted to do right. He got rid of the bad places that people were going to worship idols at. But, he didn't stop there. He got some wise men to go through his kingdom and teach his people all about the Lord and what the Lord required from their lives.
II Chronicles 17:9-10- And they taught in Judah, and had the book of the law of the LORD with them, and went about throughout all the cities of Judah, and taught the people. And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war against Jehoshaphat.
Proverbs 16:7- When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
The Lord had promised that he would help those who served Him. Jehoshaphat was doing all he could to make sure that he and his people would serve the Lord. Because of this, the Lord made his enemies to be at peace with him.
II Chronicles 17:11- Also some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and tribute silver; and the Arabians brought him flocks, seven thousand and seven hundred rams, and seven thousand and seven hundred he goats.
What did Jehoshaphat do during his time of peace? He didn't sit around and play. He was trying to make sure that his people had what they needed.
II Chronicles 17:12-13- And Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles, and cities of store. And he had much business in the cities of Judah: and the men of war, mighty men of valour, were in Jerusalem.
Even though he was a good man who loved the Lord, this did not keep him from making mistakes. And the biggest mistake he made was trying to be friends with someone who didn't love the Lord and didn't want to do right!
II Chronicles 18:1- Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab.
Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, were some of the most wicked rulers of the Israelite people. Jehoshaphat should have stayed far away from them, but instead, he decided to become acquaintances with them.
II Chronicles 18:2- And after certain years he went down to Ahab to Samaria. And Ahab killed sheep and oxen for him in abundance, and for the people that he had with him, and persuaded him to go up with him to Ramothgilead.
Ahab threw a big party while Jehoshaphat was there, and then he asked if they could go to battle together to fight one of Ahab's enemies.
II Chronicles 18:4- 6- And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray thee, at the word of the LORD to day. Therefore the king of Israel gathered together of prophets four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall we go to Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for God will deliver it into the king's hand. But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we might enquire of him?
Jehoshaphat was still trying to do what God wanted so he asked Ahab to seek the Lord's will. Ahab was a wicked man who didn't serve the Lord God Almighty. Ahab gathered some prophets together and asked them. All these prophets said to go to war. But, Jehoshaphat had heard the Lord's will before, and he knew that these prophets didn't serve his God. He wanted to know if Ahab had a prophet that served his God.
II Chronicles 18:7-8- And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil: the same is Micaiah the son of Imla. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so. And the king of Israel called for one of his officers, and said, Fetch quickly Micaiah the son of Imla.
Ahab didn't want to call a real servant of God because he knew that the answer wouldn't be good. He told Jehoshaphat that there was one man, but he hated him. Ahab didn't want to hear what the Lord God Almighty had to say. But, Ahab called the prophet for Jehoshaphat.
II Chronicles 18:9, 11- And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat king of Judah sat either of them on his throne, clothed in their robes, and they sat in a void place at the entering in of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them. And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramothgilead, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
The two kings were dressed in their royal robes, sitting on their thrones, surrounded by false prophets who were telling them to go to war. All the prophets were saying the same thing- you will win.
But, there was another throne room where a King was sitting dressed in His royal garments. He, too, was surrounded by people to which He asked a question. Only the true prophet of the Lord knew of this meeting. Only the one prophet, Micaiah, heard the question and the answers.
II Chronicles 18:14-17- And when he was come to the king, the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go to Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And he said, Go ye up, and prosper, and they shall be delivered into your hand. And the king said to him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou say nothing but the truth to me in the name of the LORD? Then he said, I did see all Israel scattered upon the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master; let them return therefore every man to his house in peace. And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would not prophesy good unto me, but evil?
Micaiah told the king what he wanted to hear, but Ahab knew that the prophet wasn't telling him something. Micaiah always said something about the Lord when he prophesied, and he didn't mention God. When Ahab told him to say what God really said, Micaiah prophesied of Ahab's death.
Then, Micaiah told the two earthly kings about the other meeting in the heavenly throne room.
II Chronicles 18:18-22- Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the LORD; I saw the LORD sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. And the LORD said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner. Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the LORD said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee.
The Lord God Almighty had a meeting with His heavenly host. He wanted Ahab to go to battle, but not to win. He was going to use this battle to kill Ahab for his sins. One spirit came out and said that he could get Ahab to go by getting Ahab's false prophets to tell him that he would win the battle.
All those false prophets were saying good things about this battle, but they were lies. The only person who would tell the truth was the one who truly worshiped the Lord God Almighty. And for telling the truth, he was thrown in prison.
II Chronicles 18:25-26- Then the king of Israel said, Take ye Micaiah, and carry him back to Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king's son; And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I return in peace.
Even though Ahab and Jehoshaphat had heard the truth, they decided not to listen to it. They decided to go ahead and go forth to war.
II Chronicles 18:28- So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramothgilead.